Australian news, and some related international items

Australian Conservation Foundation warns Queensland govt on dangers and costs of uranium mining

It also disputed claims by the Queensland Government that there was a strong economic justification for the industry.

Queensland--antinukeUranium described as the “asbestos of the 21st century”   Owen Jacques  18th Dec 2012 A NATIONAL environmental group has described uranium mining as the “asbestos of the 21st century” in its fight against the Queensland Government’s plan to restart the industry.

The Australian Conservation Foundation handed its critical submission to the government today. In it, the ACF warns against Queensland re-opening the mining of uranium for use in overseas nuclear reactors.

The group said “tailings” – radioactive material left behind as part of the mining that must be contained for at least 10,000 years – were a particular concern. Continue reading

December 19, 2012 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Toro Energy’s new female leadership now landed with government rebuff for uranium project

Guthrie poisoned-chalice-3No green light for Toro uranium mine, The Age, December 18, 2012 –   Peter Ker Resources reporter Uranium aspirant Toro Energy has been dealt a blow on the eve of the Christmas break, with Environment Minister Tony Burke refusing toapprove the company’s plans for Australia’s next uranium mine at Wiluna.

While Mr Burke has not rejected the proposal, he has not approved it today as many in the market had expected.
Instead he has told Toro that more information on certain matters is required before the mine – located in Western Australia’s harsh interior – can proceed. Mr Burke has extended the deadline for a decision to be made to March 31, 2013, but has also indicated he may give his ruling earlier than that…..

While the market may not have expected a delay to approvals for the Wiluna mine, environment groups had been confidently predicting for some time that Toro had not done enough to satisfy the approval conditions.
A recent consultant’s report commissioned by the Conservation Council of Western Australia predicted that certain measures around storage of tailings were not adequate to meet federal approval. Council spokeswoman Mia Pepper said Mr Burke’s decision was prudent and responsible.

”The Toro project is ill-conceived,” she said. Australian Conservation Foundation spokesman Dave Sweeney said Toro
was a small company that would struggle to raise the funds needed to get the Wiluna project off the ground.

Toro will have a change of leadership in February when Mr Hall steps down and is replaced by Dr Vanessa Guthrie.
That transition has already made headlines for making Toro what is believed to be the only ASX company with an-all female leadership,given that its chairman is Erica Smyth.

December 19, 2012 Posted by | politics, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Commercial solar power will further reduce Australia’s demand for fossil fuel electricty

solar-panels-and-moneyHot Tips For Australia In 2013 — Energy Storage, Big Solar, Clean Technica December 18, 2012 Giles Parkinson“…… Dr Saddler ( Hugh Saddler, principal consultant in the climate change business unit of Pitt & Sherry) said. “There’s also been a dramatic increase in residential use of small-scale reverse cycle air-conditioners, whichhave become very much more efficient in recent years.”
Using electricity demand in 2008-09 as the base, annual demand to the end of November 2012 has seen an 11 per cent fall in Victoria, 8 per cent in NSW, with smaller drops in other states.

“Changes in demand of electricity on this scale are unprecedented in the entire 120-year history of the electricity supply industry in Australia,” the Pitt & Sherry report said.

The rapid spread of solar photovoltaic panels is also beginning to erode demand, although the full impact may not be felt until more companies rather than homes install the technology, he said. Commercial power demand typically matches solar PV output more closely than residential use.
Solar boost
Meanwhile, one of Australia’s biggest PV installers, Mark Group, has begun offering additional solar payments to foster demand even as state governments roll back feed-in tariffs. Earlier this year, Victoria cut its feed-in tariff from 25¢ per
kilowatt-hour to 8¢. Mark Group, along with retailer Diamond Energy, has lifted that rate to 33¢, with plans to roll out similar programs in NSW, Queensland and South Australia next year.

A surge in Chinese PV production has seen the cost of panels drop from $1.80 to 65¢ per kilowatt capacity in the past two years. “We’re not that far from operating without subsidies,” Rob Grant, chief executive of Mark Group’s Australian operations, said. “The biggest uptake is going to commercial.” :

December 19, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar | Leave a comment