Australian news, and some related international items

Western Australia’s Environmental Protection Agency rejects Cameco’s Yeelirrie Uranium project

thumbs-downCameco’s Yeerrilie uranium mine proposal knocked back in WA Goldfields Western Australia’s environmental watchdog has knocked back a proposed uranium mine in the state’s Goldfields, at the site of Australia’s largest uranium deposit.The Environmental Protection Agency said Cameco Australia’s Yeelirrie Uranium project could not meet one of the nine key environmental factors.

The Canadian company sought to mine up to 7,500 tonnes of uranium oxide concentrate per year from the Yeelirrie deposit, about 420 kilometres north of Kalgoorlie-Boulder and 70km south-west of Wiluna.

The facility was to include two open pits, processing facilities, roads, accommodation, stockpile and laydown areas.

It would have transported the uranium oxide by road for export through the Port of Adelaide.

The authority’s chairman, Dr Tom Hatton, said the assessment process was extensive and involved public consultation and a site visit. He said the proposal would threaten more than 70 species of underground fauna, known as “stygofauna”.

Muir,-KadoThe proposal had attracted protests, including from traditional owner Kado Muir, who argued there was no broad community support for uranium mining in Western Australia.

The EPA put the proposal up for public comment for 12 weeks, attracting 169 responses and a further 2,946 pro forma submissions.

The EPA gave a proposal for Western Australia’s first uranium mine the green light in 2012, the first to be approved since the lifting of a state ban on uranium mining in 2008.  But the project, put forward by South Australian mining company Toro Energy, has stalled on the back of falling demand and global prices for the commodity.


August 3, 2016 Posted by | environment, Western Australia | 2 Comments

Environment groups welcome EPA recommendation to reject Yeelirrie uranium proposal

logo CCWA The Conservation Council of WA and the Australian Conservation Foundation have welcomed the WA EPA’s recommendation not to approve the proposed Yeelirrie uranium mine.

The decision was based on the unacceptable risks the plan posed to subterranean fauna and also addresses wider environmental and community concerns.

“This is an important decision that prioritises the survival of a number of different species and the health and wellbeing of the local community,” said CCWA nuclear free campaigner Mia Pepper.

“CCWA’s submission to the EPA identified the likely extinction of several species of underground fauna, known as stygofauna and troglofauna if the proposal were approved and it is pleasing to see the EPA has considered that evidence.

“The EPA recommendation has been met with great relief among pastoralists, Aboriginal communities and environment groups who continue to campaign against uranium mining in WA. “The former proponent of the Yeelirrie uranium mine, BHP Billiton, conducted extensive and systematic surveys of subterranean fauna.

“This is an important decision that highlights the importance of extensive surveying for subterranean fauna and acting to prevent extinctions.”

ACFNational environment groups have joined their state counterparts in welcoming the EPA’s call.“We congratulate the EPA for making this important, clear and strongly evidence based recommendation,” said the Australian Conservation Foundation’s Dave Sweeney.

“ACF expects and looks forward to the Environment Minister upholding the EPA’s recommendation.”

August 3, 2016 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, politics, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Quite secretively organised, the plan for a federal nuclear waste dump at Hawker, Flinders Ranges, South Australia

Lucas-wastes This secrecy is outrageous. It would not happen in America. The whole bs about “medical wastes” is one big cover-up for the transport of a tiny amount of intermediate to high level nuclear wastes returning from France. The plan is to continue to take in such returning nuclear wastes, so that Lucas Hieights’ reactor can continue to produce them. After that, how convenient for the global nuclear lobby, if South Australia is already taking in ‘Australian’ high level wastes. What a lovely precedent for the global nuclear waste import plan.

Gavin Smith The Intermediate Nuclear Waste from France is really High Level Waste bound for the Flinders Ranges to be stored indefinitely in a shed during Earthquakes, the 50 degree C heat of Summer and the Outback Floods of Wonoka Creek .
Gavin Smith   We are expected to turn up to Hawker for 2 hours today and submit Environmental and Health submissions to the Government reps. about the Nuke Dump No Public notice for submission from the General Public have been called for as this is a Local Hawker matter. Local seems to be the key words used by the people in the dump area who believe it is a benign development and make a point that outsiders educated opinions are unwelcome .

Australia’s Secret Shipment of Radioactive Nuclear Waste Arrives !

Bronwyn Lucas Today already! There’s a tourism operator forum on at Beltana Station, so I’d imagine that there’d be a few locals at Beltana, not able to attend. We can’t make it today either.
This will be the tick the box and no-one is concerned b.s.
Gavin Smith Bronwyn Lucas Part of the plan . Station Stays people will be at that venue. Check the Get About in Hawker Page for the notice. The Fed Gov. web page has no public consultation listing and no advice or invitation for written submissions from the public . Jut the 2 hours of over the counter at Hawker . The Local Council must surely be aware of what is going on and no advice is coming from there either .
Gavin Smith It is a site that locals use . People are not game to voice any opinion against that of businesses and councils in small places . I do and pay the price for it .
Bronwyn Lucas I’m very sorry to hear that you may be being ostrasized, Gavin. At least the Quorn Caravan Park, Flinders Rangesand Quorn Cafe are questioning at least the process of getting the repository into the Flinders Ranges, so you’ll find at least a couple of friendly businesses this way and lots of friendly locals, also asking more questions and needing more answers.
Gavin Smith Bronwyn Lucas The fight for what is right is not on if you only engage with like minded I suppose. The Murraylands has been a battlefield for the environment for me over many years .
Joy Engelman The process is deliberately designed to bypass people. I am not sure what can be done except to say people need to be ready and vigilant. The govt usually putsa small ad in the back section of local papers in the public notices and usually onle one ad on a day when the paper isn’t popular like a Tuesday. That way they can claim it was advertised but no-one was interested.
Gavin Smith Joy Engelman I checked the website. Has anyone seen anything at Quorn or Port Augusta about it. The FRC have only posted council meeting stuff on the 20th July and 7 days is a joke for submissions to been delivered in person. Ch 7 Today Tonight is close to getting a call on this one. Mike Smithson loves a cover up story .

Gavin Smith Joy Engelman It is a national project and we should all be given a fair go . It is not in the Council Region but Outback Lands . My blood is near boiling point about this.

  Joy Engelman Gavin Smith l have written to a couple of ministers, made a submission to the Royal Commission, yourSay and also emailed the Dept of Conservation This has helped me get rid of some if my frustration and hurt about this. I encourage you to do the same. Write and complain, ask questions of govt. It does help. My heart goes out to you all… To all of us!

August 3, 2016 Posted by | South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

Goodbye and good riddance to nuclear stooge Senator Sean Edwards

Edwards,-Sean-trashOutgoing senator Edwards lost his seat after winning the fifth spot on the Liberal ticket.

 Senator Edwards said it had been an honour to serve in the Senate.

“I’ve lobbied heavily for South Australia’s expanded involvement in the nuclear fuel cycle, producing a substantial submission to the SA Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission in the process, and it now appears the state will do just that. This will deliver hundreds of billions of dollars in sovereign wealth to South Australia.”–

August 3, 2016 Posted by | politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

Manufacturing social licence – South Australia’s Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission

logo MCM consultingThe concerns that this approach is focussed more on manufacturing social license or acceptance of the dump plan, rather than forensically and objectively analysing the full range of risks and opportunities, have increased following news that a key adviser to the nuclear Royal Commission was an industry “true believer” linked to a failed attempt to open a global radioactive waste dump in Australia in the 1990s.

In the late 1990s, public outrage forced Pangea to abandon its dumping plan. Today, a pro-nuclear Royal Commission is using public funds to facilitate Pangea’s inheritors to rewrite the proposal.

Big bucks, radioactive waste and a biased SA Royal Commission,9304 1 August 2016 Following SA’s nuclear fuel cycle Royal Commission, a publicly-funded PR campaign is attempting to make the largest ever radioactive waste dump in the world, a tepid topic, writes Dave Sweeney.

A STATE-BASED Royal Commission unleashed a plan with massive national implications when it recommended, in May, that South Australia should move to import, store and bury around a third of the globe’s high level radioactive waste ‘as soon as possible’.

The Royal Commission, initiated by PremierJay Weatherill in 2015 and presided over by former governor and self-proclaimed state salesman Kevin Scarce, has unsurprisingly generated column inches, congratulations and critics.

With its pro-nuclear terms of reference and advisory panel, and its often oblique process, the exercise has been a case study in issue management. Radioactive waste may be hot but a well-funded series of rolling roadshows, a citizens’ jury, and a social media initiative are all part of a state campaign working to make the topic tepid and the “conversation” constrained. Continue reading

August 3, 2016 Posted by | NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016 | Leave a comment

USA: the Pentagon’s $trillion upgrade of nuclear weapons

missile-moneyThe new forecasts are likely to add to the debate over whether coming administrations will be able to afford what defence analysts call a “bow wave” of costs converging in the next decade for the new nuclear systems

A trillion dollar program: Pentagon poised to approve work on modernizing nuclear-armed ICBMs, National Post Tony Capaccio, Bloomberg News | August 2, 2016 The Pentagon is preparing to approve development and production of a new intercontinental ballistic missile, opening competition between three top defence contractors and rekindling debate over whether the U.S. can afford to modernize its triad of nuclear weapons.

Frank Kendall, the Defense Department’s top weapons buyer, has convened a closed session of the Defense Acquisition Board for Wednesday to review the Air Force’s acquisition strategy and updated cost estimates for replacing Minuteman III nuclear-armed missiles that have sat in silos for almost 50 years.

The Air Force last year estimated the program would cost $62.3 billion for research and development and production of as many as 400 missiles as well as command and control systems and infrastructure. Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Northrop Grumman are all competing to build the new ICBMs.

The other arms of the nation’s land-air-sea nuclear triad also are scheduled to be modernized: Northrop defeated a Lockheed-Boeing team in October for the right to build a new bomber that can carry nuclear weapons, a project valued at as much as $80 billion. The Navy is planning to replace its Ohio-class nuclear-armed submarines through a production program now estimated at $122 billion. Continue reading

August 3, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

New Minister for Resources, Matt Canavan , a climate change denier

Canavan, MattOne of their [climate denialists] cheerleaders is Frydenberg’s successor in the resources portfolio, Queensland senator Matt Canavan.

Canavan has form as a climate science doubter. A fortnight ago he told Sky News that the impact of carbon emissions had been “overhyped” by “certain interest groups” — in line with an earlier newspaper article in which he advocated funding “scientists who take a different view”.

New minister’s political comments on science raise concernsPETER BOYER, Mercury
August 2, 2016 “……..Malcolm Turnbull’s Cabinet reshuffle saw climate and energy combined for the first time in the one portfolio, which I think was a good decision. Putting coal-power champion Josh Frydenberg in the job may not be, but in this new regime I am prepared to keep an open mind.If he is to understand the perils of burning coal, Frydenberg first has to come to grips with the science of climate change. His performance on ABC’s Lateline last week shows he has work to do.

“I absolutely accept that man is contributing to climate change,” he declared. But that is not really how it is. Saying we are contributing to climate change is like saying the sun contributes to a warm day, or Hawthorn contributed to winning last year’s AFL premiership.

In the cautious words of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, there’s a 95 to 100 per cent chance that human activities have been the dominant cause of observed warming since the mid-20th century. We have not just contributed to climate change — we have caused it.

In the same Lateline interview, Frydenberg said Australia’s 2030 target — emissions 26 to 28 per cent lower than in 2005 — was “very ambitious” and among the highest in the world on a per-capita basis.

We have already heard the same from Abbott, Hunt and Turnbull.

All have failed to acknowledge our unhappy record of long being the G20’s highest per-capita emitter, skated over much tougher European targets, and ignored completely the all-important target of zero emissions.

 Frydenberg is taking the classic conservative halfway position, allowing the established scientific truth that human emissions affect the climate but dodging the further truth, reinforced by every IPCC report, that their impact is both potent and increasingly dangerous.

He is playing to the many holdouts in the Coalition who still do not accept the real and present danger of climate change and the rising urgency to address it. Continue reading

August 3, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

What next for Britain’s beleaguered Hinkley nuclear power plan?

The nuclear option: Where next for Hinkley Point?, business Green, Madeleine Cuff, 2 Aug 16, Last week was quite a rollercoaster for those involved in low carbon energy policy. French utility EDF spent the first part of the week drumming up media excitement for a final investment decision on its Hinkley Point C development, briefing heavily that the project would likely be green lit by the board on Thursday – a decision widely viewed as the final hurdle for the UK’s first new nuclear power plant in a generation.

But in a surprise twist of events, just hours after EDF approved the investment – losing a board member and angering its own unions in the process – the government launched a review into the project’s “component parts”, pushing the contract signing back into the autumn, assuming it happens at all.

Hinkley costs

So what now for the beleaguered energy project? Is this review really just a chance to double check the finer details? Or could this be the start of a major shake up of the UK’s clean energy policy? BusinessGreen spoke to a range of experts to get their views on where next for Hinkley Point.

Tom Burke, chairman of E3G……..really, the government should drop the project. It’s now taken most of the political damage for abandoning it anyway. All of the people opposed to it – financial analysts, credit rating agencies, environmentalists, even members of the EDF board – have been encouraged to redouble their efforts to stop what is now I think pretty widely recognised by everybody outside of government and nuclear theologians as a very bad deal indeed. You now have huge momentum behind the calls for the government to enact a Plan B.

There are so many things that you could do that would be faster, cheaper, cleaner and more reliable than Hinkley. There’s no shortage of alternative plans that would actually keep bills down for people and be low carbon, such as a new energy efficiency programme, a new fleet of offshore wind farms with power two-thirds the price of Hinkley’s, and more interconnectors to bring clean energy for the continent.

The big obstacle to this is that there is still a vast illusion among the commentariat that you need baseload power which only nuclear can supply – but that’s coming from people who haven’t caught up with where electricity grid technology has got to. This is really all about letting go of bad ideas………..

August 3, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Garma festival: Indigenous leaders call for land ownership settlement, slam land rights ‘failures’

Indigenous leaders at the Garma festival in northeast Arnhem Land have called for land ownership settlement, slamming the ‘failures’ of the Land Rights Act and Native Title Act that have allowed mining companies access to indigenous land.

August 3, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Northern Territory | Leave a comment

UN tries to hide involvement in deleting Australia from its climate report

see-no-evilFederal environment department says Unesco sought and was granted heavy redactions in freedom of information documents, Guardian,  , 2 Aug 16 The United Nations has tried to cover up its involvement in the Australian government’s successful attempt to have all mentions of the country removed from a report on climate change and world heritage sites, freedom of information documents show.

In May, Unesco published a report with the UN’s environment program, Unep, and the Union of Concerned Scientists about the impact of climate change on world heritage sites, which were also major tourist attractions.

Australia was the only continent not mentioned, despite being home to several important sites, including the Great Barrier Reef, which were being heavily affected by climate change. Continue reading

August 3, 2016 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Combination of solar and wind, with smart analytics and “big data” could cause electricity costs to plummet

Could big data soon make renewable energy storage free?, Independent Australia  2 August 2016, A new report explores the democratising of renewable energies through the advancement of “big data”.RenewEconomy‘s Giles Parkinson reports.

GLOBAL investment bank Citi is predicting that the combination of near zero-variable cost energy sources such as solar and wind, along with smart analytics and “big data”, may deliver what the nuclear industry promised nearly half a century ago — free energy……

Citi is not the only research institution making such forecasts but it is in sharp contrast to the general public discussion in Australia, which is dominated by those who insist that the old centralised energy system – slow, inefficient and expensive – will not and cannot be replaced by new technologies.

South Australia is now the focus of that debate, and the push-back against wind and solar by conservatives and, of course, vested interests, seeking to protect their sunk assets is striking.

But Australia is already well down the path to this transformation, given its high level of rooftop solar and the fact that it is considered to be the world-leading market for household battery storage and smart software. Continue reading

August 3, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar | Leave a comment

Melbourne’s first Tesla-town to be built in mega Alphington development

The Age, Simon Johanson, 2 Aug 16, The first stage of the massive 2500-dwelling, mixed-use commercial redevelopment of the former Amcor paper mill site in Fairfield will be built with 60 homes fitted with Tesla battery packs, inverters and solar panels. The full-line energy installation will not be an optional extra for home buyers but a standard inclusion in all three- to five-bedroom homes, Glenvill development director Travers Nuttall said…….

August 3, 2016 Posted by | solar, Victoria | Leave a comment

Australia is still miles behind in recycling electronic products

Does not compute: Australia is still miles behind in recycling electronic products, The Conversation  This article was co-written by Ashleigh Morris, an honours student in environmental management at UNSW Australia. August 3, 2016 Australia is lagging far behind other rich countries in dealing with the growing mountain of “e-waste” from discarded electrical and electronic products.

My research, carried out with my student Ashleigh Morris, shows that in comparison with leading nations like Japan and Switzerland, Australia’s management of e-waste is ineffective and poorly implemented. This means that precious metals are not being recycled and hazardous materials are going into landfill instead of being properly dealt with…….

August 3, 2016 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment