Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

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/

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

Lucas Heights nuclear reactor in disarray – costs and safety problems

 

 

 

Delays hold back nuclear medicine – SEAN PARNELL, OCTOBER 26, 2018 https://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/health/delays-hold-back-nuclear-medicine/news-story/16d8606ac2f0e5c1d8e9010ea316aa74

Australia’s production of nuclear medicine is in disarray, with a promised world-class manufacturing plant running two years behind schedule, unresolved questions over waste management, and broader concerns over ageing facilities and safety issues at Lucas Heights.

A conveyor breakdown in June at building 23 — where a ­series of safety incidents prompted a damning independent review — has caused ongoing supply issues throughout Australia and overseas.

The Weekend Australian has learned the existing plant will not be able to resume full domestic production of generators until next year. Amid the disruptions, the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation has been forced to import generators and trade local ingredients with an American producer. It is refusing to detail how much the inefficient workaround is costing.

One of the safety incidents that prompted a rare intervention by the regulator was caused by a wheel falling off a trolley. It has now emerged the conveyor breakdown was caused by damage to the guide rails that other trolleys use and the conveyor chain guides themselves.

With nuclear medicine stakeholders expressing frustration at the ongoing delays, and a perceived lack of transparency by ANSTO, Industry, Science and Technology Minister Karen ­Andrews has asked the agency to respond to the internal review as a priority.

“I’ve also sought assurance from ANSTO that they are supplying the market at normal levels,” Ms Andrews said.

Stakeholders had raised concerns with the minister’s predecessor without response and point to continuing practice ­restrictions.

A new $168.8 million plant, to be known as ANSTO Nuclear Medicine, was meant to be operational in 2016 and as much as triple the production of generators, making Australia a major global player. However, it will not be operational before early next year — ANSTO will not say if the budget has blown out — and license conditions set by the Australian Radiation Protection and ­Nuclear Safety Agency add to the challenges.

ARPANSA will not allow any overall increase in production until the existing plant is decommissioned, adding to delays, and is demanding more information on plans for a new waste-management facility — including contingency plans should it, too, be delayed.

The ANM would also rely on building 23 which, like the existing plant, was built in the 1950s and is past its use-by date. The independent review revealed ANSTO wanted to replace the building “but federal government budget restrictions have meant that this has not been progressed”.

“A number of additions and modifications have been made to the facility, but these cannot possibly resolve all of the issues associated with a facility not designed for its current use,” the review concluded.

Ms Andrews would not be drawn on the issue, saying it was a matter for ANSTO to respond to the independent review, which also raised concerns over culture.

ARPANSA is overseeing the independent review and has given ANSTO more time to respond to the recommendations.

October 29, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, safety | Leave a comment

Britain’s exit from European Union- a cause for rejoicement to Australia’s uranium industry?

October 16, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, politics international | Leave a comment

Australian government’s absurdly inflated claim of 45 jobs for proposed nuclear waste dump

Jobs not sustainable  JIM GREEN Friends of the Earth Australia, Eyre Peninsula Tribune, 10 Oct 18 
The federal government claims that 45 jobs will be created at its proposed national radioactive waste facility in Kimba or the Flinders Ranges.

The government further claims that its jobs estimate has been “tested” against comparable overseas facilities.
But such comparisons prove that the government’s jobs estimate is grossly inflated. The CSA radioactive waste facility in France processes 73 cubic metres (m3) per employee per year. The El Cabril radioactive waste facility in Spain processes 10 cubic metres (m3) per employee per year.


Yet the Australian government estimates productivity of just 1 m3 per employee per year. The government evidently has a dim view of the productivity of Australian workers, or, more likely, its jobs estimate is grossly inflated.
If we assume that Australia matched the lowest of the figures given above ‒ 10 m3 per employee per year at El Cabril in Spain ‒ then the staff at an Australian facility would be processing waste for just one month each year.
The government might be willing to pay 45 staff to do nothing for 11 months each year, but it’s not a sustainable situation. The Department of Finance wouldn’t tolerate it. Staffing would be dramatically culled.
Almost certainly, a future government would revert to the plan pursued by previous governments: keeping the waste facility closed most of the time, and opening it occasionally for waste disposal and storage.  https://www.eyretribune.com.au/story/5693747/letters-to-the-editor/

October 11, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, employment, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

Victoria’s renewable energy boom set to create thousands of jobs

Green Energy Markets predicts more than 6,000 annual jobs will be created but urges federal policy intervention, Guardian, Calla Wahlquist @callapilla 2 Oct 2018 The renewable energy construction boom in Victoria is on track to create more than 6,000 annual jobs, according to a new analysis.

As of August 2018, large-scale wind and solar projects under construction in Victoria had created 5,169 job years of employment – meaning one person working full time for one year – overtaking Queensland with 5,156, according to an analysis by Green Energy Markets released by GetUp on Tuesday.

When the remainder of the projects greenlit under Victoria’s renewable energy auction come online, job years of employment will increase to 6,072.

Victoria has 26 operational large-scale wind and solar projects, 12 under construction and 28 with planning approval.

But the Green Energy Markets director of analysis, Tristan Edis, said that without federal policy intervention the construction boom would being tapering off in 2020, because the large-scale generation certificates scheme would be over-supplied.

Renewable energy made up 25.5% of the electricity fed into the major east and west coast power grids in August, enough to power 12.1m homes, the report said.

As of August there were another 6,184MW of new large-scale renewable energy projects under construction, creating 15,511 jobs, the bulk of which were in Queensland and Victoria. Wind generation accounted for 54% of the new projects and the remainder were large-scale solar……..

Victoria and Queensland also on track to meet their state-based renewable energy generations targets of 40% and 50% respectively by 2030.

Victorian environment minister Lily D’Ambrosio said the construction jobs were the product of a record investment in renewable energy and that investment would be under threat if the Coalition won the state election next month.

NSW currently leads the number of jobs in the rooftop solar installation industry, followed by Queensland, Victoria and WA, although jobs in rooftop solar in Victoria are forecast to increase due to its $2250 solar panel rebate.https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/oct/01/victorias-renewable-energy-boom-set-to-create-thousands-of-jobs

October 3, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, employment, energy | Leave a comment

The value of Australia’s coal exports is forecast to decline sharply

Thermal coal prices forecast to drop 25% and metallurgical coal prices 23% as value of iron ore exports also falls, Guardian, Gareth Hutchens @grhutchens, 2 Oct 2018  The value of Australia’s coal exports is forecast to decline sharply over the next 18 months as thermal coal prices drop 25% and metallurgical coal prices fall 23%.

October 3, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Jobs for South Australians at nuclear morgue? That is a shaky promise.

A nuclear waste jobs bonanza for regional South Australia? http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=19959, Jim Green, 27 Sept 19

The federal government is trying to persuade regional communities in South Australia to host a national radioactive waste facility – an underground burial repository for lower-level radioactive wastes and an above-ground ‘interim’ store for long-lived intermediate-level waste. One site under consideration is near Hawker in the Flinders Ranges, and two other sites under consideration are on farming land near Kimba at the top of the Eyre Peninsula.

The government is promising 45 jobs, three times its earlier claim that there would be 15 jobs at the proposed facility. The compensation package on offer has also tripled and now stands at $31 million.

Forty-five jobs would be welcome in small regional communities. But is it plausible that 45 jobs would be created? When the Howard government was attempting to establish a radioactive waste repository in SA from 1998 – 2004, the government said there would be zero jobs – not even any security guards. The government-commissioned PR company Michels Warren said: “The National Repository could never be sold as “good news” to South Australians. There are few, if any, tangible benefits such as jobs, investment or improved infrastructure.”

From 2005 to 2014, Coalition and Labor governments targeted sites in the Northern Territory for a radioactive waste repository and said there would be just six jobs, all of them security guards.

Last year, with SA once again in the firing line, the government said: “At least 15 full-time equivalent jobs will be needed to operate the facility. These will be in site management, administration, security, environmental monitoring, site and building maintenance as well as receiving and packaging waste materials.”

Recently, the jobs estimate was upped to 45, with the government saying: “In addition to the 15 operational jobs already confirmed, the structure now includes roles for community liaison, management, tourism, environmental monitoring, security, health and safety: a total of 45 staff.”

This is the breakdownof the 45 jobs:

14 – security and safeguards

13 – waste operations and technicians

8 – site management and community outreach

5 – environmental protection and quality control

5 – safety and radiation protection

That estimate comes with caveats: “the final workforce design and structure will be based on a number of factors including advice from security agencies, the views of the independent regulator and the details of the final business case, with inputs from across government.”

Overseas comparisons    

The Centre de Stockage de l’Aube (CSA) radioactive waste facility in France handles over 200 times more waste per yearcompared to the proposed facility in SA yet it employs only four times as many staff as the proposed facility in SA. CSA processes 73 cubic metres (m3) per employee per year (13,164 m3 / 180 staff).  

Is the estimate of 45 jobs credible? Not if overseas radioactive waste facilities are any guide.

The El Cabril radioactive waste facility in Spain has a staff of 137 people and processed an average of 1,395 m3 per year from 1993 to 2016. That equates to 10.2 m3 per employee per year. 

Yet the Australian government estimates a workforce of 45 people to process 45 m3 per year: 1 m3 per employee per year compared to 10.2 in Spain and 73 in France. The government evidently has a dim view of the productivity of Australian workers, or, more likely, its jobs estimate is grossly inflated.

Will the government pay staff to do nothing?

Measuring jobs-per-employee doesn’t account for some jobs required whether a facility processes 1 m3 or 1 million m3 per year: administration, security and so on. As a government official stated: “There are a base number of jobs related to the management of the waste which are not linear with volume and a number of jobs that would scale with larger volumes.”

Nevertheless, productivity at the proposed Australian facility would be dramatically lower than comparable facilities overseas. 

If we assume that Australia matched the lowest of the figures given above – 10.2 m3 per employee per year at El Cabril in Spain – then the staff at an Australian facility  would be processing waste for just one month each year and they’d have 11 months to play ping-pong.

The current government might be willing to pay 45 staff to play ping-pong for 11 months each year, but it’s not a sustainable situation. The Department of Finance wouldn’t tolerate it. If staff at the waste facility are paid by the federal government to do nothing for most of the time, what sort of a precedent does that set, and why shouldn’t the rest of us be paid to do nothing for 11 months out of 12 at a cost to taxpayers of several million dollars each year?

Almost certainly, staffing would be dramatically culled. Almost certainly, a future government would revert to the plan pursued by previous governments: keeping the waste facility closed most of the time, and opening it occasionally for waste disposal and storage. In the jargon, this is called a campaign-based approach with occasional waste disposal ‘campaigns’.

Previous governments said that waste would be sent to the facility just once every 3 – 5 years. For example, the government said in 2003 that waste would be transferred to the facility just once every five years: “It is considered for planning purposes that an average period of 5 years between campaigns will be appropriate” (Volume III of DEST application to ARPANSA, Ch.9, ‘Waste – Transfer and Documentation’, p.5).

In a recent attack on me for questioning its estimate of 45 jobs, the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science said it was unable to locate any previous government documents regarding periodic, campaign-based plans. The federal government can’t find federal government documents? Seriously?

The government says that it wants continuous operation of the repository (for reasons unexplained) rather than a periodic, campaign-based approach. But even so, the government only plans to shift waste to the facility once or twice each yearaccording to a 2016 document. A July 2018 government document states: “This facility will be an operational facility and not as some have suggested, a minimally crewed warehouse to be opened once or twice a year.” But it is the government itself which says that waste will only be transported to the facility once or twice each year!

Broader economic impacts Continue reading

September 28, 2018 Posted by | employment, Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | 1 Comment

Weapons-making corporation, Raytheon hoping for nuclear industry in SouthAustralia?

John Matheson Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA, 26 Sept 18, Weapons-making corporation, Raytheon purchased and renovated a two story office building on Greenhill Road, Parkside a couple of years ago. it is a substantial building and the lights are on, but nobody seems to be home. I wonder whether the Raytheon “headquarters” in Adelaide is just a shopfront for the lobbying and tendering of the $squillions up for grabs if – sorry when – the nuclear dump is coerced by guvmint. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raytheon     https://www.facebook.com/groups/344452605899556

September 26, 2018 Posted by | business, Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Australia’s failure on climate action is likely to doom the $15b European trade deal

‘Is this a red line for us?’ $15b European trade deal doomed if Australia dodges Paris pledge, SMH, By Nicole Hasham, 31 August 2018 The Coalition’s internal climate war risks damaging the economy after Europe declared it would reject a $15 billion trade deal with Australia unless the Morrison government keeps its pledge to cut pollution under the Paris accord.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison this week reset his government’s course on energy policy, declaring a focus on lowering electricity bills and increasing reliability, while relegating efforts to cut dangerous greenhouse gas emissions.

He has reaffirmed his government’s commitment to the Paris accord despite persistent calls by conservative Coalition MPs, led by Tony Abbott, to quit the agreement.

However there is deep uncertainty over how Australia will meet the Paris goal of reducing Australia’s carbon emissions by 26 per cent by 2030 given the government does not have a national strategy to meet the target.

The policy ructions did not go unnoticed at a meeting of the European Parliament’s Committee on International Trade in Brussels, where the EU’s chief negotiator on the deal, Helena König, faced angry questions from the floor over Australia’s commitment to climate action.

Australia and the EU will in November enter a second round of negotiations over the deal that would end restrictions on Australian exports and collectively add $15 billion to both economies.

In a video of this week’s proceedings, Ms König told the committee that “it’s the [European] Commission’s position … that we are talking about respect and full implementation of the Paris agreement [as part of the trade deal]”.

“No doubt we will see what comes out in the text [of the deal agreement] but that I expect to be the minimum in the text, for sure.”

Her assertion is a clear signal that any failure by Australia to meet its international climate obligations would have serious economic consequences.

Ms König fired off the warning after a question by Klaus Buchner, a German Greens member of the Parliament who said “the intention of the new Australian regime to withdraw from the Paris Agreement unsettles not only Australians”. …….

The EU bloc is Australia’s second largest trading partner, third largest export destination and second largest services market. The EU was also Australia’s largest source of foreign investment in 2017.

…….The Paris climate accord is deeply unpopular with conservative MPs, including Nationals MPs whose electorates would benefit from an EU trade deal. Keith Pitt resigned as an assistant minister last week in protest at the Paris treaty. “I will always put reducing power prices before Paris,” he said.

A 2017 report by the United Nations environment program that found Australia’s emissions were set to far exceed its Paris pledge and government data released in January showed Australia’s annual emissions had risen for the fourth year running.

Labor’s climate change and energy spokesman Mark Butler said the government had no emissions reduction plan and would fail to meet its Paris goal.

“The Prime Minister might think he can get away with [failing to cut emissions] domestically, but it is clear it will not be accepted by our international trading partners, who rightly have an expectation the Australian government will act to deliver on our international obligations,” he said.

European Australian Business Council chief executive Jason Collins, whose organisation has lobbied for the trade deal, said Europe’s commitment to the Paris agreement was “fundamental”. ……

Australian Conservation Foundation chief executive Kelly O’Shanassy said the European Union’s stance on the trade deal showed the Coalition’s climate policy division “has real-world consequences for our country”. https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/is-this-a-red-line-for-us-15b-european-trade-deal-doomed-if-australia-dodges-paris-pledge-20180831-p50109.html

September 3, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, climate change - global warming, politics international | Leave a comment

Adani’s claims to have secured finance questioned

Green Left   Margaret Gleeson July 20, 2018

Karan Adani’s understatement of the cost of the rail link by almost $2.5 billion
is par for the course in Adani propaganda. He also claimed that all approvals
were in place and that work would commence immediately
after the rail finance was approved.

‘However, this is not the case. 
There remain several obstacles before work at the mine can begin, including:

‘1. Federal approval for Adani’s proposed water scheme,
involving pumping 12.5 billion litres of water a year from the Suttor River to the mine.
The government has delayed its decision and asked Adani for more information.

‘2. A court challenge by a group of Wangan and Jagalingou people to a land-use agreement.
If the challenge to invalidate the agreement is successful, Adani would then require the
Queensland government to extinguish native title at the mine site.

‘3. A stop order application by a group of Juru people, amid a dispute about cultural heritage
in the vicinity of the Abbot Point coal terminal and a section of the rail link.

‘4. Finance to build an airstrip near the mine site for fly-in fly-out workers. …

‘5. Finance to build the rail line. …

‘6. The Queensland Labor government has imposed more than 240 conditions
on the Carmichael coalmine project, 132 of which relate to water. …

Federal Labor environment spokesperson Mark Butler, who opposes the mine,
was sceptical of claims Adani would soon have the finance required for the rail line. …

Read more of MargaretGleeson‘s comprehensive & well-researched article:
www.greenleft.org.au/content/adanis-claims-have-secured-finance-questioned

July 22, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

China General Nuclear Power Corporation buys 75% stake in wind power project from Australia’s Macquarie Group

Reuters 18th July 2018 ,China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) has acquired a 75 percent
stake in a Swedish wind power project from Australia’s Macquarie Group and GE Energy Financial Services, state news agency Xinhua reported on Wednesday.

The North Pole wind power project, located in Pitea, Sweden, is expected to be operational by the end of 2019 with a capacity of 650,000 kilowatts, making it the single largest onshore wind power park in Europe, Xinhua said.
https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-cgn-sweden/chinas-cgn-acquires-75-percent-of-swedish-wind-farm-xinhua-idUSKBN1K81IC?rpc=401&

July 19, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, wind | Leave a comment

Australian company Silex pulls out of U.S. laser uranium enrichment projects

Silex pulls out of U.S. laser enrichment projects, JUNE 13, 2018

 Silex Systems Limited, an Australian company that own the Silex laser enrichment technology, announced that it will not be participating in the restructuring of the Global Laser Enrichment (GLE), a venture that was set up by General Electric and Hitachi to use the technology to build uranium enrichment facilities in the United States. Canadian company Cameco joined the project in 2008.

In 2012 GLE obtained a license to build an enrichment facility in Wilmington, NC. That project, however, was put on hold as the demand for enrichment services dropped after Fukushima. In 2014, GLE expressed interest in building a facility in Paducah, at the site of the gaseous diffusion plant closed down in 2013. The new plant was supposed to enrich tails of the old enrichment operation to produce “natural-grade” uranium. In November 2016 GLE secured an agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy to acquire the tails. In April 2016, however, GE-Hitachi announced its intent to leave GLE. Silex Systems considered acquiring the GE-Hitachi stake in the company (which is 76%), but now ti decided against it.

In addition, Silex said it intends to give notice to GLE of the termination of the SILEX technology license “unless circumstances change dramatically in the short term”. This most likely means that all plans to build a Silex-based commercial uranium enrichment facility in the United States are now terminated.

July 14, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, technology, uranium | Leave a comment

Uranium industry in Australia – stagnant at best – Department of Industry

Dept of Industry, Energy Quarterly, June 2018

Predicts stagnant production/export of Australian uranium over the next few years.

Expects growth from Olympic Dam, no new mines, doesn’t even mention Ranger.

Uranium exploration almost non-existent: “Only $1.9 million was spent on uranium exploration in the March quarter 2018: a drop from an already-low level of $2.9 million spent in the December quarter. Uranium exploration is now largely confined to South Australia, tailing off in all other states.”

https://industry.gov.au/Office-of-the-Chief-Economist/Publications/ResourcesandEnergyQuarterlyJune2018/documents/Resources-and-Energy-Quarterly-June-2018-Uranium.pdf

July 2, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, uranium | Leave a comment

Yet another failure for Australian uranium company Paladin – Namibia uranium mine mothballed

Paladin mothballs Namibia uranium mine   Crreamer Media’s Mining Weeekly 25TH MAY 2018
BY: ESMARIE SWANEPOEL CREAMER MEDIA SENIOR DEPUTY EDITOR: AUSTRALASIA   ERTH (miningweekly.com) – Dual-listed
  Paladin Energy on Friday confirmed that its Langer Heinrich uranium mine, in Namibia, was being placed under care and maintenance, but said that the low-cost openpit operation would be one of the first to resume production when the uranium market normalised.

Paladin in April said that it was unlikely to resume physical mining activities at the mine despite the medium-grade ore stockpile currently feeding the processing plant set to be exhausted before mid-2019.

The ASX and TSX-listed company on Friday said that it had received consent from all the relevant stakeholders to place the operation under care and maintenance, and had now stopped presenting ore to the plant.

There would be a run-down phase of up to three months where various stages of the plant would be progressively suspended and cleaned, and during this time, there would be some continued production of finished uranium.

Paladin noted that once the run-down phase was complete, operations would have been completely suspended and Langer Heinrich would be under care and maintenance. ……http://www.miningweekly.com/article/paladin-mothballs-namibia-uranium-mine-2018-05-25

 

May 27, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, uranium | Leave a comment

Australian businesses on the move to renewable energy

Almost half of Australian big business moving to renewables
Climate Council says capacity of firms to generate solar power has doubled in less than two years, Guardian,  
Ben Smee, 15 May 18, 

Almost half of Australia’s large businesses are actively transitioning to cheaper renewable energy, including many going off the grid by building their own generators and battery storage, as power bills threaten their bottom line.

A new report by the Climate Council details the increased speed of a business-led transition to renewables as power bills have increased.

The average household and small-business energy bill is more than 80% higher than a decade ago. Gas prices have increased threefold in five years.   

Many businesses – including 46% of large operations – have responded by seeking green alternatives. The Climate Council report, released on Tuesday, said the capacity of Australian businesses to generate their own solar power had doubled in less than two years.

Business owners report making their investment back through cost savings in less than five years.

The general manager of AustChilli at Bundaberg, Ian Gaffel, said the decision to invest in solar panels was a “no-brainer”.

AustChilli employs more than 100 people in the agriculture and food manufacturing process. The business initially built a 100kW solar system and about 18 months ago added an additional 200kW.

Solar now accounts for about a quarter of the business’s power usage.

“We looked for many years at the idea before jumping in a few years ago,” Gaffel said. “We’re a growing business so as we’ve grown the energy we’re using goes up.”

“My role is on the financial side and from the numbers it was a very easy decision……..

Gaffel said the cost savings gave the business more confidence and certainty when deciding to expand and hire more employees. The next step for the business will likely be battery storage, which will further decrease its reliance on the energy grid.

The story is being repeated across the country, particularly in the manufacturing industry, where increased power bills have squeezed profits……. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/may/15/almost-half-of-australian-big-business-moving-to-renewables 

May 15, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, energy | Leave a comment