Australian news, and some related international items

In disastrous uranium market climate, uranium companies in cut throat competition

Did rivals try to scupper BHP’s uranium sale to Cameco?, Frik Els | November 23, 2012 The West Australian reports rumours have been circulating in the state’s mining community that Rio Tinto (NYSE:RIO) and Paladin Energy
(TSX:PDN) attempted to sabotage BHP Billiton’s (LON:BHP) $448 million sale of uranium property Yeelirrie to Canada’s Cameco (TSX:CCO)….. The paper said Rio denied the rumours while none of the other parties commented, and that the deal is likely to be OK’d in any event.

Spot uranium prices have been drifting towards the $40 per pound level this year – well below the $66.50 prior to Fukushima disaster in Japan and down from historic high levels above $130 in 2007.

Last year nuclear power consumption declined 4.3%, the largest drop-off on record, said BP in its annual study of global energy use. Japan cut back nuclear power by 44.3%, and Germany reduced nuclear consumption by 23.2%.

November 23, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, secrets and lies, uranium | Leave a comment

Rio Tinto and Paladin Energy try to scuttle Cameco’s uranium mining plans in W.A.

there’s speculation the miners, who own their own uranium deposits, did not want Yeelirrie developed because of the already weak fundamentals in the uranium sector.

Paladin and Rio attempt to block BHP deal 23 November, 2012 Andrew Duffy   Rio Tinto and Paladin Energy have attempted to scuttle BHP Billiton’s $430 million sale of the Yeelirrie uranium deposit to Canadian giant Cameco. Continue reading

November 23, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, secrets and lies, uranium | Leave a comment

Toshiba’s much-touted Fukushima clean-up robot didn’t work

Toshiba nuclear robot can’t make it through demo, CNet 23 Nov 12 Tetrapod could inspect the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant and release a smaller camera robot. If it doesn’t freeze.

by Tim Hornyak  November 23, 2012 Japan is again trying to field some more robots to work at the heavily damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, but this walker from Toshiba froze during a press demo.
Tetrapod is a quadruped designed to withstand high levels of radiation, but it couldn’t seem to take the glare of cameras.
The wireless remote-controlled machine recalls Boston Dynamics’ BigDog robots, with legs than can tackle uneven terrain. It can carry up to 44 pounds of equipment and has an onboard camera and dosimeter.
It’s designed to survey the plant’s highly radioactive buildings and debris, and can apparently withstand a 100 millisievert environment for a year….. But while at the press event, Tetrapod took up to a minute to climb steps. While trying to balance itself, it froze with one leg in the air. Technicians had to haul it off and reboot it…. Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power has said it might use the machine to explore the suppression chamber, where radiation has been recorded at 360 millisieverts, but when that might happen is unclear. The plant is to be decommissioned and dismantled in a cleanup job expected to take decades.

The demo snafu is the latest embarrassment for Japanese robotics. Despite the country’s prowess in humanoid robots and automation, it had to ask U.S. robotics firms such as iRobot to send robots to help survey the nuclear plant.

Sure, we’d all like to see Asimo tearing through that plant and making it safer, but the radiation would knock it out. Where’s Astro Boy when you need him?

November 23, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Home efficiency is having a major impact

Five things we learned this week …., REneweconomy, By    23 November 2012“…. It’s not just renewables the incumbents have to contend with, it’s also falling demand. And it seems much of it is to do with consumer choice. A press release from Mark Dreyfus, parliamentary secretary for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency this week highlighted just how far we have reduced our consumption, even as we bulk up on household appliances.

An eight star (yes, 8) TV in the small to medium range now costs $21 to run, one sixth the running cost of a 3-star TV, and one-twentieth the cost of a 1-star TV. Even in the large category, a 7-star TV costs just $69 a year to run, compared with a 2 star TV currently which costs $250 a year to operate. Samsung got a gong for the 8-star, LG for the 7-star.

Dreyfus says 10-star TVs are now coming into the market, causing the government to upgrade its star rating scheme to remove the bottom three rungs. These and more efficient fridges and laptops are expected to save households and businesses $5.2 billion dollars in 2020 alone. The biggest consumer in the household in terms of kilowatts consumed is often the clothes dryer. That’s where solar comes in as a really useful energy source  – just hang them outside.

And don’t miss Sophie Vorrath’s The week in green numbers ….

November 23, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, efficiency | Leave a comment

Rural Victoria to host forums in favour of wind farms

Wind supporters out in force Samantha Landy |  November 23, 2012 PRO-WIND energy group Friends of the Earth will host a forum in Lancefield tomorrow to discuss the role of wind farms in communities.

The “listening post” at Lancefield and District Farmers’ Market on High St will be the first of a number of open forums run by the renewable energy advocates as part of their Yes 2 Renewables campaign.

The farmers’ market was chosen became of its nearness to two opposing wind energy movements – the Macedon Ranges Sustainability Group’s push to build a community-owned wind farm project in Woodend and Mitchell Shire’s rejection of the proposed Cherry Tree Hill wind farm threeweeks ago.

“We understand there’s a lot of conflicting information and opinions out there in the community when it comes to wind farms,” Yes 2 Renewables spokesperson Leigh Ewbank said. “We’re eager to engage with community members to find out what they think about wind energy.”

Mr Ewbank said Yes 2 Renewables supported wind farm projects that were appropriately sited and well supported by surrounding communities. “As the most mature and affordable form of renewable energy, we believe wind energy is central to our efforts to address climate change,” he said.

The listening post will run from 8am to 1pm.

November 23, 2012 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

India’s surreptitious plan to dump nuclear waste in Kolar gold mines

Kolar should not become nuclear dumpyard: Activists–Kolar-should-not-become-nuclear-dumpyard-Activists-,   Chennai, Nov 23 (IANS) People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) Friday said dumping spent nuclear fuel in Kolar gold mines could lead to disastrous health consequences.

“When all the national roads transport deadly nuclear cargo to Kolar (Kolar gold mines), millions and millions of our people in Karnataka, Andhra (Pradesh) and Tamil Nadu will be exposed to all kinds of threats and dangers. Nuclear waste management is much more expensive and dangerous than nuclear power plants and even most developed
countries such as the United States and Germany are not able to handle the waste effectively,” PMANE said in a statement.

“The Indian government should not go against the anti?nuclear trend of the world to promote the interests of the United States, Russia and France and expose the people of our country to nuclear dangers in Kudankulam, or Kolar or anywhere else,” the statement said. According to the PMANE, the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) had not shared any basic information on storing the spent fuel of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) at Kolar in Karnataka.

“The ad?hoc nature of the DAE’s decision?making and the short shrift given to science and public opinion are so glaring and, in fact, very disturbing,” PMANE said.

November 23, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment