Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

The Northern Territory’s opportunity – clean energy found a ‘pathway to prosperity’

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June 20, 2019 Posted by | energy, Northern Territory | Leave a comment

The health toll of Australia’s uranium nuclear industry – theme for June19

Well -they carefully haven’t kept health records, have they?

OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY, Parliament of Australia 

4.1 The perception that uranium mining has not led to ill health effects in workers has been created through the lack of comprehensive studies on worker health and the failure of Governments to establish a national registry for health workers. …..

Uranium mining, however, presents unique risks over other mining operations. Because of the presence of radioactive elements, uranium miners are at risk not only of immediate health problems, but of delayed fatal effects such as cancer. There is also the potential for radiation exposure to lead to illness and defects in the offspring of uranium miners

RADIATION EXPOSURE FOR URANIUM MINERS.  The potentially serious effects of radiation on workers has been shown by previous mines in Australia. Evidence was given to the Committee that 40% of underground workers at the Radium Hill mine in South Australia have died of lung cancer [12]. Even with more recent mining operations it was clear that worker health and safety was not given the priority it deserves. On a trip to the closed Narbarlek mine, the Committee saw worker health records and files left scattered on the floor of an abandoned administrative building. When the Committee visited WMC’s Olympic Dam mine, it saw workers who were not wearing the Thermoluminescent Dial (TLD) badges which register their exposure to radiation.   https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Former_Committees/uranium/report/d05#10

Kirsten Johnson
kirstjohn@aapt.net.au  I have a father, uncle and two aunts who all worked at Rum Jungle in the 1960’s. My father and uncle passed away in their 60’s due to lung cancer. My aunt in her 60’s due to breast cancer and my other aunt who is still with us today has also had breast cancer. Surely this cannot be a coincidence and I would like to know if there is information with regards to the health impact that the Rum Jungle uranium mine has had on past workers.

Janet Dickinson nee Litchfield
dickinsonjanet@hotmail.com  – I am Kirsten Johnson’s aunt, and sister to Judy, Peter and Kevin Litchfield who passed away with cancer. all having worked at Rum Jungle in the 50’s. My father in law also passed away in 1979, aged 70 from lung cancer, he worked at Rum Jungle for 20 years from 1958. I have just recently been diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer.

Health effects on Aboriginal people near Ranger uranium mine. 

….Since 1981, three years after mining began, at least 120 ‘mishaps’ and ‘occurrences’ — leakages, spillages of contaminated water, and breaches of regulations — have occurred. The Office of the Supervising Scientist has consistently claimed no harm to either the environment or human health — a claim difficult to substantiate. Since completion of the AIATSIS social impact monitoring report in 1984, there has been no monitoring of the social and physical impact on Aboriginal health and well-being, and no agency has specifically investigated the impacts on Aboriginal health.

Exploratory research undertaken in 2005 and 2006 has found a significant overall increase in the incidence of cancer among Aboriginal people in the Kakadu region — some ninety per cent greater than would be expected. We could not determine possible effects on maternal and child health because data on congenital malformations and stillbirths were not available. …. https://aiatsis.gov.au/sites/default/files/products/discussion_paper/dp20-aborigines-uranium-monitoring-health-hazards_0.pdf

June 8, 2019 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Christina themes, health, Northern Territory | Leave a comment

Unfinished business: a new report on the Ranger uranium mine: what its clean-up means for Kakadu National Park

Unfinished business: Kakadu needs a new approach to cleaning up an old mine, https://www.acf.org.au/unfinished_business_kakadu_needs_a_new_approach 7 May 19,      How well the Ranger uranium mine is cleaned up is key to the long-term health of Kakadu.

A new report has found Australia’s largest national park is at long-term risk unless the clean-up of the Ranger uranium mine in Kakadu is done comprehensively and effectively.

Unfinished business, co-authored by the Sydney Environment Institute (SEI) at the University of Sydney and the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF), identifies significant data deficiencies, a lack of clarity around regulatory and governance frameworks and uncertainty over the adequacy of current and future financing – especially in relation to future monitoring and mitigation works for the controversial mine site.

Mine operator Energy Resources of Australia (ERA) and parent company Rio Tinto are required to clean up the site to a standard suitable for inclusion in the surrounding Kakadu National Park, dual-listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage list.

“No mine in the world has ever successfully achieved this standard of clean up,” said report co-author Dr Rebecca Lawrence from SEI.

“Rehabilitating what is essentially a toxic waste dump is no easy task. Rio Tinto faces a complex and costly rehabilitation job.

“The challenge is not to simply scrape rocks into holes and plant trees, it is to make sure mine tailings, radioactive slurry and toxic by-products of mining are isolated from the surrounding environment for 10,000 years.

“To ensure this in a monsoonal environment, such as Kakadu, which is already being impacted by climate change, raises enormous environmental and governance challenges.

“For the rehabilitation process to even have a chance at success, the existing opaque and complex regulatory regime needs an urgent overhaul,” Dr Lawrence said.

Tailings, the waste material remaining after the processing of finely ground ore, are one of the serious environmental risks outlined in the report. The report examines how ERA and Rio Tinto intend to deliver on the federal government’s requirement to protect the Kakadu environment by isolating any tailings and making sure contaminants do not result in any detrimental environmental impacts for at least 10,000 years.

“Long after the miners have gone this waste remains a direct human and environmental challenge,” said report co-author Dave Sweeney from ACF.

“This issue is key to the long-term health of Kakadu but there is insufficient evidence and detail on how this work will be managed and assured in the future. Without this detail there will be a sleeping toxic time bomb deep inside Kakadu.

“At its London AGM last month Rio again committed to make sure ERA has the financial resources to deliver its rehabilitation obligations, however the financial mechanism to do so remains undisclosed.

“The community and environment of Kakadu need certainty and a comprehensive clean up.

“This work is a key test of the commitment and capacity of Northern Territory and Commonwealth regulators as well as the mining companies.”

The report makes recommendations to improve the chances of a successful clean-up at Ranger. It calls for increased transparency, public release of key project documents, a better alignment of research and operations and open review processes for key decision points.

The full report is here.

May 7, 2019 Posted by | environment, Northern Territory, uranium | Leave a comment

Northern Territory passes law on nuclear wastes, reiterates opposition to NT nuclear waste dump

NT moves to clarify offshore oil, gas industry’s nuclear waste obligations http://m.miningweekly.com/article/nt-moves-to-clarify-offshore-oil-gas-industrys-nuclear-waste-obligations-2019-02-15

15th February 2019 BY: ESMARIE IANNUCCI  CREAMER MEDIA SENIOR DEPUTY EDITOR: AUSTRALASIA PERTH  – The Northern Territory has passed the Nuclear Waste Transport Storage and Disposal (Prohibition) Amendment Bill, providing the offshore oil and gas industry with a blueprint of their obligations around the management of nuclear waste.

The nuclear waste covered by the Bill included naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORMs) that could be incidentally generated from offshore oil and gas activities and subsequently brought into the Northern Territory, Environment and Natural Resources Minister Eva Lawler said.

“The Bill demonstrates the Northern Territory government’s commitment to protecting the Territory’s environment, while listening to and responding to concerns raised by the offshore oil and gas industry about the ambiguities in the regulatory environment.

“The Amendment Bill addresses ambiguities in exemptions for nuclear waste, including NORMs that may be created as a by-product of industry activities.”

NORMs are widespread in sands, clay, soils and rocks and many ores and minerals, commodities, products and by-products.

Lawler said that the amendments to this Bill became necessary after uncertainties were raised by industry about whether NORMs were exempt from the Act. The Amendment Bill reframes the exemptions while maintaining the Parliament’s original intention when passing the original Act.

She noted that the Northern Territory maintains a strong environmental stance against nuclear waste being dumped in the Territory, and from becoming a nuclear waste dump for the rest of Australia.

“Jobs are the number one priority for the Territory Labor government and we believe that good environmental policy makes good economic sense,” Lawler added.

February 16, 2019 Posted by | legal, Northern Territory, politics | Leave a comment

Climate change already having drastic effects on Torres Strait islands

Climate change eats away at Torres Strait islands, prompting calls for long-term solutions, ABC Far North 

A flood prevention method that withstood wild weather this week may be rolled out to other vulnerable Torres Strait communities, including Yam Island where families were left homeless after king tides last year.

Torres Strait Island Regional Council deputy mayor Getano Lui said geotextile sandbags were used for the first time in the Torres Strait this week when abnormally high tides impacted Poruma Island, a cultural hub home to just 200 people.

“It’s getting worse every year,” he said.”Climate change is really having a detrimental effect on all the communities.

“When I was growing up the elders could predict the weather but right now it’s unpredictable.

“The worst is yet to come this year, the king tides are predicted [on February 19] and anything could happen, we could end up with the same catastrophe as Yam Island last year.”

Connection to land, culture under threat

Research from the Torres Strait Regional Authority shows sea levels are rising by 6mm each year — double the global average.

“If this trend continues, relocation is an option many of those on the Torres Strait’s 200 islands and coral cays may be faced with,” Mr Lui said.

“What is instilled in us and our ancestors is if the Torres Strait sinks, we’ll sink with it.

“We would be very reluctant to be relocated.

“Most of us would refuse to leave.”

Torres Shire Council mayor Vonda Malone said the region’s two councils would now look at installing the sandbags on other vulnerable islands such as Yam Island, Masig Island and Boigu.

“The weather over the last two weeks has been unpredictable; it has been full on,” she said…..

Sinking cemeteries a concern for State MP

….https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-02-09/call-for-increased-flood-protection-in-torres-strait/10794696

February 8, 2019 Posted by | climate change - global warming, Northern Territory | Leave a comment

Ranger mine closure costs to hit more than $800m

Ranger mine closure costs to hit more than $800m NT News, 18 Jan 19, The Northern Territory’s Ranger mine is counting the millions — more than $800 million to be exact — to move the mine, which is surrounded by Kakadu National Park, towards full closure…. (subscribers only)

January 19, 2019 Posted by | Northern Territory, uranium | Leave a comment

Northern Territory – legal case over climate change

December 10, 2018 Posted by | climate change - global warming, legal, Northern Territory | Leave a comment

Cost of rehabilitating Ranger uranium mine

World Nuclear News 7th Dec 2018 The estimated rehabilitation costs for the Ranger Project Area inAustralia’s Northern Territory have increased from AUD512 million (USD370
million) to AUD808 million, Energy Resources of Australia (ERA) has
announced. The estimate is based on preliminary findings from a feasibility
study which will be finalised in early 2019.
http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/ERA-updates-Ranger-rehabilitation-costs

December 10, 2018 Posted by | business, Northern Territory, uranium | Leave a comment

Mirrar people at last gain some control over their traditional land, as uranium miners leave

Jabiru native title claim victory for Mirarr traditional owners https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-11-09/mirarr-country-jabiru-native-title-determination-nt/10479708

Traditional owners in Jabiru, 300 kilometres east of Darwin, are celebrating after their native title rights and interests were successfully recognised under Australian law.

Key points:

  • Native Title application first lodged on behalf of the Mirrar people in 1998
  • Determination gives native title parties security to ensure their rights are protected
  • As mining interests leave, traditional owners hope to revitalise the struggling town

Generations of Mirarr people have lived traditionally and used the land within the World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park for thousands of years.

In 2017, researchers uncovered a wealth of artefacts on Mirarr country which indicated humans reached Australia at least 65,000 years ago — up to 18,000 years earlier than archaeologists previously thought.

Today, a special on-country hearing will be held to present the Mirarr native title holders, led by five senior women, with hard copies of the native title determination over areas of the Jabiru township. Continue reading

November 9, 2018 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Northern Territory | Leave a comment

Rio Tinto offloads Northern Territory uranium resources to Canadian company

Rio Tinto offloads NT uranium asset to Laramide, Australian Mining   Ewen Hosie

November 7, 2018 Rio Tinto has finalised its sale of the Murphy uranium tenements in the Northern Territory to Canadian company Laramide Resources.

The Murphy uranium tenements, located near the Queensland-NT border, were responsible for the production of high-grade uranium in the 1950s but have not seen much exploration since the 1970s. The tenements are contiguous to Laramide’s Westmoreland project in northwest Queensland.

The acquisition comprises the EL 9319 and EL 9414 exploration licences and several other applications across 683 square kilometres.

Laramide has paid Rio the first of three $150,000 cash payments to Rio Tinto as laid out in the terms of the agreement announced in July this year…….https://www.australianmining.com.au/news/laramide-completes-acquisition-rio-tinto-uranium-tenements-nt/

November 8, 2018 Posted by | business, Northern Territory, uranium | Leave a comment

Traditional Owners launch campaign challenging Origin Energy over NT fracking consents

16 October 2018 ‘A group of Traditional Owners from the Northern Territory are in Sydney this week
to challenge Origin Energy over claims it has consent for controversial gas fracking plans
across some of the Northern Territory’s most pristine
landscapes, waterways and iconic tourism regions.

Traditional Owners, the Protect Country Alliance and supporters will address
a press conference prior to the AGM, coinciding with the launch of a national campaign
calling on Origin to drop plans to frack the Northern Territory. …

Stuart Nuggett [TraditionalOwner] has travelled from the remote township of Elliott
to attend the AGM on behalf of his community, a region at the heart of Origin’s fracking permit acreage:
‘“Our communities haven’t been given enough information about what Origin is planning for our region.
We are worried about the risks fracking brings.
I have concerns over what the impact could be on water. Water is life.
I want the company to listen to our concerns and act on them.”

May August is an Alawa grandmother and Traditional Owner
for land under the Origin exploration permits:
‘“We don’t want fracking to start in our area because we have seen
the damage Origin and other companies have done elsewhere in Australia. … ‘

dontfracktheterritory.org/media-release-native-title-holders-launch-campaign-challenging-origin-energy-over-nt-fracking-consents/

October 23, 2018 Posted by | aboriginal issues, environment, Northern Territory | Leave a comment

Traditional owners to tell Origin Energy it has not gained consent for fracking on their land 

ABC,  By Jane Bardon 16 Oct 18 A group of Indigenous traditional owners from remote parts of the Northern Territory will travel to Origin Energy’s annual general meeting in Sydney on Wednesday to tell shareholders they have not given permission for the company to frack their land for gas.

Key points:

  • A group of Indigenous traditional owners will soon tell Origin Energy shareholders they did not give consent for its planned developments
  • They will ask the company to review consent agreements
  • But the company is confident traditional owners already gave consent

Origin Energy gained official approvals for gas exploration, including test fracking, in the gas-rich Beetaloo Basin, both from traditional owners through the Northern Land Council, and the Northern Territory Government.

But some of the traditional owners plan to tell the shareholder meeting they oppose fracking, and did not give their “free, prior and informed consent”.

They hope to tell the meeting when permission for fracking was sought by Origin Energy, they did not fully understand the company’s explanations of processes, or the potential size of developments potentially numbering hundreds of wells.

“The letter that we’re bringing up to Origin, we want that to be recognised, and to be respected for who we are,” Alawa traditional owner Naomi Wilfred said.

The Alawa traditional owner, whose country includes Nutwood Downs in the northern part of Origin Energy’s EP98 permit area, said she is worried about potential environmental impacts if production goes ahead……..http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-10-16/indigenous-traditional-owners-origin-energy-fracking-consent/10379162

October 16, 2018 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Northern Territory | Leave a comment

Restoring Kakadu to its former glory (now that uranium mining is finished)

Kakadu at a crossroads: Traditional owners welcome call to restore park to its former glory http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-06-29/kakadu-at-a-crossroads:-traditional-owners-tourism/9921510  By Felicity James  

June 29, 2018 Posted by | environment, Northern Territory | Leave a comment

Historic Northern Territory treaty agreement  means ‘the old way is finished’

‘Chief minister says ‘nothing is on or off the table’ for new treaty agreement signed in Barunga’
Lorena Allam Sat 9 Jun 2018

‘Gunner told the crowd he was proud to have signed the memorandum of understanding,
calling it “the most significant Aboriginal affairs reform in the NT this generation”. … ‘

‘The chairman of the Northern Land CouncilSamuel Bush-Blanasi,
said it was “momentous.”

‘“We’ve got a big journey ahead of us.
The MOU gives us high hopes about the future, and
I hope the government stays true to the spirit of the MOU.”

‘That note of hope was echoed by the chairman of the Central Land CouncilFrancis Jupurrurla Kelly.

‘“I hope a treaty will settle us down together and bring self-determination.

‘“Today we bounced the ball,” Jupurrurla Kelly said,
“but we don’t want to stay the only players in the game.
The next steps must be led by Aboriginal people across the Territory so that
… everyone can have their say.”

Tiwi Land Council’s Gibson Farmer Illortaminni was more cautious.
“We’ve got to be careful and understand each other about what we want,
because we don’t want to have the same problems we’ve had in the past.
The MOU is a good start, but we’ve got a long way to go.”

‘The treaty agreement kicked off the annual Barunga festival.

Read more:
www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/jun/09/historic-northern-territory-treaty-agreement-means-the-old-way-is-finis

June 10, 2018 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Northern Territory | Leave a comment

Decades overdue Ranger Uranium Mine rehabilitation plan released The world is watching

Northern Land Council, 5 June 2018     The Northern Land Council and Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation welcome today’s public release of the Ranger Mine Closure Plan by Energy Resources of Australia. The plan is decades overdue and critical to the company meeting the objectives of rehabilitation.

The NLC and GAC, representing the Mirarr Traditional Aboriginal Owners of the mine site, will now review the plan and engage with stakeholders as part of the approval process. While not part of a public environmental impact statement process, the public release of the plan does provide the broader community with an opportunity to comment on the plan to the Australian government.

The Mine Closure Plan is of a very high level and even though Ranger’s closure is imminent, a significant amount of detailed planning and supporting studies remain outstanding. ERA and its parent company Rio Tinto must clearly demonstrate that they have sufficient resources devoted to mine closure to provide stakeholders with confidence that the objectives outlined in the closure plan can be met.

The Ranger plan remains unenforceable until it is approved by the federal Minister for Resources. The mine’s operational life must cease by January 2021, ahead of five years’ rehabilitation. The future of Aboriginal communities downstream of the mine and the World Heritage listed values of Australia’s largest national park are at stake.

ERA and Rio Tinto’s rehabilitation obligations include remediation of the site such that it can be incorporated in the surrounding Kakadu National Park. The final determination as to whether the area can be incorporated into the World Heritage area sits with the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, on advice from its expert advisory bodies the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS).

NLC contact: Martha Tattersall 0427 031 382 GAC contact: Kirsten Blair 0412 853 641

http://gac-v3.katalyst.com.au/media/W1siZiIsIjIwMTgvMDYvMDQvM3plYWpidjJ1al8yMDE4MDQwNl9HQUNfTkxDX3JlX0VSQV9SVU1fTUNQXzVfSnVuZV8yMDE4LnBkZiJdXQ/20180406%20GAC%20NLC%20re%20ERA%20RUM%20MCP%205%20June%202018.pdf

June 6, 2018 Posted by | Northern Territory, uranium, wastes | Leave a comment