Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Investors are wary, as Australian miner Paladin sells uranium at way below cost of producing it

graph-down-uraniumPaladin Energy Ltd revenues soar 79% but shares sink Motley Fool By Mike King – January 19, 2015 Uranium miner Paladin Energy Ltd (ASX: PDN) has announced sales of US$69.9 million in the December quarter, a rise of 79% over the previous quarter.

But despite the news, shares are down 2.8% at 35 cents at lunchtime.

So why are investors selling out of a stock reporting such strong growth?

The problem is that Paladin sold 1.9 million pounds of uranium in the quarter, at an average price of US$36.58 per pound. That last figure is the issue – that price is well below what it costs Paladin to produce the uranium, and there are no signs that the price is…[members only] http://www.fool.com.au/2015/01/19/paladin-energy-ltd-revenues-soar-79-but-shares-sink/

January 20, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, uranium | Leave a comment

For the convenience of uranium mining, Aborigines are moved off remote homelands

handsoffWaging a war over land rights MEENA MENON , THE HINDU,January 19, 2015  ‘Protests are continuing in various parts of Australia over mining’

In her book of poems, Love Dreaming, aboriginal writer Ali Cobby Eckermann from Australia writes, “Every grain of sand in this big red country is a pore on the skin of my family.” Her writing and her new book, Too Afraid to Cry reflect the alienation of the ‘Stolen generation’ of children who were selectively taken away from their families and raised by white people and also the plight of her people who are waging a war over land rights.

Thousands of people from indigenous communities plan to hold massive protests over land issues on Australia Day on January 26, she says. Protests are continuing in various parts of Australia over mining uranium and minerals and even Kakadu National Park, on the UNESCO World Heritage Site is under threat.

In New Delhi to deliver the annual Navayana lecture, she told The Hindu in an interview that a serious lack of understanding between cultures persists in Australia at a political level and with mining it has expanded. “We worry for our children. Now the Western Australian government wants to use bulldozers and close 150 or 180 small aboriginal communities — they say it is not sustainable to keep these communities going. Where do these people go? They can wander to the city to become a makeshift community under tarpaulin as they are not going to rehouse them,” she says.

The sudden move, she suspects, is to do with mining and removing people from the area so that even that little bit of resistance is gone. That’s the scary part but the aboriginal people will survive. It’s all about land, the war is over land, she says and no one really articulates it like that. “Why would they want these remote areas which are mineral rich to be emptied of people. Western Australia is among the richest mining areas but why is not the government saying some percentage of that mining rights should go to the community. That doesn’t happen, the miners don’t pay tax and we watch the money fly away,” she points out. Continue reading

January 20, 2015 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Liberal Party kids at Uni dutifully toe the Party line on fossil fuels

Liberal-policy-1Liberal student movement hits back at fossil fuel divestment campaign by ‘vocal minority’ ABC Rural  By Babs McHugh  20 Jan 15 The Australian Liberal Students Federation (ALSF) has hit back at the fossil fuel divestment movement which wants universities to sell shares they have in mining businesses.

The divestment lobby is also calling for educational bodies to end sponsorship and partnership deals with resource companies……

we’ve come out to provide the alternate viewpoint of what we feel students are really concerned about, which is jobs and opportunities.”

In October 2014, the Australian National University announced it was selling the shares it held in seven mining companies.

Student activist group Fossil Free ANU had several meetings with the ANU Council before Vice Chancellor Ian Young made the announcement.

Despite opposing the policy, Mr Lesh said the ALSF fully supported renewable energy development.

“It’s not that we don’t support renewable energy at all, we support all forms of energy,” he said.

“But the practical side is we need fossil fuels like coal and gas to provide baseload energy.

“And the mining industry employs thousands of people and contributes billions to our economy.

“And the fossil fuel divestment campaign is an ideological attack on that economy, and comes at a time of increasing difficulty for many students finding jobs.”…….http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-01-19/liberal-students-oppose-university-mining-shares-divestment/6024952

January 20, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

The unimaginable cots of getting rid of the world’s dead nuclear reactors

Getting Rid Of Old Nuclear Reactors Worldwide Is Going To Cost Way More Than People Think, Business Insider,  NINA CHESTNEYGEERT DE CLERCQ LONDON/PARIS (Reuters)  20 Jan 15 – German utility E.ON’s breakup has led to worries that funds set aside for decommissioning reactors will not suffice, but globally the cost of unwinding nuclear is uncertain as estimates range widely.

As ageing first-generation reactors close, the true cost of decommissioning will be crucial for the future of the nuclear industry, already ailing following the 2011 Fukushima disaster and competition from cheap shale gas, falling oil prices and a flood of renewable energy from wind and solar.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) said late last year that almost 200 of the 434 reactors in operation around the globe would be retired by 2040, and estimated the cost of decommissioning them at more than $US100 billion.

But many experts view this figure as way too low, because it does not include the cost of nuclear waste disposal and long-term storage and because decommissioning costs – often a decade or more away – vary hugely per reactor and by country.

Decommissioning

“Half a billion dollars per reactor for decommissioning is no doubt vastly underestimated,” said Mycle Schneider, a Paris-based nuclear energy consultant.

The IEA’s head of power generation analysis, Marco Baroni, said that even excluding waste disposal costs, the $US100 billion estimate was indicative, and that the final cost could be as much as twice as high. He added that decommissioning costs per reactor can vary by a factor of four.

Decommissioning costs vary according to reactor type and size, location, the proximity and availability of disposal facilities, the intended future use of the site, and the condition of the reactor at the time of decommissioning.

Although technology used for decommissioning might gradually become cheaper, the cost of final waste depositories is largely unknown and costs might spiral over time. Reactor lifespans are measured in decades, which means financing costs and provisions depend strongly on unpredictable interest rate levels.

“The IEA estimate is, without question, just a figure drawn out of the air. The reality is, the costs are quite phenomenal,” said Paul Dorfman  honorary senior research associate at the Energy Institute, University College London………

The IEA’s Baroni said the issue was not the exact cost per reactor.

“What matters is whether enough funds have been set aside to provide for it,” he said. (Additional reporting by Vera Eckert in Frankfurt, Svetlana Burmistrova in Moscow, Scott DiSavino in New York and Aaron Sheldrick in Tokyo; Editing by Dale Hudson) http://www.businessinsider.com.au/r-global-nuclear-decommissioning-cost-seen-underestimated-may-spiral-2015-1

 

January 20, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Wherever did Epuron get the idea that the Abbott government is against wind energy?

Abbott-destroys-renewablesEpuron claims Abbott Government against wind energy, ABC News By Melinda Hayter 20 Jan 15  Renewable energy company, Epuron, claims federal government inaction on the Renewable Energy Target (RET) has Australians paying more for electricity than they should be.

An independent review into the target, which attracted more than 24,000 submissions, was released in August but the government is yet to release its response.

The New South Wales Greens recently cited a report which showed an 88 per cent reduction in investment in the renewable energy sector nationally last year.

Project Manager with Epuron, Donna Bolton, says banks remain wary of lending money to industry players, despite the review’s findings. “The review found that while there was a marginal increase in the cost of household electricity initially, the RET in its current state would actually bring electricity prices down,” she said.

“Despite this there’s been no action.

Epuron has windfarm interests in a number of areas of New South Wales, including the South West Slopes.

Ms Bolton says the government’s inaction has caused the industry to stall.

“It’s very difficult because it’s all about investment confidence,” she said.

Hockey-and-wind

“A bank looking to lend $400m, you need to know that that investment is rock solid, that the mechanisms behind it will stay in place and that your return on investment is reasonably secure.

“That’s not the case apparently, so investment has pretty much stopped.”………Epuron has accused the Newman-Moaurice-climateAbbott Government of being against wind energy.

“For some reason there is a lot of resistance, for particularly wind energy, in the current federal government, Ms Bolton said……“I believe the Abbott Government is firm in its belief that it wants to develop the coal industry to the maximum before that gate closes,” she said…..http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-01-20/ret-comment/6026696

January 20, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, wind | 1 Comment

Wind energy has a record year in Canada, with $3.5 billion in investment

antnuke-relevantflag-canadaRecord-setting year for Canadian wind industry http://www.renewableenergyfocus.com/view/41133/record-setting-year-for-canadian-wind-industry/19 January 2015

1,871 MW of wind energy capacity was installed in five provinces in Canada in 2014.

For the second consecutive year, Canada has set a record for the installation of new wind energy capacity. According to the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA), a total of 1,871 MW of wind energy capacity was installed in five provinces in Canada in 2014, with most growth centred in Ontario (999 MW), Quebec (460 MW) and Alberta (350 MW).

Canada ended 2014 with nearly 9,700 MW of installed wind energy capacity, producing enough electricity to meet the needs of more than 3 million average Canadian homes every year.

“Canada’s 37 new wind energy projects in 2014 represent over $3.5 billion in investment,” said Robert Hornung, CanWEA president. “Wind energy has now brought economic growth and diversification to more than 100 rural communities across Canada through land lease income, tax payments and community benefits agreements. Of the 37 new wind energy projects installed in 2014, 15 projects also include significant ownership stakes from First Nations, Municipal Corporations or local farmers.”
2014 also produced more evidence of the cost-competitiveness of wind energy, as the year ended with Quebec awarding contracts for 446 MW of new wind energy projects that will provide power at an average cost of 6.3 cents / kWh. While every market is unique, it is clear that wind energy can compete on cost with virtually all forms of new electricity generation, including nuclear, hydroelectric, and coal-fired power.
Wind energy has demonstrated that it is a proven, reliable and cost-competitive energy solution that drives economic diversification, environmental sustainability and rate-base value,” Hornung noted. “These attributes will continue to drive wind energy growth in 2015, where we expect a minimum of another 1,500 MW of new wind energy capacity to come on line.”

For 2015, Hornung expects to see new wind energy contracts awarded in Ontario. This, combined with a new Energy Strategy in Quebec, and a new climate change framework in Alberta, may open the door to accelerated wind energy development in that province, he noted.

The Canadian market was split between seven wind turbine manufacturers in 2014, however, over 98 per cent of new wind capacity came from five manufacturers. Installations were led by Siemens, followed by GE, Vestas, ENERCON and Senvion. Siemens and GE supplied more than 50 per cent of wind turbines in 2014.

January 20, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Renewable energy beats nuclear power in Scotland

wind-turb-smflag-ScotlandRenewable energy in Scotland exceeds nuclear, PennEnergy  January 19, 2015 Source: Vattenfall In the first months of 2014 renewable energy in Scotland exceeded nuclear and became the top source of electricity.

In 2011 the Scottish government established a target for the equivalent of 100 percent of Scotland’s electricity demand to be supplied from renewable sources by 2020. The government has also set an interim target of achieving 50 percent of its electricity demand from renewable power by 2015.

The country seems to be well under way. During the first six months of 2014, renewables generated 32 percent more electricity than any other single source. In numbers, renewables (mainly onshore wind and hydro) generated 10.3 TWh, nuclear (from power stations Hunterston B and Torness) 7.8 TWh, 5.6 TWh from coal and 1.4 TWh from gas-fired powerstations.

The same period saw wind output rise by 20 percent, while hydro generation climbed by 50 percent………..

Not only onshore
Although onshore wind and hydro power are indisputable leaders in Scotland’s renewable energy mix, there is significant growth potential in offshore wind, tidal and solar power.

In October 2014, the Scottish Government gave the green light for 500 wind turbines spread across four offshore wind farms in the Forth and Tay region. http://www.pennenergy.com/articles/pennenergy/2015/01/renewable-energy-in-scotland-exceeds-nuclear.html

January 20, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

US National Security Agency (NSA) plans cyber warfare

It’s a stunning approach with which the digital spies deliberately undermine the very foundations of the rule of law around the globe. This approach threatens to transform the Internet into a lawless zone in which superpowers and their secret services operate according to their own whims with very few ways to hold them accountable for their actions.

New Edward Snowden Files Reveal Scope of NSA Plans for Cyberwarfare At Der Spiegel, “The Digital Arms Race: NSA Preps America for Future Battle“: http://americanpowerblog.blogspot.com.au/ by Donald Douglas 19 Jan 15 

cyber-warThe NSA’s mass surveillance is just the beginning. Documents from Edward Snowden show that the intelligence agency is arming America for future digital wars — a struggle for control of the Internet that is already well underway.

Normally, internship applicants need to have polished resumes, with volunteer work on social projects considered a plus. But at Politerain, the job posting calls for candidates with significantly different skill sets. We are, the ad says, “looking for interns who want to break things.”

Politerain is not a project associated with a conventional company. It is run by a US government intelligence organization, the National Security Agency (NSA). More precisely, it’s operated by the NSA’s digital snipers with Tailored Access Operations (TAO), the department responsible for breaking into computers.

Potential interns are also told that research into third party computers might include plans to “remotely degrade or destroy opponent computers, routers, servers and network enabled devices by attacking the hardware.” Continue reading

January 20, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australia’s solar PV highly competitive – International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)

logo-IRENARenewables Competitive With Fossil Fuels : IRENA http://www.energymatters.com.au/renewable-news/irena-renewables-cost-em4650/ January 20, 2015 [Good graphs] The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) says the cost of generating power from some renewable energy sources has reached parity or is cheaper than cost of fossil fuels.

The Renewable Power Generation Costs in 2014 report states biomass, hydro, geothermal and onshore wind are all competitive with or cheaper than coal, oil and gas-fired power stations – and that’s even without subsidies.

Individual wind projects are consistently generating electricity for USD 0.05 per kilowatt-hour without financial support, compared to  USD 0.045 to 0.14/kWh for fossil-fuel power plants.

Solar PV is rapidly closing the gap; with solar panel costs falling 75 per cent since the end of 2009 and utility-scale solar PV electricity generation costs plummeting 50 per cent since 2010.

IRENA notes a recent utility scale PV tender in Dubai was costed at just just 0.06USD/kWh…

Residential solar power systems are now as much as 70% cheaper than in 2008.

Between 2010 and 2014, the average LCOE (levelized cost of electricity) of residential systems in Australia declined by 52% and residential electricity price parity has been reached in parts of the nation. The report states the LCOE of solar PV in Australia is highly competitive due to the country’s excellent solar resources.

Map-Australia-solar-centre

“Now is the time for a step-change in deployment for renewables,” said Adnan Z. Amin, Director-General of IRENA. “It has never been cheaper to avoid dangerous climate change, create jobs, reduce fuel import bills and future-proof our energy system with renewables. This requires public acknowledgement of the low price of renewables, an end to subsidies for fossil fuels, and regulations and infrastructure to support the global energy transition.”

The report says there are no technical barriers to the increased integration of variable renewable resources.

” At low levels of penetration, the grid integration costs will be negative or modest, but can rise as penetration increases. Even so, when the local and global environmental costs of fossil fuels are taken into account, grid integration costs look considerably less daunting, even with variable renewable sources providing 40% of the power supply. In other words, with a level playing field and all externalities considered, renewables remain fundamentally competitive.”

In terms of small scale off-grid and remote power, renewables now offer the best economic solution compared to diesel-fired generation – and this is  despite the reduction in oil prices at the end of last year and the beginning of 2015.

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) is the global hub for renewable energy cooperation and information exchange. It consists of 138 members (137 States and the European Union), including Australia. Renewable Power Generation Costs in 2014 can be downloaded here (PDF).

January 20, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Gunnedah Shire Council takes the solar power plunge

Australia-solar-plugGunnedah moves to solar power ABC News  19 Jan 2015, Gunnedah Shire Council is the latest in a string of local governments across the region to join a movement embracing solar energy to power public buildings.

The council is in the process of installing solar systems across a number of public buildings, including Council’s administration building, Gunnedah Shire Library and the works depot.

Mayor Owen Hasler said the buildings are historically high energy users and transitioning to solar is expected to save council thousands of dollars annually.

“We want to be seen as being proactive in reducing council’s carbon footprint, and secondly of course there’s also the financial implications,” he said.

“It reduces our operational costs and effectively makes savings for our ratepayers.

“For example in the depot, we’re expecting to save over $6,000 per annum and the administration building about $5,500.”……..http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-01-19/gunnedah-moves-to-solar-power/6025214

January 20, 2015 Posted by | New South Wales, solar | Leave a comment