Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Energy news from REneweconomy

  • GTM predicts 27% drop In solar prices by 2022
    GTM highlights what is becoming an increasingly common refrain these days — solar prices continue to fall, and they’re not slowing down.
  • Coal on limited lifespan as CCS hopes go up in smoke
    Call for new coal generation to be stopped by 2020 comes as the industry’s flagship “clean coal” project terminated after $10 billion investment, and as Coalition considers new coal generator and threatens to turn financial screws on states that oppose fracking.
  • Stellata wins approval for 120MW solar farm, largest in W.A.
    Perth-based Stellata Energy has won approval for a 120MW solar plant near Merredin, in Western Australia’s wheatbelt, adding to the growing queue of large scale renewable projects lining up for construction after a near four-year investment drought. Stellata has teamed up with UK investment manager Ingenious investment to build the Merredin solar farm, which would be the largest in […]

June 30, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Strong union opposition to uranium mining in Western Australia

Union ‘showdown’ looming over U-deal, West Australian , , 21 June 2017, One of WA Labor’s most influential unions is promising a “showdown” at the party’s State conference over Mark McGowan’s decision to allow a raft of uranium mining projects to go ahead.

Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union State secretary Steve McCartney yesterday condemned as “weak” and “disappointing” the Government’s announcement it would not block four uranium mining proposals.

The projects — Cameco’s Yeelirrie and Kintyre, Toro Energy’s Wiluna extension and Vimy Resources’ Mulga Rock — were all granted environmental approval by the previous government.

Mr McCartney vowed the AMWU would draw up a motion against the decision for Labor’s State conference in August, the key policy-setting body for the party. He said it was unacceptable the Government would allow the exploitation of radioactive material and the union would be seeking to “support and stiffen” the party’s anti-uranium position.

“The last thing we want is to be the glowing State,” Mr McCartney said.

“We have the strongest policy in the country and we believe the general feedback and phone calls we’re getting is that there will be a showdown at conference about it.

“I know that people are very upset about the fact that we’re going to be out there saying ‘Hello, you can dig up uranium’.”

The warning from the AMWU came as the Conservation Council of WA flagged a court challenge to the validity of the four projects’ environmental approvals.

Conservation Council nuclear campaigner Mia Pepper said the group was “looking at all legal avenues and options”…..https://thewest.com.au/politics/state-politics/union-showdown-looming-over-u-deal-ng-b88513503z

June 23, 2017 Posted by | Opposition to nuclear, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

# uranium mining companies in Western Australia could lose their licences

Uranium mining ultimatum in Western Australia sparks nuclear debate,  Xinhua Song Lifang, SYDNEY, June 22) — A nuclear debate is heating up in Western Australia on Thursday, after the state government informed three uranium mining companies that their approval licenses will expire if their sites are not operational within five years.

The newly formed State Government’s clarification on its policy has followed on from an election promise to ban uranium mining in the State for environmental concerns.

But prior to their victory in the vote, under the former State Government, three companies at four separate sites were given the go ahead to develop projects.

Vulnerable to legal action from the operators, the Premier of Western Australia, Mark McGowan, on Wednesday told local media, “everyone knows our position is we are not very happy about these approvals, so the mining companies need to be aware that they have a potential deadline heading at them in five years from now.”

“Bear in mind five years is a long time, I mean they’ve already had eight years of getting a project approved and another five years to develop it, that’s a pretty reasonable length of time for them to get a project up,” McGowan said.

“If they can’t do that, then that’s not our problem, that’s their problem.”

In response to the ultimatum, chief executive of Vimy Resources, Mike Young, said, “We’re confident that we will start substantive works before 2021.” And Toro Energy general manager, Andrew Worland, stated, “Their policy statement is not surprising to us.”

The main reason for the delay in getting the mine-sites up and running has been due to the historically low trading price of the commodity……. http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2017-06/22/c_136386192.htm

June 23, 2017 Posted by | politics, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

A Kimberley cattleman’s powerful argument for renewable energy

Arguments against renewable energy are rubbish, Harold Mitchell , The Age 23 June 17 “…….. More than 60 years later, I’m delighted to report that I have been free of power bills for some time at the cattle properties I’m involved with in the East Kimberley.

The three properties and the land controlled by our Aboriginal neighbours, whom we work with, cover 3.5 million acres. That’s an area almost half the size of Denmark.

Nine years ago, we installed a solar plant at a cost of $425,000, with the support of the Gillard government. This power generation system provides all the power for the homestead plus station hand accommodation. It also powers our sheds and workshops. It would cost just $90,000 to replace today. The new batteries are four times better than the original ones and give the property reliable supply 24/7.

The water is not hard to find in the East Kimberley. It’s no more than 20 metres underground. It’s one of the biggest groundwater supplies in Australia. But you need power to get it. In the old days we needed windmills augmented by diesel pumps. This entailed endless trips across a vast landscape to carry expensive fuel.

The case of our cattle properties proves we can live a modern life at a much lower cost and environmental impact.

Now it’s done by almost maintenance-free submersible pumps powered by solar panels. Five years ago, they cost $22,000; they now cost $7000.

And again, no electricity or fuel bill.

This modern approach to agriculture is made all the simpler because we don’t have to consult with a backbench to make things happen.

Our backbench is 45,000 head of cattle, which are happy with the current arrangements.

But in contrast, our hard-working Aboriginal neighbours are caught up in grossly out-of-date government policy. Their houses and farm operations get electrical power from huge diesel generators that cost the government $250,000 a year for fuel alone. If they had a solar system installed like ours, the government would get its money back in less than six months…….

The current gridlock of argument and political power plays is robbing our country of a sustainable future. We have to get beyond the election cycle and there are a few farmers in the East Kimberley who can show the way. http://www.theage.com.au/business/indigenous-australians-can-help-build-a-more-sustainable-future-20170622-gww3nj.html

June 23, 2017 Posted by | energy, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Labor’s broken uranium promise a kick in the guts for communities and the environment. Uranium mine plans will be challenged

Leading environment groups have said the fight to keep Western Australia nuclear free was not over despite a serious broken promise by the McGowan Government on the key environmental issue.

CCWA Director Piers Verstegen said the decision to allow WA uranium mines to proceed on Aboriginal lands was a clear broken promise and a kick in the guts for communities and the environment.

“Should these mines go ahead they would cause permanent damage to our environment and communities and also export WA uranium to countries where it will inevitably result in radioactive waste and risk.

“This terrible decision is a betrayal of the many people, communities, Traditional Owners, trade unions, churches and environment groups who placed their faith in Labor to keep WA uranium free.

“Environmental standards went out the window under the Barnett Government and the approvals that were granted for these uranium mines are some of the most compromised decisions that government made.

“The decision by the McGowan Government to allow those approvals to stand without so much as an inquiry to investigate them, and without even consulting the local communities, workers and Traditional Owners who voted for them in good faith, sends a very bad message about the Government’s commitment to protecting our environment.

“The McGowan Government may think it is OK to let some of the worst decisions in the state’s history stand, but communities, environment groups, workers and Traditional Owners certainly won’t be backing down in our fight to prevent this bad decision turning into a series of toxic and polluting uranium mines.

“We believe there are serious legal flaws in the way these approvals were granted by the Barnett Government and we will continue to contest them at every stage of the process, including through pursuing legal options to protect our communities and environment from this toxic and unwanted industry.

“There will be a lot of members of the Labor Party, a lot of Traditional Owners, and a lot of voters who will be extremely disappointed by this decision which is a direct breach of long-standing state Labor policy and the trust that Western Australians placed in the McGowan Labor Party when they were elected.

“We have worked closely with local communities and Traditional Owners who would be affected by each of these proposals and we certainly won’t be abandoning them in the same way that the McGowan Government appears to be doing.”

National environment group the Australian Conservation Foundation has called the move a retreat from responsibility and will increase its efforts to end plans for uranium mining in WA.

ACF’s Nuclear Free Campaigner Dave Sweeney said “Premier McGowan went to the election saying that uranium mines would not be allowed to proceed unless they had final approval or were in construction.

“None of the four uranium proposal has final approval, none has begun construction and none of the companies have even made a final investment decision.”

“This decision is far from a done deal for uranium mining in WA. No uranium was mined or exported under the pro-nuclear Barnett Government and we will continue to do what is necessary to keep WA’s uranium in the ground.”

June 21, 2017 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Disappointment over Labor’s broken promise on uranium mining in Western Australia

The West Australia Nuclear Free Alliance, an Indigenous alliance opposed to uranium mining, have expressed their deep disappointment by the announcement from Labor that will allow four uranium mines to proceed, that have been contested by Traditional Owners

Janice Scott, Spinifex Pilgi Woman “The Labor Government, we thought they would stand up for us be strong, and all that we’re fighting for – be different from the other Government. They told us lies. We believed that Labor they would help us to stop uranium mining, they got our trust and that’s why we voted for them.”

Mr Glen Cooke Ngaanyatjarra elder “we will be stepping up the fight talking to our countrymen. This impacts our lands and stories all over not just the mine sites. Tribal people are saying we don’t want uranium. Enough is enough. We will take this further, this country is beautiful and we have to look after it for our children and grandchildren and all future generations.”

“What is so disappointing is that the Labor Government did not sit down and talk with us about this decision which affects our country. Today’s decision Labor has not made one friend but has lost them many.” Concluded Mr Cooke.

June 21, 2017 Posted by | politics, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Drop in peak energy demand, as Western Australia goes for rooftop PV solar

Boom in rooftop PV shifting peaks, and taking market operator by surprise, http://reneweconomy.com.au/boom-in-rooftop-pv-shifting-peaks-and-taking-market-operator-by-surprise-46984/ [good graphs] By Giles Parkinson on 16 June 2017 The growth of rooftop solar PV in Western Australia has taken the market operator by surprise, but has resulted in a dramatic reduction in both the scale and the timing of peak demand in the state.

According to the latest statement of energy market opportunities for WA, the Australian Energy Market Operator says that rooftop solar PV – now on one in four homes and businesses in the state – reduced peak demand by 265MW, or 7.2 per cent in the last summer.

It says the uptake of rooftop solar in WA, which has been double expectations over the last two years – driven by falling costs of rooftop solar PV and the rise in grid prices – is “accelerating a paradigm shift” for the energy industry.

The biggest impact is on peak demand. The biggest peak in the state occurred on March 1, reaching 3,670MW in the 1700-1730 trading interval – the lowest since 2009.

 This was helped by the contribution of rooftop solar (265MW in that peak interval), and from demand response (124MW), a technology that AEMO wants to deploy more in the eastern states for the same reason.

“The rapid adoption of rooftop solar is not only slowing annual operational consumption growth but also eroding the mid-day grid demand and shifting peak demand to later in the day,” said AEMO’s Executive General Manager – Western Australia, Cameron Parrotte.

“With the strong growth in rooftop solar installations anticipated, AEMO expects demand in the middle of the day to shrink further, resulting in a rapid increase in demand in the lead up to the evening peak once the sun sets.” Continue reading

June 19, 2017 Posted by | storage, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Pipeline of solar farms across Australia to begin from Western Australia

WA, UK team announce $200m big solar pipeline for Australia, REneweconomy, By Sophie Vorrath on 13 June 2017 Western Australian large-scale solar start-up Stellata Energy has joined forces with UK based renewables investment specialist, Ingenious, to build what they say is a $200 million pipeline of solar farms across Australia, starting with a flagship 120MW ground-mounted project in their home state.

The companies said in a join announcement on Tuesday that they were seeking approval to build a 120MW ground-mounted solar plant in the regional town of Merredin, roughly half way between Perth and Kalgoorlie.

The partnership signals the arrival of yet another European investor into the Australian market, in the rush to meet the remainder of the 2020 renewable energy target as technology costs continue to fall.

Stellata, which has been around for roughly one year, says it is well placed to deliver large-scale solar in Western Australia, with an executive team with extensive previous experience developing more than 600MW of ground-mounted and rooftop solar across Europe.

Ingenious, meanwhile, has raised and deployed more than £9 billion, including £500 million in renewables projects across the UK and Ireland, the companies said……http://reneweconomy.com.au/wa-uk-team-announce-200m-big-solar-pipeline-for-australia-58923/

June 14, 2017 Posted by | solar, Western Australia | Leave a comment

In sunny Broome, residents are fed up with restrictions on accessing solar power

Broome residents tire of cap on solar power installations http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-06-03/broome-residents-tire-of-waiting-for-solar/8584060

Key points

  • Horizon Power only allows 10 per cent of the town’s power to come from solar due to issues with grid fluctuations
  • This leaves some residents unable to install a solar system that connects to the grid
  • Horizon is trialling battery storage technology in other WA towns and hopes to expand this to Broome

State-owned energy utility Horizon Power allows just 10 per cent of the town’s power to be generated from solar to protect the grid from fluctuations during periods of high and low light.

Small business owner Cameron White has been trying to switch to solar for two years in a bid to reduce his power bill but said he has been blocked at every turn.

“We’re in the sunniest place in Australia, probably, but we can’t use it,” he said.

Mr White said the high cost of electricity in regional areas, combined with the inability to access solar was putting added financial stress on homes and businesses already suffering in a post-mining boom era.

“Businesses in town are struggling at the moment, including myself, and you know these power bills [are] enough to tip people over the edge,” he said.

Horizon Power acknowledges the problem and is currently trialling battery-supported solar systems in the WA towns of Carnarvon and Onslow which can store the power to deal with the fluctuations in supply.

Spokesman Frank Tudor said Horizon ultimately wanted regional towns to generate half their energy from the sun. “Broome will be part of the trials that we are looking at across all of our different systems, if that proves worthwhile then we will gradually roll it out,” he said.

But Mr White said he was not going to wait any longer, opting instead to disconnect from the grid and rely solely on the sun. “I’m going it alone, I’m determined to do it myself,” he said.

June 5, 2017 Posted by | solar, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Western Australia’s large-scale Greenough River solar farm to quadruple in size

Australia’s first large-scale solar farm to quadruple in size http://reneweconomy.com.au/australias-first-large-scale-solar-farm-to-quadruple-in-size-20618 By Giles Parkinson on 19 May 2017

The Greenough River solar farm in Western Australia, the first large-scale solar farm in the country, plans to quadruple in size from 10MW to 40MW.

The plans by co-owners Synergy, the government-owned generator and retailer, and US energy giant General Electric, were unveiled in a submission to WA’s Economic Regulation Authority, and reveal that two new 15MW arrays will be built either side of the existing facility, around 50km south-east of Geraldton.

The new arrays, will use First Solar modules, as did the first, but unlike the first installation these will deploy single axis tracking technology to improve the yield. More than 90 per cent of solar farms in Australia are now using tracking technology. SMA is providing the inverters.

Synergy and GE say that the solar farm will seek a power purchase agreement, but presumably that will come from Synergy itself, as it is it the biggest utility in the state and has yet to meet all its renewable energy target commitments.

Greenough River was built in 2012 and remains the only solar farm connected to the main grid in Western Australia, although several other projects have begun, or are about to begin, construction. These include the 30MW Byford solar farm south-east of Perth and a 10MWW solar farm planned near Northam by Carnegie Clean Energy.

Across Australia, however, the large-scale solar boom is accelerating. Eight grid-connected large-scale solar farms have now been completed and another 30 are under construction, or have reached financial closure and are about to begin.

The joint owners of Greenough River says the solar plant, located on a wheat farm, “has been extremely warmly welcomed by what is a very small remote community. No public complaints or opposition have been received.”

May 20, 2017 Posted by | solar, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Western Australia: renewable energy going ahead in leaps and bounds

Solar power has become so popular in some parts of Western Australia that there are more households equipped with panels than without.

The national leader is Baldivis, south of Perth, where two-thirds of households feature rooftop solar. Other strong WA performers include Byford (56%) and Rockingham (53%).

There is now six gigawatts of solar power installed across the country. The Australian Photovoltaic Institute chair, Renate Egan, said an additional 1GW was added over the past year by household-scale solar in tandem with commercial and large-scale solar farms.

Once considered an eco-warrior’s pipe dream, renewable energy is rapidly gaining ground in the traditional mining state of Western Australia, Guardian, Max Opray, 15 May 17, Along the remote southern coastline of Western Australia, the locals have cottoned on to a new, surefire way to keep their beer cold. Continue reading

May 17, 2017 Posted by | solar, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Australian renewable energy news

Victoria
Origin stuns industry with record low price for 530MW wind farm
Origin to buy output from 530MW Stockyard Hill wind farm at less than $60/MWh in price that will stun Australian industry. Following numerous solar deals, it expects renewables to account for more than 25% of its supply by 2020.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/origin-stuns-industry-with-record-low-price-for-530mw-wind-farm-70946/

Contract signed for new two-turbine wind farm in Victoria
Giles Parkinson Construction on the two-turbine Maroona wind farm to begin soon after contract signed and financing in place.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/contract-signed-new-two-turbine-wind-farm-victoria-62657/


Origin stuns industry with record low price for 530MW wind farm
Origin to buy output from 530MW Stockyard Hill wind farm at less than $60/MWh in price that will stun Australian industry. Following numerous solar deals, it expects renewables to account for more than 25% of its supply by 2020.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/origin-stuns-industry-with-record-low-price-for-530mw-wind-farm-70946/

Western Australia
Wesfarmers’ energy retailing unit signs up for W.A.’s biggest solar farm
Wesfarmers unit signs 10 year deal for 30MW solar farm, which will be the largest in WA and first in Australia to be built in
http://reneweconomy.com.au/wesfarmers-energy-retailing-unit-signs-w-s-biggest-solar-farm-45040/

May 10, 2017 Posted by | New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia | Leave a comment

News on fracking in Australia

Renowned scientist Tim Flannery warns NT against investing in gas
The former chief commissioner of Australia’s Climate Council says the NT should take heed of the risks posed by hydraulic fracturing when considering gas projects such as the proposed Jemena pipeline.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-05-06/tim-flannery-warns-against-nt-pipeline/8502186

Western Australia
Tribunal rules against Indigenous anti-fracking protestor in WA
An Aboriginal man who has spent more than two years protesting mining companies from a makeshift camp in northern WA declares victory, despite a tribunal ruling likely to end his campaign.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-05-05/tribunal-rules-against-anti-fracking-protester/8501544

May 7, 2017 Posted by | legal, Northern Territory, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Warning that North Korea could ship a nuclear device to Western Australia

North Korea can ship nuclear device to WA https://thewest.com.au/news/wa/north-korea-can-ship-nuke-to-wa-ng-b88463758zGary Adshead, 4 May 2017 A Perth-based former Australian Federal Police officer has issued a chilling warning about a potential threat posed by North Korea to Australia that does not involve launching missiles.

Chris Douglas, who specialised in terrorism financing and organised crime, believes the rogue country is more than capable of smuggling a nuclear device into an Australian port via shipping routes.

“A fanatical regime facing extinction wouldn’t think twice about sending a container bearing a nuclear device to the US or an allied country and detonating it,” he said in an article published by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

Mr Douglas told The West Australian those ports could included Fremantle and that concealing the device would be easy and it would be foolish to focus only on the possibility of North Korea launching a missile into Australia if current tensions escalated.

“It’s time to check our thinking about what North Korea’s counter-attack response might be,” Mr Douglas said. “Nuclear weapons could be smuggled out of North Korea … and then be placed into containers on a cargo ship for transport to a port anywhere in the world.”

Last month, the state-run Democratic People’s Republic of Korea news agency warned Australia could hit by missiles. “If Australia persists in following the US moves to isolate and stifle the DPRK and remains a shock brigade of the US master, this will be a suicidal act of coming within the range of the nuclear strike of the strategic force of the DPRK, ” it said.

Mr Douglas suggested another terrifying scenario would involve several nuclear devices in different sea containers. “With over 17 million shipping containers in circulation, weaponised containers would be hard to detect,” he said. “A failure in imagination in any assessment of North Korea’s options to respond to a US attack could have a devastating impact not only on the US, but the rest of the world, involving significant loss of life and global economic ruin.”

A United Nations report in 2010, highlighted the lengths North Korea has gone to while pursuing its nuclear ambitions. A weapons expert doesn’t believe North Korea has capability to reach Darwin with one of their missiles

Private jets were hired through offshore companies and shipping containers were falsely labelled. In a separate UN report this year, North Korea was accused of “flouting sanctions through trade in prohibited goods, with evasion techniques that are increasing in scale, scope and sophistication”.  Mr Douglas said North Korean ships had been used previously to transport drugs near the Australian coast.

May 5, 2017 Posted by | weapons and war, Western Australia | Leave a comment

The Global Uranium Industry and Cameco’s Troubled History

The Global Uranium Industry & Cameco’s Troubled History, May 2017, Jim Green − Friends of the Earth, Australia http://tinyurl.com/cameco-may-2017

Table of Contents

  1. INTRODUCTION
  2. THE GLOBAL URANIUM INDUSTRY

Australia’s Uranium Volume and Exports – 2006-2015

Australia’s top export revenue industries – Compared to uranium

“It has never been a worse time for uranium miners”

If there is a recovery, it will be a long time coming

Explaining the uranium market’s malaise

  1. CAMECO BATTLING URANIUM DOWNTURN, TAX OFFICE, TEPCO
  2. CAMECO’S URANIUM DEPOSITS IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA ‒ A BRIEF SUMMARY
  3. CAMECO’S INCIDENTS AND ACCIDENTS: 1981‒2016
1. INTRODUCTION This report covers two overlapping issues. 
Firstly: the miserable state of the global uranium industry. For several years, the uranium prices (the spot price and long-term contract price) has been well below the level that would incentivise new mines. There is no end in sight to the industry’s current malaise ‒ as acknowledged by numerous industry insiders and market analysts.
Secondly: the problems facing uranium mining company Cameco, which provides about 17% of the world’s production from mines in Canada, the US and Kazakhstan, and has two uranium projects in Western Australia ‒ Kintyre (70% Cameco / 30% Mitsubishi) and Yeelirrie (100% Cameco).
Cameco has been continuously downsizing for the past five years and the company acknowledges that the situation will get worse before it gets better.
Cameco has written off the entire value of its Kintyre project in Western Australia: a C$238 million write-down in 2016 following a C$168 million write-down in December 2012. Several other mines have been subject to production slowdowns or suspension, the company plans to sell its two uranium mines in the US (if it can find a buyer), and CEO Tim Gitzel said in February 2017 that Cameco is “very far from requiring any new greenfield uranium projects”.
Cameco is currently embroiled in a court case, accused of illegal profit-shifting by the Canada Revenue Agency using subsidiaries in Switzerland and Barbados. If Cameco is found guilty, it may have to back-pay taxes amounting to C$2.1 billion.
Finally, the report includes a table listing many of Cameco’s accidents and controversies since 1981 ‒ leaks and spills, the promotion of dangerous radiation junk science (in WA and elsewhere), appalling treatment of indigenous people, systemic and sometimes deliberate safety failures and breaches, etc………
 
Explaining the uranium market’s malaise There are numerous reasons why the uranium market is likely to remain depressed for the foreseeable future. The most important are briefly discussed here.
1. Nuclear power is unlikely to expand…..
2. Uranium is plentiful. …..
3. Stockpiles (inventories) are massive and still growing…….

May 5, 2017 Posted by | business, reference, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment