Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

NEW KAKADU URANIUM MINE CONTESTED – RIO MUST TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR RANGER REHAB

The writing is on the wall for Rio – post-Fukushima the uranium commodity price is at an historic low, the global market outlook shows no signs of recovery and the company continue to lose millions at Ranger mine every year. NT and Commonwealth regulators need to use the Ranger 3 Deeps EIA process to take a sobering look at the mine’s struggling financial position, it’s poor worker safety, nuclear security and environmental record and use this opportunity to close the door on this costly and contaminating trade for good.”

7 Oct 14 The Environment Centre has vowed to contest any new uranium mining in Kakadu National Park and called on Rio Tinto to commit to a comprehensive closure and rehabilitation plan for Ranger uranium mine. The call coincided with an international day of action on October 7th with trade unions, communities and Indigenous groups protesting to highlight the health, environment and social impacts of Rio Tinto’s multinational mining operations.

Ranger-3

Rio Tinto and subsidiary Energy Resources of Australia are currently seeking an approval to develop a new underground uranium deposit, Ranger 3 Deeps, despite recent claims that the company is unwilling to take responsibility for the $600 million plus clean-up costs from its open pit operation.

Rio’s Chief Executive Sam Walsh has repeatedly refused to take responsibility for rehabilitation, most recently at the company’s Melbourne AGM, suggesting instead that its subsidiary Energy Resources of Australia, 68% owned by Rio should bear sole responsibility despite its weak financial position.

Lauren Mellor from the Environment Centre NT said “We are supporting the international call today to hold Rio Tinto to account for its appalling track record on environmental, social and industrial safety issues. Here in the NT Rio’s Ranger uranium mine has recorded over 200 license and security breaches, spills, and accidents in its 30 year history. Continue reading

October 8, 2014 Posted by | Northern Territory, uranium, wastes | Leave a comment

Films: Top Hollywood stars speak out for nature

Julia Roberts plays Mother Earth and Harrison Ford stars as the Ocean as Hollywood A-list ‘speaks out for nature’ http://www.theguardian.com/environment/damian-carrington-blog/2014/oct/06/julia-roberts-plays-mother-earth-and-harrison-ford-stars-as-the-ocean-as-hollywood-a-list-speaks-out-for-nature 7 Oct 14 

Kevin Spacey, Edward Norton and Penélope Cruz star in films that warn people need nature, but nature doesn’t need people. Ecosystem services. You’ve nodded off already, haven’t you? But wake up! Here are some Hollywood A-listers making a decent attempt to move beyond the obscure jargon and reveal the existential nature of what the Earth provides for humanity.

The Nature is Speaking initiative is organised by Conservation International with the tag-line: “Nature doesn’t need people. People need nature.” In the series of short films, a part of the world’s abused ecosystem is voiced by a star. Harrison Ford is the angry ocean and Julia Roberts an imperious Mother Nature. Continue reading

October 8, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Age Editorial: Government drops ball on climate change

Map-Abbott-climateGovernment drops ball on climate change http://www.theage.com.au/comment/the-age-editorial/government-drops-ball-on-climate-change-20141007-3hhgq.html 8 oct 14 Two weeks ago, when Prime Minister Tony Abbott spoke before the General Assembly of the United Nations, he named four dire problems facing the world: the dangers posed by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Russia’s destabilising influence in eastern Ukraine, the outbreak and spread of the Ebola virus in western Africa and the economic malaise that continues to afflict many countries.

But Mr Abbott did not mention climate change at all. That failure was conspicuous because just two days earlier, at the same podium, US President Barack Obama had outlined the same four threats to the world (”terrorism, instability, inequality and disease”) but added one more. Mr Obama told more than 120 leaders attending the UN Climate Summit that ”there’s one issue that will define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other, and that is the urgent and growing threat of a changing climate”. Mr Obama said the US had a duty to lead on emissions reduction strategies, and he urged other nations to do their part, saying no nation could afford to pretend climate change was not real.

Mr Abbott, though, did not even bother to attend the Climate Summit. He sent Foreign Minister Julie Bishop instead, and she chose to promote the government’s Direct Action strategy, under which businesses would be paid to cut their emissions. Sure, there are several other nations – India, for one – that obstinately shuck off any responsibility for initiating emissions-abatement strategies and which do so because they perceive their economies would be significantly disadvantaged. But Australia under the Abbott government has become an international joke on matters related to climate change. Only last year, for example, Mr Abbott suggested the UN’s climate chief, Christiana Figueres, was ”talking out of her hat” when she said bushfires in Australia were linked to climate change. Soon after, Environment Minister Greg Hunt sought to defend the PM in an interview with the BBC. During that interview, Mr Hunt said he had ”looked up what Wikipedia says”, and then sought to downplay the notion that climate change could influence the likelihood of bushfires.

But as Fairfax Media reported this week, Mr Hunt was thoroughly briefed just weeks before the interview by officials of the Bureau of Meteorology who explained the effects of climate change on weather patterns. They told the minister that a pattern of recent episodes of extreme heat was ”consistent with the general pattern of warming”. Last week, five separate studies published by Australian universities all concluded that record temperatures in Australia in 2013 were almost certainly caused by man-made climate change.

The governments of the world’s biggest economies and biggest emitters – the United States and China – are focused on emissions reduction strategies. In Australia, while the Abbott government says it supports the science indicating man’s influence on climate change, there is a distinctly grudging aspect to its attitude, a deliberate effort to minimise the scale or urgency of the problem and a clear intention to focus instead on the economic impact of emissions abatement strategies. The government has scrapped the carbon tax and it wants to wind back the renewable energy target, which is intended to ensure that one-fifth of Australia’s energy supply in 2020 will come from renewable sources.

This is a highly educated nation, whose scientists have made valuable contributions to the growing body of knowledge on climate change, and it is a wealthy nation with great economic opportunity. But it is being governed by a party that refuses to acknowledge the vital role it must play at this point in history.

 

October 8, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Victorian Labor pledges to fund renewable energy and to ensure a Renewable Energy Target for Victoria

ballot-boxVic Labor to fund ‘new energy’ technologies http://www.heraldsun.com.au/business/breaking-news/vic-labor-to-fund-new-energy-technologies/story-fnn9c0hb-1227082408352?nk=6c424c7410ec34b2f61e3ed41d392e3a JOHN CONROY
OCTOBER 07, 2014   The Victorian Labor opposition has identified renewable energy as a key growth sector in a new jobs plan.
Labor’s Back to Work policy released yesterday commits the party to “Establish a $200 million Future Industries Fund to drive the six high-growth sectors.” This fund will support “new energy technologies.”

The party also announced a $200 million Regional Jobs Fund that will support job-creating projects, including “companies investing in renewable energy.”

Friends of the Earth welcome the focus on renewable energy in the lead up to a state election on November 29.

“Renewable energy is a high-growth, job-creating sector globally. Victoria’s economy can benefit from the shift to renewables, but only with political leadership,” said Friends of the Earth renewable energy spokesperson, Leigh Ewbank.

The Back to Work policy announcement comes a week after Labor candidate for the hotly contested seat of Ripon, Daniel McGlone, supported a Victorian Renewable Energy Target. Mr McGlone told The Maryborough Advertiser:

“Daniel Andrews has made a commitment that should the RET be scrapped at a federal level Labor will revist the VRET and re-instate it,” he said. “I’m obviously going to be deeply in favour of that.”

Yes 2 Renewables say credible energy policy must include a state target for renewable energy, saying the renewable energy sector was languishing due to uncertainty around the federal government’s RET.

October 8, 2014 Posted by | politics, Victoria | Leave a comment

Until Oct 20 public can comment on Wiluna uranium project environmental scoping document (ESD)

text-Please-NoteToro releases Wiluna environmental report for public input Mining Weekly By: Natalie Greve  6th October 2014 JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Following an environmental assessment, uranium developer Toro Energy has released the environmental scoping document (ESD) for the planned extension of the company’s wholly-owned Wiluna uranium project, in Western Australia .

This followed prior approval by the state and federal governments for the establishment of a processing facility and the start of mining at Wiluna’s Centipede and Lake Way deposits.

The ESD provided information about Toro’s plans to integrate two additional deposits at Millipede and Lake Maitland into an expanded Wiluna project and identified the key environmental issues to be addressed during further government assessment of the project.

Interest parties would be able to make comments about the document to the Western Australian Protection Authority until October 20 and Toro would be required to respond to these inputs before producing a final ESD.

This would guide the preparation of a Public Environmental Review, which continued the government’s assessment and approval process………http://www.miningweekly.com/article/toro-releases-wiluna-environmental-report-for-public-input-2014-10-06

October 8, 2014 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Judge rules against uranium mining for Grand Canyon

judge-1The Grand Canyon Will Not Be Mined for Uranium http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/grand-canyon-will-not-be-mined-uranium-180952950/?no-ist  Uranium mining will be banned for the next 20 years on nearly 1 million acres of land near the Grand Canyon  By Rachel Nuwer  smithsonian.com  October 6, 2014    For the next two decades, at least, lands near the Grand Canyon will not be dug up in search of uranium. U.S. District Judge David Campbell just upheld a 20 year ban on uranium mining for an area of nearly 1 million acres near the Grand Canyon, the Arizona Daily Sun reports.

 grand-canyon

The mining ban was originally set by the Department of the Interior in 2012 but was recently challenged by a group of mining companies led by Gregory Yount, manager of the Northern Arizona Uranium Project. Yount claimed that the 2012 decision was based on faulty science and “improperly favored Native American claims that the land was sacred,” the Daily Sun writes. “It is pretty clear that the decision was not based on the specific sites but on Native Americans’ feelings about the sacred land,” Yount said. He also added that the predicted environmental degradation of water, land and wildlife around the Grand Canyon had been “significantly exaggerated” in 2012.

Judge Campbell, however, didn’t buy into those arguments. The decision not to mine around the Grand Canyon is important for “protecting a national treasure,” he told the Daily Sun. Moreover, he agreed with evidence that mining would disrupt the lives of members of the Havasupai tribe, who live in the region and consider the land there of cultural and religious importance.

Yount—who will be 74 when the ban is lifted—says he does not plan to appeal the decision this time around.  http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/grand-canyon-will-not-be-mined-uranium-180952950/#xI8meVsDAueyseTC.99

October 8, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Toro Energy hoping against hope that the uranium market picks up in the future

bull-uncertain-uraniumToro seeks to expand planned WA uranium mine ABC News By David Weber 8 Oct 14
A company hoping to become the first to export uranium from Western Australia has released plans for an expansion of its currently untapped mine in the state’s mid-west.

Toro Energy last year received federal environmental approval for the Wiluna project to exploit the Lake Way and Centipede deposits.

But a new environmental scoping document included two more deposits, Millipede and Lake Maitland.

The plans are open for comment with the state’s Environmental Protection Authority (EPA)………

the WA Conservation Council said the existing conditional approval should be revoked and a completely new assessment done.The council’s Mia Pepper said the added impacts of an expansion needed to be considered.”While they might think that they know a lot, there’s a lot of impacts that are unknown when you add additional deposits,” she said.

“You add additional land clearing and impact area.”What they need to do and what they should be doing as any responsible company would is look at the cumulative impacts of that increase.”

Mr Yeeles said the start of mining was some way off.

“The market is not right, the price is not right for mining at the moment but by the time we complete the assessment for Millipede and Lake Maitland, we would expect the market conditions to have improved,” he said.

Toro expects the assessment process may take up to two years.  http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-10-06/uranium-miners-toro-seek-project-expansion-at-wiluna-site/5794318

October 8, 2014 Posted by | business, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Does Australia have any ethical banks?

ethics

 Market Forces, an Australian ethical banking advocacy group, says the company [Westpac]  has invested in fossil fuels. Market Forces reckons between them, the big four, “ANZ, Commonwealth, NAB and Westpac have loaned almost $20 billion to fossil fuel projects in Australia.”…….The advocacy group, Market Forces, is suggesting that Australians concerned the ethics of their current bank, particularly those funding the fossil fuel industry, should consider moving their hard earned dollars to a institution more in line with their personal values. Their campaign is known as Divestment Day. On October 18, they’re asking Australians to consider the ethics of their bank and switch, if necessary.

On the money when it comes to ethical investing   WARREN MCLAREN, ABC, 6 OCT 14 “………….Does Australia have any ethical banks?

Ethisphere thinks so. In its global register of what it labels as the World’s Most Ethical (WME) companies, the 2014 compilation included five banks. Impressively three of those were Australian. This was Westpac’s seventh consecutive year, on the eight-year-old list. NAB nabbed a fourth year, and Teachers Mutual was a first timer.

The Global Alliance for Banking on Values is an international organisation whose member banks have combined assets of approximately $100 billion in 25 countries. Earlier this year it held its annual conference in Melbourne, even though it has but only one Australian member: bankmecu.

Formed from an amalgam of over 50 credit unions bankmecu was Australia’s first customer owned bank, and is currently its largest. Not surprising for a customer owned bank, their customer approval rating have been greater than 90 per cent for more than a decade.

That’s not to suggest that bankmecu has the market all to their lonesome. The Australian Customer Owned Banking Association includes 96 such member institutions. Continue reading

October 8, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, religion and ethics | Leave a comment

It is time for reconciliation between Iran and the West

diplomacy-not-bombsA deal that offers Iran a nuclear power industry not exceeding its needs and ambitions, and the rest of the world reassurance through intrusive inspections, would do more than bring Iran in from the cold. It would inaugurate a new relationship between the Islamic Republic and the west that could keep together a region that is, in every other particular, coming apart.

Iran nuclear talks: why Tehran must be brought in from the cold

flag-IranA deal with Iran is vital for the stability of the wider Middle East. The opportunity must be grasped     The Guardian, Friday 3 October 2014 In Iran a few weeks ago I travelled with my 11-year-old son from Tehran to the ancient fire temple at Takht-e Soleymān, not far from the Iraqi border. At no time during our journey – part of which was made in a clean, comfortable, Chinese-made train – did we feel anything but safe. Our only exposure to violence was in the provincial town of Zanjan, famous for its knife production, where a salesman dry-shaved his own forearm in demonstration of his wares.

No one in their right mind would undertake a comparable journey nowadays inside the borders of any of Iran’s war-torn neighbours: Iraq, Afghanistan, or, a bit further afield, Syria. Iran is the exception along the Middle East’s strategic, resource-rich central belt, a functioning nation state where the central authorities enjoy a monopoly of force, the infrastructure works and the people are overwhelmingly literate and unarmed. Perhaps most significant of all, as capo di tutti capi of the Shia world – wielding clout over its co-religionists in Iraq and Lebanon as well as propping up Bashar al-Assad with military assistance and subsidised oil – Iran could have a vital role in restoring stability throughout Mesopotamia and the Levant.

I say “could” because there is no guarantee that the Iranians will be invited to assume the role that common sense assigns them. It’s one of the perversities of modern politics that the west does not have a decent working relationship with the most important country in the Middle East…….. Continue reading

October 8, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Explosion at Iran military complex

NYTimes: “Enormous orange flash” seen around suspected nuclear site as mysterious explosion rocks one of world’s largest cities — US Gov’t: We are “monitoring the situation closely” — Reports: Windows broken 9 miles away, all trees burned over large area (PHOTO) http://enenews.com/nytimes-enormous-orange-flash-reported-suspected-nuclear-site-mysterious-explosion-rocks-one-worlds-largest-cities-govt-monitoring-situation-closely-photo?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+%28Energy+News%29

Islamic Republic News Agency
 (Iran’s official news agency) Oct 6, 2014: Fire at explosives factory in eastern Tehran — Defense Industries Organization reported on Monday that fire broke out in an explosives producing factory in eastern Tehran [23rd most populatedurban area in world]… Two workers were killed… Continue reading

October 8, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Anglican Church transfers investments from fossil fuels to renewables, calls for carbon pricing, and assessment of fracking

piggy-ban-renewablesAnglican Church divests from fossil fuels, calls for fracking scrutiny in WA http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-10-06/anglican-church-moves-out-of-fossil-fuels/5793884  By Jacob Kagi and Katrina Alarkon 6 Oct 2014, The Anglican Diocese of Perth has decided to divest itself of fossil fuel investments over what it says is a responsibility to act on climate change.

The diocese made the decision at its annual synod over the weekend and now plans to put funds into renewable energy investments. It also passed a motion calling on the Federal Government to put in place an “effective carbon pricing mechanism”.

Father Evan Pederick said he hoped the measures would help to increase pressure for action to stop climate change.”Divestment was used very successfully in relation to apartheid,” he said. “It’s people power basically, it means we’re actually withdrawing energy from the offending industries and there’s no more effective message than the price message.

“In the absence especially of effective government action in this country, I think it is actually up to private institutions, or private individuals and institutions, to show the way,” he said.

Another motion appealed for the State Government to evaluate the effects of fracking in Western Australia. Father Pederick said he feared health concerns and social impacts in relation to fracking were not being adequately explored.”At the moment shale gas fracking proposals aren’t subject to the usual environmental protection agency controls,” he said.

Its investment board, the Perth Diocesan Trustees, will release a report within the next 12 months detailing how it will redirect investments into renewable energy. In August, the Uniting Church in Australia also moved to divest itself of investments in companies involved in the extraction of fossil fuels.

October 8, 2014 Posted by | religion and ethics, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Northern Rivers Energy (NRE)’s comprehensive Community Renewable Energy plan

highly-recommendedEnergy company plans for region to go renewable http://www.echo.net.au/2014/10/energy-company-plans-region-go-renewable/ Simeon Michaels  8 Oct 14 Northern Rivers Energy (NRE), Australia’s first community-based renewable energy retailer in the northern rivers, plans for the region to become fossil free within years.

Mark Byrne of the Total Environment Centre, which teamed with the Office of Environment and Heritage to provide the grant, told The Echo, ‘We had several excellent tenders, but the NRE tender won because they had the most sophisticated and thorough understanding of the ways that the northern rivers community could be involved in the company.’

As reported in Echonetdaily last week, this is the first Australian attempt to adopt the community energy company model that has had dramatic effects in Hamburg (Germany) and Colorado (USA).

community solarNRE company will focus on encouraging the wider take-up of solar energy, selling power at lower tarrifs and paying customers a fair price for their rooftop-generated electricity.

‘The potential is enormous,’ says NRE spokesperson Alison Crook. ‘The northern rivers already has a high level of take-up of solar PV.

‘We have a community that really understands what it means to support each other.

‘We are aware of the reality of climate change and want to do something constructive about it.

‘We can work with existing generators and there is plenty of scope for new projects.

Model for Australia

‘Our aim is to generate sufficient renewable energy to cover our use within the region – a long-term goal and a moving target, but a model for Australia.’ The $54,000 grant will assist NRE to develop its business plan, which is expected to focus on providing renewable energy at competitive rates while purchasing solar and other renewable energy at a fair price from existing residential, commercial and government system owners. Continue reading

October 8, 2014 Posted by | New South Wales, solar | Leave a comment

Four Mile uranium mine ships batch to Canada

Alliance Resources ships first batch of uranium ore Four Mile mine, Australia http://nuclearfuels.energy-business-review.com/news/alliance-resources-ships-first-batch-of-uranium-ore-four-mile-mine-australia-061014-4395242   EBR Staff Writer 06 October 2014   Alliance Resources has shipped first batch of uranium ore concentrate from its Four Mile mine in South Australia.

The ore concentrate has been shipped to Cameco’s facility at Blind River, Ontario, in September for further testing prior to sale.

The company is set to make a second shipment in mid-October to Canada.Alliance said that the first shipment comprised 300,000lb, while second shipment contains 210,000lb.

Due to limited availability of maritime transport, the first shipment of uranium was delayed.

Located 550km north of Adelaide, the Four Mile project is a joint venture of Alliance Resources and Quasar Resources, which owns 75% of the mine. It was commissioned in March and was opened in June.Alliance’s, Alliance Craton Explorer holds 25% of ML6402 and EL5017.

October 8, 2014 Posted by | business, South Australia, uranium | Leave a comment

Senator Christine Milne standing firm against change to RET that will benefit big polluters

Milne-Chris-smGreens leader stands against aluminium sector The Examiner By DANIEL McCULLOCH Oct. 8, 2014 GREENS leader Christine Milne has ramped up calls against offering aluminium smelters a full exemption from the Renewable Energy Target amid mounting support for the move among her political opponents.

Federal Coalition and Labor MPs are expected to enter negotiations over the future of the target later this week, after the Clean Energy Council backed calls to exclude the aluminium sector.

The renewable energy industry body said it would support a full exemption if it would guarantee bipartisan support for the RET and restored stability to the renewable energy and aluminium industries.

Their support follows backing for a full exemption from the Australian Workers Union, and has been mooted as making a deal on the scheme’s future between the political foes almost certain.

Senator Milne said she was disappointed by the council’s intervention. ‘‘To cave in to government pressures and the big polluters is frankly pathetic,’’ she said.

Senator Milne urged the Labor Party not to ‘‘brown down’’ the scheme by excluding big electricity users, saying the move would completely undermine the target’s purpose………

Senator Milne urged a different approach to the better-than-expected RET progress.

‘‘There is absolutely no doubt there is a surplus across the Australian energy sector,’’ she said.

‘‘That’s why its the best opportunity we’ve ever had to shut down coal-fired generation.’’ http://www.examiner.com.au/story/2610761/greens-leader-stands-against-aluminium-sector/?cs=95

October 8, 2014 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Wind power company hoping that Renewable Energy Target will survive

wind-turb-smWind producer Infigen grows hopeful over Renewable Energy Target survival http://www.smh.com.au/business/wind-producer-infigen-grows-hopeful-over-renewable-energy-target-survival-20141007-10ream.html October 7, 2014  Angela Macdonald-Smith Infigen Energy chief executive Miles George says asset write-downs would be premature for the wind power producer, given increasing signs that the Renewable Energy Target may survive with only relatively minor changes.

Mr George said the assumptions behind IFM Investors’ hefty write-down of its Pacific Hydro business revealed by Fairfax Media this week seemed “very conservative”.

But Mr George said he was hopeful of a better outcome on the RET that would avoid any need for impairments of Infigen’s $900 million Australian business.

In revaluing its Pacific Hydro investment, IFM has assumed that Australia’s 41,000 gigawatt-hours target for renewable energy in 2020 is adjusted to represent a “real 20 per cent” of electricity demand, rather than about 26 to 28 per cent, as it is on track to reach.

But Mr George said that did not look a likely outcome, given the findings of the review of the RET led by Dick Warburton.

“The whole debate has moved well beyond a real 20 per cent now; we’re talking about something much closer to no change,” Mr George said in an interview.

He pointed to a possible outcome where the regulations were modified to exempt the aluminium sector from the RET liabilities, but that the 41,000 gigawatt-hour target remained largely intact, except perhaps for a “tiny” reduction that could be required to achieve bipartisan support from the government and Labor. Continue reading

October 8, 2014 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment