Australian news, and some related international items

Disposal of rare earths’ radioactive wastes: Lynas mucked this up

 Christina Macpherson, 15 Sept 12, It’s Lynas’ own fault. Hastening to set up rare earths reprocessing in Malaysia, with no plan for disposal of radioactive wastes. They could have been smart, like Globe Metals and Mining, who are sending their rare earths to China for reprocessing. China, having learned the hard way, is now the expert on rare earths reprocessing. Lynas didn’t bother to take note of Malaysia’s disastrous history.
Unfortunately, rare earths are needed, even for the cleaner, renewable energy technologies. Preferable to nuclear power, but still, disposal of end radioactive wastes is a challenge.


September 15, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Christina reviews, rare earths, uranium | 1 Comment

Lynas wants Western Australia to overturn law against importing radioactive wastes

Lynas left holding the baby,  Aliran,   14 September 2012 If Lynas Corporation thinks that Western Australia will take its radioactive waste, it can think again, asserts Robin Chapple. Lynas has now submitted an application to the regulator, the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA), to import radioactive waste from Malaysia,” an Australian High Commission spokesman told The Malaysian Insider today.

This revelation beggars belief as just a few days ago a two-year temporary licence to operate was granted to Lynas, who intend to ship radioactive ores through Fremantle Port to export them to their plant in Malaysia, now seem to be asserting that they should be able to import the wastes of those ores back onto Australian soil.

Malaysia’s nuclear regulator Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) had said that the Australian miner was legally bound to remove radioactive waste from its Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP) and return the residue to Australia under conditions of the temporary operating licence.

However, this news flies in the face of Australian government policy, and indeed Western Australian legislation, which asserts that Australia does not accept or import radioactive waste from other countries.

Robin Chapple MLC, Greens spokesperson for Mining Issues, commented on Lynas’ recent move: “It seems that again Lynas thinks it is outside the law as it is operating in Malaysia, and may be subject to less rigorous legal scrutiny. Well, it isn’t, and if it thinks that Western Australia will take this radioactive waste, it can think again.

“It didn’t consult with community on shipping its radioactive ores through Fremantle port, and it certainly hasn’t consulted on shipping back the radioactive waste. The WA Nuclear Waste Storage (Prohibition) Act 1999 prohibits it here. Period!

But really, you have to laugh. Lynas has now been tripped up by its own lack of willingness to take heed of Australia’s expectations with respect to sustainable mining and environmental, social and legal standards, and hasn’t it got it’s come-uppance. Talk about being left holding the baby!…

September 15, 2012 Posted by | rare earths, uranium, wastes, Western Australia | 1 Comment

Anti nuclear waste candidate elected to Auburn City Council, New South Wales

Fourth socialist elected to a local council in Australia, Green Left, September 14, 2012 By Peter BoyleSydneyThe Communist Party of Australia’s (CPA) Tony Oldfield was elected to Auburn Council  in the NSW local government elections on September 8. He became the fourth socialist to be elected as a local councillor around the country. The others are Sam Wainwright (Socialist Alliance, Fremantle Council) and Steve Jolly and Anthony Main (Socialist Party, Yarra City Council, Victoria).

Oldfield was elected as part of a local community activist group called “The Battler” . The group has been campaigning to stop the Coalition state government sending radioactive waste from the north shore suburb of Hunters Hill to a storage facility in Lidcombe…..

September 15, 2012 Posted by | New South Wales, politics | 1 Comment

The crushing of anti nuclear protests by India’s government

India: Government crushes nuclear protests  14 Sept 12,  Nuclear projects in India can only be thrust on unwilling citizens at gunpoint, writes activist Praful Bidwai In the wake of police firing that killed one  of the many Indians protesting against the Kudankulam nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu, activist Praful Bidwai lays it into the government that not long back was hailed for its groundbreaking civilian nuclear agreement with George W. Bush.

“The repression, including lethal firing, unleashed on peaceful protesters against the Kudankulam nuclear plant on Monday, on top of FIRs over many months charging thousands with sedition, makes two things clear. Nuclear projects in India can only be thrust on unwilling citizens at gunpoint. [And] as the jalsatyagraha (water civil disobedience) shows, people will resist them tenaciously, because they are aware of their hazards,” Bidwai writes in India’s Hindustan Times newspaper .

As GlobalPost reported last year, a massive nuclear project planned for Jaitapur, Maharashtra, has also faced large protests.

Casual readers and the government dismisses these protests as the work of ignorant villagers and eco-radical agitators (as demonstrated by the claim that the opposition can be traced to various “foreign-funded” NGOs).

But Bidwai points out that every single nuclear project India has planned has spurred committed resistance:

“That’s true of every nuclear project, whether Jaitapur (Maharashtra), Gorakhpur (Haryana), Mithi-Virdi (Gujarat), Kovvada (Andhra Pradesh), Haripur (West Bengal), Chutka (Madhya Pradesh) or Banswada (Rajasthan). For instance, at Gorakhpur, there has been a daily dharna against four proposed reactors for two years, unbeknownst to Delhi, which lies in their potential radiation-fallout zone,” he writes.


And when some 100 activists met in Delhi this August, nobody listened to their reservations about the Kudankulam project, which Bidwai says “was cleared in violation of the recommendations of an official Task Force, and without even the fig leaf of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report.”

Now villagers, and, yes, more than a few “agitators” have walked into the sea near the reactor, in imitation of a protest against the flooding of villages in Gujarat earlier this month.

They might be wrong. The government says  Kudankulam is safe.  Coal isn’t without its dangers. And the huge number of hydropower projects planned for Northeast India will destroy cultures and wildlife in one of the country’s last remaining wilderness areas.  (Personally, I was sold on nuclear after visiting Arunachal Pradesh for this series on dams–if the government can proceed responsibly).

But it is foolishness bordering on the criminal to undertake such projects on the assurances of company insiders and circumvent the environmental clearance regime, as Bidwai and others say has been done for nuclear plants, and other environmental activists say is routinely done for big dams, coal mines, and every sort of industrial activity.

And it’s bad politics simply to dismiss those claims because of some hidebound commitment to the ideology of economic growth.

September 15, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Youthful genius on palaeontology explains the hazards of human caused ionising radiation

“Radioactive waste – the source of which is mostly human-made, like nuclear power plants, nuclear testing, wrong disposal of nuclear or radioactive medicines by hospitals and so on — can cause serious impact on marine and land species,” 

 There is a link between other species and humans via the associated food chain,”

‘Man-made radiation makes repairing broken genes harder’ The Gulf Today BY A STAFF REPORTER      September 15, 2012 DUBAI: All living things on earth and in the oceans live with exposure to natural levels of ionising radiation, which is high-frequency radiation with enough energy to change the DNA of organisms.

Most such genetic damage heals, but the addition of human-made radiation can make it harder for the body to repair broken genes, according to Master Pritvik Sinhadc, the world’s youngest author on palaeontology, the earth science that studies fossil organisms and related remains. Continue reading

September 15, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment