Australian news, and some related international items

South Australia – the hub of Australia’s pro nuclear propaganda

nuke-spruikersSmThey’ve resuscitated the plan for South Australia as the world’s nuclear waste dump, Online opinion, Noel Wauchope, 11Feb 14 ,  On February 9, with exquisite timing, Terry Krieg of the Australian Nuclear Forum delivered his fourth nuclear industry advertorial, on ABC Radio’s Ochkams Razor. Exquisite timing, because the South Australian election is on March 15, and Krieg’s talk on this prestigious science program is the latest effort of that State’s nuclear lobby to get their cause up as an election issue……. Labor and Liberal contenders are being very low-key about nuclear and uranium issue. The Herald Sun reports

Jay Weatherill No (chance that SA will have a nuclear industry). I think it’s a dangerous distraction.

Marshall:, the Opposition doesn’t have a nuclear energy division, it’s a potential for the future but I think it would be a long way off.

South Australia’s nuclear push is undeterred.

Krieg presented a “timeline for how South Australia should embrace nuclear energy in the next three decades” . The plan includes Officer Basin as the world’s nuclear waste dump.This would be the first step to the full nuclear fuel cycle. BHP should help the State government to set up an infrastructure development program, and a nuclear education program in schools.and universities. ….

In 2013-2014 a new distinctly South Australian push has taken up the torch. Terry Krieg, from Port Lincoln, is just one of many……the heartland of Australia’s nuclear fuel cycle promotion is Adelaide……

Nathan Paine Chief Commercial Officer at the Property Council of Australia said: “The development of a domestic nuclear power sector could turn us into the “Dubai of Asia”. You’d almost be able to give every South Australian … when they turn 18, a cheque for $50,000 and a house”

Chris Burns, Rundle Mall Management Authority chairman said “What we’ve got unique resources for in this state are for nuclear energy… Never sell it, only lease it and bring it back here to bury it. I think that’s the industry for the state.”

I don’t know why this diverse group of people is so passionately in favour of the full nuclear power cycle and radioactive waste dumping for South Australia. I can only suppose that they see South Australia as an economically depressed State, and therefore envisage the nuclear developments as some kind of financial bonanza for the State.

I ponder that some academics might get a kind of glorious fame, in being Australia’s only climate “experts” who advocate nuclear power.

It distresses me that only one of people mentioned has any expertise in health and ionising radiation, nor in ecology. That person is Professor Pamela Sykes,who has been co-opted by the USA Department of Energy to try to prove how healthy low dose radiation is.

February 11, 2014 Posted by | South Australia, spinbuster | 1 Comment

Nuclear waste dump plan for South Australia -uneconomic and uinrealistic

This reality is not linked to any red or green tape, but rather to the clear absence of economic returns. While the sector’s risks are significant, its economic contribution is not: in total it provides only around 650 jobs and $700 million in earnings – nationwide.

South-Australia-nuclearDave Sweeney: Nuclear pain outweighs economic gain for South Australia THE ADVERTISER FEBRUARY 10, 2014 IF South Australia moved further down the nuclear road by processing enriched uranium or storing nuclear waste, it would threaten the natural environment and put the state in direct conflict with federal policy, global markets and community expectations.

The call by Business SA to process enriched uranium and store nuclear waste stems from misplaced enthusiasm rather than measured assessment.

Any such call can only be made by ignoring the reality that the nuclear industry is, here and internationally, under intense political, regulatory and community pressure since the Fukushima meltdown in Japan.

A market analysis by economic forecaster Morgan Stanley shows the price of uranium has slumped by nearly 50 per cent since the Fukushima nuclear crisis, where Australian uranium became and remains global radioactive fallout. Continue reading

February 11, 2014 Posted by | South Australia, uranium, wastes | Leave a comment

The facts on Abbott’s war on the environment and climate change action

Abbott-destroys-renewablesWar on the environment a distraction from climate change policy, The Conversation, David Holmes, 11Feb14 ,A fter almost six months in office, it seems that the Abbott government’s reputation for action on climate change and the environment in general is in tatters.

Overseas, condemnation has been directed at a government now labelled as the ‘most hostile to its nation’s environment in history’. And that assessment is made with scant attention to what the Coalition government is doing on climate change, where it has pulled out all the stops to bring climate change policy to heel before the interests of big coal and big mining.On the environment, the Abbott government has departed from the Howard years of striking a balance with conservation values and listening to the concerns constituents have for the environment.

Balancing economic growth with sustainability had been at the forefront of legislative and regulatory protection, including the Howard government’s Environment Protection and Bio-diversity Conservation Act (1999). But the scrapping of the Environment Defenders Office (EDO) is symbolic of the distinctive shift we are seeing with this government.he EDO has played a crucial role in providing free legal advice to communities that wish to question and challenge decisions, such as coal seam gas drilling or dredging of the Great Barrier Reef. But in the context of a government that is driven to extract‘every molecule’ of gas and every last seam of coal from the driest country on earth, it has deemed that opposition to mining is not to be tolerated.

The really bad news for climate change mitigation policy is that the Abbott government’s open season on the environment will distract Australian’s from climate policy settings, which is the one area to which all environmental issues will one day be subordinated…….

Australia is the only nation currently demolishing a working carbon price, which has, in its very short life so far, already mitigated 40 megatonnes of C02.

The administrative and advisory infrastructure put in place to tackle climate change has been all but eradicated. To rehearse the measures:

  • Abolishing the Climate Commission
  • Axing of COAG’s Environment Ministers Forum after 41 years.
  • Scrapping the Biodiversity Fund, Clean Energy Finance Corporation and Environmental Defenders Offices
  • Foreshadowing the abolition of the climate change Authority in July
  • Cutting funding to the: Caring for our Country Program, Low Carbon Communities Program, and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.Perhaps the decision invoking the most contempt relates to the Clean Energy Fund. Originally, the Abbott government had claimed that abolishing Clean Energy Finance Corporation will cost the budget A$439 million. However, it now transpires that investing in renewable energies is highly profitable, and the taxpayer is actually going to gain $760 million instead.

    The contradictions here don’t stand up to even rudimentary analysis. On the one hand the Abbott government dogmatically claims that these cuts are economically driven, but this is patently false when it comes to the CEFC. ……

February 11, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Tepco admits it reported Fukushima radiation levels much too low

Fukushima radiation data is wildly wrong, management apologize,TNN | Feb 10, 2014, NEW DELHI: Tepco, the utility company that is managing the destroyed Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan said that there were mistakes in the radiation levels they recorded last year. According to Japanese media,

Tepco announced last week that what was recorded as 900,000 becquerels per liter of deadly beta radiation from a test-well last July was wrong and the actual level should read 5 million becq per liter. That’s five times more than what they announced previously, and nearly 170,000 times more than the permissible level. ……………

February 11, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Cameco scraps its plans to increase uranium production

antnuke-relevantWeak Uranium Outlook Causes Cameco Corporation to Scrap Its Aggressive Guidance Continued weakness in the uranium market has Cameco Corporation seeing lower sales and scrapping its 2018 production target…..

Cameco (T.CCO) says 2018 uranium production goals no longer likely Stockhouse, 10 Feb 14 Cameco (TSX:T.CCOStock Forum) chief executive Tim Gitzel says it no longer makes sense for the company to keep to its goal of producing 36 million pounds of uranium a year by 2018……”There has been little to no improvement on the issues needed to help clear the oversupply and uncertainty the industry continues to face,” Gitzel told a conference call with financial analysts Monday.

“We don’t believe the answer is to sit idle and wait for improvement, which is why you see us moving away from our target.”

………The company had been optimistic about the restart of the industry, but Gitzel conceded Monday that it has been wrong about how quickly it expected the Japanese reactors to restart. Continue reading

February 11, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Cameco shares fall in grim uranium market

thumbs-downCameco Falls as Profit Lags Estimates Amid Uranium Slowdown  Bloomberg, By Christopher Donville  Feb 10, 2014 Cameco Corp. (CCO),Canada’s largest uranium miner, fell the most in more than a year after posting quarterly profit that lagged behind analysts’ estimates and saying it doesn’t expect a fast recovery in demand for the nuclear fuel. Continue reading

February 11, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Renewable Energy Target – a small cost for a big gain

 this time, the renewable industry has grown and is planning to fight back with a marginal seats campaign and a public appeal to save the current Renewable Energy Target.

renewable-energy-pictureIs $15 a year really too much to pay for renewable energy? The Conversation, AUTHOR Dylan McConnell Research Fellow, Melbourne Energy Institute at University of Melbourne,11 Feb 14 Australia’s Renewable Energy Target looks likely to be weakened or even axed, with the Prime Minister saying the scheme needs to be reviewed because it is causing “pretty significant price pressure”.

But does $15 a year sound like a “pretty significant” cost to you? Continue reading

February 11, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

Institute of Public Affairs dictates environment policy to Tony Abbott

logo-IPA-wolfWar on the environment a distraction from climate change policy, The Conversation, David Holmes, 11Feb14  “……The radical conservatism of the Coalition seems to be drawn from the same platform as the Institute for Public Affairs (IPA), which has entreated Abbott to ‘Be Like Gough’.

In a document posted on its website, the IPA declares open season on just about every publicly interested authority and organisation in Australia for which climate change ranks at the very top. Of 75 recommendations, climate change figures in four of the first six. These include:

  1. Repeal the carbon tax, and don’t replace it.
  2. Abolish the Department of Climate Change
  3. Abolish the Clean Energy Fund
  4. Repeal the renewable energy target

With recent talk that Abbott is about to appoint IPA ‘anti-renewable zealot’ Alan Moran to a new independent panel to review the Renewable Energy Target, it looks likely that all four of these recommendations will be ticked off nicely.

Nowhere on the planet is there a region that is going to feel the effects of climate change on its population than Australia, with heat-stressed soils, heatwaves, firestorms, flooding and cyclones. And yet, we have a government doing its level best to maximise measures that will only exacerbate global warming.

February 11, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Help BHP by making South Australia the world’s radioactive trash dump!

John Read: By storing more radioactive waste at Olympic Dam, the BHPB-Olympic-Smstruggling mine may remain profitable  Adelaide Now,11 Feb 14….

For the last quarter of a century, WMC then BHP have picked the eyes out of the deposit, mining the richest, most accessible areas through expensive underground mining. Both companies have left staff, investors and governments in no doubt that underground mining is becoming increasingly unprofitable.

However, following an exhaustive study spanning over half a decade, BHP came to the conclusion that the mighty proposed open-cut expansion, deemed essential to guarantee the longevity of the mine and the best use of the resource, was uneconomical .

Every month that the mine continues to exhaust the feasible underground resource without initiating the open cut is a month closer to a Ravensthorpe-type decision when BHP will pack up its bat and ball and leave town.

When BHP singled out the poor performance of Olympic Dam at its recent AGM, hot on the heels of the announcement of imminent closures of Ford and now Holden , the Prime Minister and SA Premier have been left considering the unimaginable: closure of one of their prime assets……

If we want Olympic Dam to survive we need to rationalise our collective views on the nuclear industry and our management of radioactive waste……….

Olympic Dam, producing 70 million tonnes of radioactive tailings each year.

We need to acknowledge that the 40 cubic metres of radioactive waste generated by hospitals, research labs and the manufacturing industry each year and held in over 100 inappropriate storages around the country, is a minute fraction of what is produced and managed every year at Olympic Dam.

We should accept that the Olympic Dam region of northern SA was identified by a comprehensive nationwide search as the optimal region for an Australian radioactive waste repository……

By storing the national radioactive waste within or next to the Olympic Dam tailings dams, the struggling mine may generate sufficient revenue to remain profitable.

February 11, 2014 Posted by | Olympic Dam, South Australia, wastes | 2 Comments

Senate Inquiry found big faults in Australia’s uranium industry

Dave Sweeney: Nuclear pain outweighs economic gain for South Australia THE ADVERTISER FEBRUARY 10, 2014 “…….Since the Fukushima accident began in March 2011 there have been repeated and wide-ranging calls for an independent review of the costs and consequences of the Australian uranium sector, here and abroad. Predictably – and sadly – these have been ignored by uranium companies, the industry’s lobby association and successive Australian governments.

The most recent independent assessment of the Australian uranium industry – a Senate Inquiry in October 2003 – found the sector was characterised by underperformance and non-compliance, an absence of reliable data to measure contamination or its impact on the environment, and an operational culture focused on short-term considerations.

The small economic gain from uranium can mean big pain. There is a compelling case that Australia’s uranium trade is a major source of domestic and international risks and that an independent inquiry is needed into its effects on the environment, health, safety and security.

SA is blessed with renewable energy resources and is well placed to become a national and indeed global leader in renewable energy production. Renewables are the fastest-growing energy sector in the world and already provide more global electricity every day than the contested, costly and contaminating nuclear sector.

Radioactive waste, legacy mine sites and risky reactors all last far longer than the shelf-life of any politician or the tenure of any industry group. Uranium mining and the wider nuclear industry are high-risk, low-return sectors that pose unique, unresolved and long-lived threats.

February 11, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, uranium | Leave a comment