Australian news, and some related international items

‘reckless’ and ‘indefensible’ Carmichael coal mine approved by Queensland govt

coal CarmichaelMine2Queensland fast tracks ‘reckless’ and ‘indefensible’ Carmichael coal mine, Independent Australia  Renew Economy 11 October 2016 Minus financial backing, reneging on the Paris Agreement and even ignoring Adani’s own loss of interest in the project, the Queensland Government is fast tracking the Carmichael coal mine, writesRenewEconomy‘s Sophie Vorrath.

IN A MOVE that has been labelled “indefensible” and “reckless” by green groups, the Queensland Government has declared the massive Carmichael coal mine and port proposed for the State’s Galilee Basin as “critical infrastructure”, in an effort to fast-track its development.

State development minister Anthony Lynhamsaid on Monday that the Labor PalaszczukGovernment had invoked special powers to help progress Adani’s $21 billion project, reinstating and expanding its “prescribed project” status to include its water infrastructure…….

while governments of all colours appear to be rolling out the red carpet for the coal project, there are other hurdles it has yet to clear – not least of all economic ones – as coal looks more and more like a high-risk investment.

As John Quiggan wrote last month, a long list of banks and other funding sources have announced they won’t touch the project, or have pulled out of existing finance arrangements.

The list includes the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (formerly a big lender to Adani), NAB, the Queensland Treasury and global banks including Standard Chartered (another former big lender), Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC and Barclays, as well as BNP Paribas, Credit Agricole and Societe Generale. The U.S. and Korean Export-Import banks and the State Bank of India have been touted as possible sources, but appear to have backed away.

Even Adani Group, the Indian conglomerate behind the project, has appeared to lose interest in its coal plans. And just this week, the energy minister for India – the main market for the coal that would be dug up at Carmichael – called on the country’s power generators to cease coal imports if the nation was to come good on its “One Nation, One Grid, One Price” energy goal…..,9578

October 11, 2016 Posted by | business, climate change - global warming, politics, Queensland | Leave a comment

Uranium mining companies desperate to survive, but no improved market in sight

burial.uranium-industryDesperate uranium miners switch to survival mode despite nuclear rebound, Reuters, By Geert De Clercq 7 OCT 16  LONDON   “……..BULGING INVENTORIES  Mining executives partly blame the slump on their customers’ wait-and-see attitude, as utilities believe that the uranium market’s over-capacity will persist for years and see no need to rebuild their dwindling stockpiles.

Demand for uranium is determined by the number of nuclear plants in operation worldwide, but supply and demand are disjointed by huge stocks and uranium’s long production cycle……..

In the five years before Fukushima, utilities worldwide bought about 200 million pounds of uranium per year, he said. Although Japan’s consumption averaged only around 25 million pounds per year, when it closed its reactors demand was cut far further, falling by half. European and U.S. utilities saw that the market was over-supplied and reduced inventories, buying less.

Mining firm Energy Fuels estimates global uranium stocks held by utilities, miners and governments are now at around 1 billion pounds. That is down from a peak around 2.5 billion pounds in 1990, but still many years’ worth of consumption.

Despite the plunge in uranium prices after the 2008 financial crisis and again after Fukushima, uranium production has doubled from 80-90 million pounds in the mid-1990s to about 160 million pounds last year, according to Energy Fuels data……


With so much new supply, and demand sliding, prices have fallen to a level where most uranium miners operate at a loss.

“At today’s spot prices, the primary uranium mining industry is not sustainable,” US uranium producer Energy Fuels COO Mark Chalmers told the World Nuclear Association’s London conference last month.

He added that many legacy long-term supply contracts will expire in 2017-18, which will force many mines to close or throttle back even further than they already have.

Miners like Canada’s Cameco, France’s Areva and the uranium arms of global mining companies have closed or mothballed several mines and deferred new projects in order to cut back supply.

Paladin – the world’s second-largest independent pure-play uranium miner after Cameco and the seventh or eighth-largest globally – has production capacity of 8 million pounds of yellowcake uranium but produced just 4.9 million pounds last year at its Langer Heinrich mine in Namibia.

Molyneux said the firm will produce about 4 million pounds this year and will cut output further to about 3.5 million pounds next year if prices do not recover.

Paladin suspended production at its 2.3 million pounds per year capacity Kayelekera mine in northern Malawi in 2014 but maintains equipment so it can resume when prices recover.

Meanwhile it is trying to further reduce its debt, which already fell from $1.2 billion five years ago to $362 million.

Paladin has agreed to sell 24 pct of Langer Heinrich to the China National Nuclear Company and plans to use the expected proceeds of 175 million dollars to further reduce debt.

Bigger peer Cameco in April suspended production at its Rabbit Lake, Canada mine while also curtailing output across its U.S. operations, saying market conditions could not support the operating and capital costs needed to sustain production.

Cameco marketing head Tim Gabruch told the WNA conference that “desperate times call for desperate measures”.

Supply adjustments and producer discipline had not yet been sufficient to counter the loss of demand, he said.”As difficult as those decisions have been, we recognize that those actions may not be enough.”(Reporting by Geert De Clercq; editing by Peter Graff)

October 8, 2016 Posted by | business, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

West Australian wave energy company in CETO wave farm deal with Sri Lankan company

wave-energy-carnegie-ceto-systemCarnegie Wave Energy up on Sri Lankan agreement –  on September 30, 2016

The wave energy firm will work with Lanka Energy Conservation to identify opportunities and development pathways for its technology on the island nation.

Specifically the two companies will examine opportunities to enable CETO wave farms to be integrated into the existing or new power infrastructure to supply clean power and freshwater.

Carnegie’s chief operating officer Greg Allen said the company had made significant progress in its entry into the “small island” market this year.

“The signing of this MOU provides us with another opportunity to provide services to explore the possibility of incorporating CETO, along with microgrid solutions, to enable high penetration of renewable energy, displacing imported diesel,” he said.

Mr Allen said island nations were assessing clean, cost effective, alternative energy solutions to remove their reliance on electricity generated using imported fossil fuels.

“These imported fossil fuels come at a high cost, do not provide energy security and have a significant environmental footprint,” he said.

“Carnegie presents an effective clean energy alternative that can provide a solution for island and fringe of grid communities globally.” Lanka Energy Conservation chairman and managing director Dammica Wickramaratne said Sri Lanka showed good potential for wave, solar and wind energy power.


October 3, 2016 Posted by | business, energy, Western Australia | Leave a comment

South Australia’s nuclear dump plan – fool’s gold? – senior Liberal MP

scrutiny-on-wastes-sa-bankruptSA nuclear dump dreams just fool’s gold: senior Lib, The Australian, September 29, 2016, byMichael Owen

A senior Liberal has broken ranks in what had been a bipart­isan approach to inquire into the potential for South Australia to host a repository for the world’s high-level nuclear waste, warning that taxpayers risked wasting money “on fool’s gold”.

Rob Lucas, a former state treasurer and the opposition’s Treasury spokesman, told ­parliament that intense political pressures would make it near ­impossible for there to be the ­required bipartisan support at both federal and state level for the necessary legislative changes to allow such a facility.

Mr Lucas, a member of parliament’s joint committee on the findings of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission, also cast doubt on the potential eco­nomic benefits, warning it was not possible to verify “some of the financial ­estimates in terms of what the state might earn from this facility”.

The Scarce royal commission’s final report, delivered in May, found that building a nuc­lear waste dump in South Australia could bring in an extra $100 billion over 120 years.

South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill — who faces resistance from federal Labor and his own Left faction — has said cabin­et would make a decis­ion in November as to whether to progress the propo­s­al, after ­extensive commun­ity con­­sult­ation. Latest opinion polls show South Australians almost equally divided on the issue.

Last night, Mr Weatherill, who returned this week from touring the world’s first permanent nuclear waste storage facility in Finland, told The Aust­ralian he understood the com­plex­ities. “I do agree that this issue poses challenges, not the least for my party, but I feel duty bound to act in South Australia’s and the national interest in progressing this debate,” he said.

Mr Lucas said it would be a “courageous Liberal candidate or member in a federal campaign who would be out there campaigning hard to support Premier Weatherill on a nuclear waste dump or facility’’ in his state.

“At an upcoming federal elect­ion … (there will be) federal Labor candidates campaigning in South Australia against a ­nuclear waste facility in South Australia and potentially candid­ates from the Greens and the Nick Xenophon Team campaigning against a nuclear waste dump or facility (there). If there is not going to be the support of the federal Labor Party, then we, the taxpayers of South Australia, will be spending tens and maybe hundreds of ­millions of dollars on fool’s gold — fool’s uranium, fool’s nuclear waste dumps.”

September 30, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, politics, South Australia, wastes | 1 Comment

Long delay for money in for South Australia’s Temporary Nuclear Waste Storage facility

David Salomon, Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch South Australia, 30 Sept 16 

Did you know: This calls for $2.4b up front investment for infrastructure, ie port and temporary storage facilities, electricity supply etc. Yes, the plan includes temporary storage facility with first receipts after 8 years on the “aggressive” time line, 11 years on the baseline scenario. A long time and a lot can happen.

At any election during this time approval for the project could be overturned by either state or federal governments as happened with the Yucca Mountain Repository in the USA after being approved in 2002 and funding withdrawn in 2011. Were there to be another Chernobyl or Fukushima that leads to shut down of existing nuclear power stations the demand for the waste facility would be restricted to existing not projected waste. The business plan fall apart.


The fact that the only new reactors are planned by non market economy countries. Business seems not to be interested in building new power plants without massive public subsidy. In the UK this means guaranteeing double the market price for the power supplied. You need very deep pockets to be engaged in the nuclear industry. Could it be that South Australia is in danger of exhausting itself financially and politically on going for the one big prise on the horizon that is actually a mirage when you get closer. We do have a history of doing that in the past. Would it not make better business sense to invest in renewables and ride that wave for the next 25 years or so, or is it that we can see what is right in front of us. We are already at 40% renewables, a manufacturing workforce itching for something to do and in need of greater independence in power supply.

I know that there are people who think about renewables like Bill Gates did in the early days of the internet when he said, “the internet was a novelty that would give way to something better”, though I do believe this sentiment does apply to the waste dump proposal. (BTW I don’t know if Bill likes renewables or what his attitude to Nuclear fuel is, just that people of high status can say some dumb things.)

Check out the outgoings references in this report:

I think you’ll find the financial analysis in the Royal Commission somewhat lacking.

September 30, 2016 Posted by | business, NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016, South Australia, wastes | 1 Comment

Australia’s super funds are backing exploration for fossil fuels

fossil-fuel-industryDigging Deeper: How energy company executives are remunerated to expand fossil fuel reserves, and how Australia’s major super funds support them, Market Forces 29 September 2016 Australian-listed fossil fuel companies are continuing to search for more unburnable carbon, with $12.69 billion spent on fossil fuel exploration by just fifteen companies since July 2012. Another $14.62 billion has been spent by just ten foreign companies on fossil fuel exploration in Australia between 2013-2015.

In many cases, exploration is encouraged through executive remuneration packages. Seven companies in the S&P ASX300 explicitly refer to reserve replacement or exploration targets in their executives’ bonus structures, as do six international companies with major Australian fossil fuel operations.

Senior executives at the seven Australian companies stand to make a combined $2.02 million in additional bonuses each year if their reserve targets are met.

Australia’s super funds are failing to effectively challenge this business model, despite their stated belief in engagement as a strategy for changing the behaviour of companies. In the last year, only three Australian energy companies incurred a significant vote against their remuneration packages, none of which were an explicit protest against reserves-based incentives.

Only eighteen of Australia’s 50 largest super funds disclose their complete proxy voting record, making it difficult to determine which funds are genuine ‘active owners.’ Our analysis of twelve funds’ voting records shows only three voted against any Australian-listed energy company’s remuneration package in the last year. Major funds including AustralianSuper, First State Super, MLC and ANZ OnePath supported the remuneration packages of every Australian energy company they held shares in.

Australia’s super funds must have effective engagement policies and practices, and demonstrate how these are being implemented to ensure companies they invest in are  compatible with a low carbon future. An obvious step to demonstrate alignment with the goals agreed to in Paris is for funds to reject fossil fuel exploration incentives.

September 30, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Business Investment in Renewable Energy hit by government cuts to Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

Turnbull destroys renewablesARENA Cuts Impact Renewable Energy Businesses logo-ARENA Business investment in Australia’s renewable energy sector will take a direct hit, with up to $5 billion of private funding at risk, as a result of the federal government’s decision to cut half a billion dollars from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.    Pro Bono, Wednesday, 21st September 2016 Ellie Cooper, Journalist Future Business Council executive director Tom Quinn said the government’s decision to cut funding to ARENA in the budget savings bill could have run-on effects on matched private-sector funding for renewable energy.

ARENA was saved from a worse fate, with the Coalition originally planning to strip $1.3 billion from the agency. Negotiations with the opposition secured $800 million in funding over the next five years.

But Quinn said the damage to the renewable energy sector would still be significant.

“The cuts to ARENA are shaking business confidence even further in the renewable energy space. This is a boom sector of this century, Australia’s got natural advantages in this space,” Quinn told Pro Bono Australia News.

“But the one thing holding back the industry is policy uncertainty created by hostile government actions.”

He said demand for renewable energy technology was “enormous”, with $329 billion invested globally in the sector last year.

But he said the role of ARENA was critical in launching renewable startups, growing viable businesses, and attracting local and international investment.

“If we’re talking about innovation in any new technology then early stage investment is critical, and that’s really where government comes in. Government has the ability to invest where the private sector can’t, and all too often that’s where Australia has let down its innovators and entrepreneurs,” he said.

“We haven’t got a good track record of backing early-stage innovation, and this is where ARENA was critical…….

September 23, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, energy, politics | Leave a comment

Finland companies keen to market their nuclear waste technology to South Australia

nuclear-marketing-crapFinland’s Onkalo nuclear waste disposal facility want to export the technology to South Australia, The Advertiser Daniel Wills, Helsinki, Finland, The Advertiser September 21, 2016 OPERATORS of the world’s most advanced nuclear disposal facility want to export the technology to South Australia and form an alliance to help the state develop its own commercial facility to take waste from around the world.

At a briefing with Premier Jay Weatherill at Finland’s Onkalo nuclear waste disposal facility, Posiva Solutions Oy managing director Mika Pohjonen said his company would be willing to licence intellectual property and engineering solutions to SA if it were to proceed with expanding the local nuclear industry.

Posiva is a joint venture owned by two of Finland’s biggest energy companies — Teollisuuden Voima Oyj and Fortum Power and Heat. It is set to become the first organisation in the world to bury a canister of spent nuclear fuel when they begin inserting them into the bedrock from 2020. Mr Pohjonen said SA could hope to move from site selection to burying canisters within about 15 years, less than half the time taken by Finland, because the Scandinavians had already undertaken the slow work of proving the technology………

The Onkalo disposal site is about 10 times smaller than that conceived by SA’s Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission.……

Mr Weatherill will by the end of the year declare a formal State Government position to Parliament on expansion of the industry………

“The next major step is a threshold question about whether we maintain our prohibition against a facility for spent fuel or whether we take a step to explore it further.”-  Mr Weatherill said ….

Weatherill nuclear dream


September 21, 2016 Posted by | marketing for nuclear, politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

Australian company exporting lithium

text-cat-questionWhy mine lithium?
Lithium is essential for wind turbines, as well as for so many 21st Century recycle-rare-earths-2technologies. However, it is another potentially toxic extractive industry. There’s so much of it dumped in discarded devices. Design should be the answer, so that lithium can be recycled.

MinRes beats Galaxy in lithium export race Jarrod Lucas – The West Australian on September 16, 2016  The first shipment of spodumene concentrate from the Mt Marion mine, 40km south-west of Kalgoorlie-Boulder, is set to depart Fremantle next month bound for lithium processing plants in China.

The product, the equivalent of about 6 per cent lithium, will be delivered to Mt Marion co-owners Ganfeng Lithium (43.1 per cent), which builds batteries out of Jiangxi province and recently branched out into manufacturing electric cars.

Mt Marion, jointly owned by Chris Ellison’s Mineral Resources (43.1 per cent), and Neometals (13.8 per cent), will beat Galaxy Resources to market after its first shipment via Esperance from the revamped Mt Cattlin mine near Ravensthorpe was delayed until December.

It comes as Mt Marion’s neighbours Maximus Resources yesterday trumpeted a “new lithium discovery” on the doorstep of the mine……..

September 16, 2016 Posted by | business, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Discord in nuclear submarine lobby

Businessmen lobby for nuclear subs, SEPTEMBER 13, 2016 Australian Associated Press A group of Australian businessmen is lobbying for Australia’s next fleet of submarines to be nuclear-powered and supplied by another country, warning the current deal to build the vessels in Australia will “condemn our sailors to their graves”.


The group says it can’t understand the federal government’s decision to award a multi-billion deal to French supplier DCNS, which will be required to deliver 12 diesel-powered submarines for which there are no drawings and no plans…….

The businessmen, including Dick Smith, Gary Johnston of Jaycar Electronics and ad man John Singleton took out a full-page advertisement in The Australian slamming the move to go with French producer DCNS, suggesting buying off-the-shelf nuclear subs would be a better option……

It also questioned the economics of the decision, saying it would be cheaper to subsidise car industry jobs, if creating jobs was the desired outcome.

Mr Johnston said DCNS was being asked to build a diesel-powered version of what is essentially a nuclear-powered sub.

  “It’s a bit like trying to turn a cat into a dog. It’s crazy. Why would you do it?” he told Sky News.

“They haven’t got a drawing, they haven’t got a plan. Their current nuclear submarine, the Barracuda, is sitting on a slipway…..

September 14, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, politics | Leave a comment

Banks ready to back big solar projects: renewable energy jobs on the rise

piggy-ban-renewablesgreen-collarBanks looking even closer at backing big solar projects: Clean Energy Council, Brisbane Times, Tony Moore , 8 Sept 16,  Australian banks will invest more heavily in solar energy projects within the next 12 months, Clean Energy Council chief executive Kane Thornton said after Thursday’s announcement that 12 new solar farms Australia-wide had been backed by $100 million from the federal government.

The federal government’s Australian Renewable Energy Agency on Thursday announced 12 large-scale solar projects – six in Queensland – had received federal support.

ARENA chief executive Ivor Frischknecht said improved efficiencies had meant solar energy producers were getting much more bang for their funding buck than they were even two years ago. “In 2014, the grant funding needed for large-scale solar projects was $1.60 a watt,” Mr Frischknecht said.”In 2015, this dropped to 43 cents at the EOI stage of ARENA’s $100 million large-scale solar funding round; and to an average of 28 cents in June 2016 when full applications were submitted,” he said.

“The average requirement of the projects we are taking forward today is an incredible 19 cents a watt.”

Mr Thornton said solar projects would soon begin to rely less on federal government for funding to begin operations. “We really at the threshold of saying that once we see another round of these of these projects  we are going to see the costs decline to the point when they are built on their own, without the government support,” he said. “I think it is months, if not maybe a year or so, before we can expect them to go ahead without further funding.”

Mr Thornton said banks were now closely examining the viability of investing more heavily in solar and renewable energy projects in Australia.

The first major investment in solar energy by Australian banks came in 2013 when NAB and ANZ invested in a 20 megawatt solar plant in Canberra. More investment in solar plants followed, while banks have questioned some large new coal projects……….

Mr Thornton said scale of new solar farm plants was lowering production costs to the point where it was “cost comparative’ with coal and gas.

Mr Thornton said it was now time to begin training workforces that worked in traditional energy supply companies to work in renewable energy.

September 10, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, employment, solar | Leave a comment

Australian govt’s cuts to clean energy will mean loss of many CSIRO jobs

Turnbull destroys renewables120 CSIRO jobs face the axe if clean energy cuts go through,  Noel Towell, 31 Aug 16 

More than 120 research jobs at the CSIRO face the axe if the Coalition’s proposed cuts to the clean energy research agency are approved by Parliament.

The threatened jobs come on top of scores of university science positions on the chopping block if the Australian Renewable Energy Agency is de-funded as part of the government’s “budget repair” omnibus bill currently before the Parliament.

The new threat to CSIRO research comes less than a month after Science Minister Greg Hunt instructed the organisation to renew its focus on climate science, claiming it would be a “bedrock function” of the agency’s activities.

Fairfax reported on Wednesday that Australia’s leading renewables researchers were warning the nation was heading towards the “clean energy valley of death” if the ARENA cuts are passed. Continue reading

September 2, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, employment, energy, politics | Leave a comment

Uranium miner ERA forced to slash its assets value

burial.uranium-industryEnergy Resources of Australia slashes asset values, The Age, Brian Robins 30 Aug 16  Uranium miner Energy Resources of Australia has been forced to slash the value of its assets by $161 million, almost equal to the company’s remaining sharemarket value.

With its controversial Ranger mine, which is surrounded by the Kakadu National Park, scheduled to close within five years, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) had questioned the way ERA valued its assets in its December 31, 2015 financial report.

The miner had now conceded that the value at which it carried the Ranger mine assets in its books “exceeded fair value”, ASIC said in a statement on Tuesday.

ERA pointed to weakness in the uranium oxide price at a time when the mine had only a five-year life left, without an extension of its authority to mine, as reasons for booking the impairment.

The write-down compares with ERA’s sharemarket worth of just $173 million, which signals deep-seated investor pessimism over its prospects in light of the traditional land owners’ opposition to extending the operation of the mine.

In the June half, ERA lost $35.2 million, which blew out to $196.5 million following the write-down. Revenue slipped to $170.5 million from $185.8 million due to the weak uranium price……..

ASIC had queried the company’s use of a single discount rate when valuing its assets. ERA has agreed to use different valuation techniques for the mining and rehabilitation of the site, for example.

ERA’s biggest single asset is its accumulated losses, which now total $822.8 million and tower over the value of its dwindling equity of $273.4 million.

August 31, 2016 Posted by | business, Northern Territory, uranium | Leave a comment

Community solar fund shares sold out in nine minutes!

solar-panels-and-money“Although this is only a particularly small project, what it is is it represents the first community solar lease product in Australia, it represents the first community solar cooperative fund and it represents the first crowdfunded equity community solar project,”

Community Solar Co-Op Shares Sells Out in Minutes Renewable energy organisation Pingala sold out of shares in nine minutes for its first community solar fund. Pingala partnered with the environmentally-conscious Young Henrys brewery in Newtown, Sydney to build a solar farm on its roof, which will save an estimated 127 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions a year.

The newly launched Pingala Cooperative, which sits alongside the Pingala Not for Profit, allows the organisation to raise funds from member investors to install solar panels on its partner businesses.

“We then lease the solar to the business, so they pay us a fee to be able to use the equipment as though it were their own, and through that we get a revenue stream that allows us to pay our costs and generate a small profit,” Pingala secretary Tom Nockolds told Pro Bono Australia News.

“So we’re offering our investors between 5 and 8 per cent… return on investment. But they’re investing in Pingala on an ongoing basis, so there’s no predetermined timeline for when investors get their money back, it’s totally up to the investors themselves to decide when they want to sell their shares, it’s much like buying shares in a company. Continue reading

August 24, 2016 Posted by | business, New South Wales, solar | 1 Comment

Nuclear waste plan for South Australia not economically viable? Global nuclear lobby doesn’t care

The global nuclear lobby surely does not care about whether or not the South Australian nuclear waste importing scheme is economically viable.

A commitment by an Australian State to take in nuclear waste could do the trick for them – as Oscar Archer put it – by unblocking the back end of the nuclear fuel cycle. The NFCRC plan also promises the chance of a market in Australia for the mini nuclear reactors.

toilet map South Australia 2

Mixed motives in South Australia’s nuclear waste import plan, Noel Wauchope, Online Opinion, 23 Aug 16In South Australia the continued nuclear push focusses solely on a nuclear waste importing industry. Yet that might not be economically viable. Behind the scenes, another agenda is being pursued – that of developing new generation nuclear reactors.

First, let’s look at the message. The message from the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission (NFCRC) is clearly a plan to make South Australia rich, by importing foreign nuclear wastes……This theme has been repeated ad nauseam by the NFCRC’s publicity, by politicians, and the mainstream media.…..

Meanwhile, the South Australian Parliament is holding a Committee Inquiry into the NFCRC’s recommendations. This Committee asked witnesses about various aspects of the plan. However, an intense focus in questioning Royal Commissioner Kevin Scarce, and Dr Tim Johnson from Jacob Engineering (financial reporter to the NFCRC) was directed at the economic question. It was clear that the politicians were concerned that there’s a possibility of the State spending a significant amount of money on the project, which might then not go ahead. And, indeed, Dr Johnson acknowledged that, financially,” there is a very significant risk”

Whereas other countries are compelled to develop nuclear waste facilities, to deal with their waste production from civil and military reactors,that is not a necessity for Australia, (with the exception of relatively tiny amounts derived from the Lucas Heights research reactor).

So, the only reason for South Australia to develop a massive nuclear waste management business is to make money.

If it’s not profitable, then it shouldn’t be done.

Or so it would seem.

There is another, quieter, message. When you read the Royal Commission’s reports, you find that, while the major aim is for a nuclear waste business, in fact, the door is kept open for other parts of the nuclear fuel chain…….

The clearest explanation of this came early in 2015, just as the NFCRC was starting, in an ABC Radio National talk by Oscar Archer…….

Archer’s plan is significant because it illustrates a very important point about South Australia’s nuclear waste plan – IT SOLVES A GLOBAL NUCLEAR INDUSTRY PROBLEM. Both in ‘already nuclear’ countries, especially America, and in the so far non nuclear counties, such as in South Asia, the nuclear industry is stalled because of its nuclear waste problem. In America, the “new small nuclear”, such as the PRISM, technologies (Power Reactor Innnovative Small Module) cannot even be tested, without a definite waste disposal solution. But, if South Australia provided not only the solution, but also the first setting up of new small reactors, that would give the industry the necessary boost……..

Once Australia has set up a nuclear waste importing industry, the nuclear reactor salesmen of USA, Canada, South Korea, will have an excellent marketing pitch for South Asia, as the nuclear waste problem has been removed from their shores.. And South Asia is exactly the market that the NCRC has in its sights. The NFCRC eliminated most of the EU, Russia, China, North America as customers. This was explained by Dr Tim Jacobs, of Jacobs Engineering, (financial reporters to the NFCRC), at the recent hearing of the South Australian Parliamentary Joint Committee on Findings of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission ………

South Australia’s government is influenced by a strong nuclear lobby push and the Royal Commission advocacy for solving that State’s present financial problems by a futuristic nuclear waste repository bonanza scheme…….

The global nuclear lobby surely does not care about whether or not the South Australian nuclear waste importing scheme is economically viable. Their fairly desperate need is to sell nuclear reactors to those countries that don’t already have them. In particular, the ‘small nuclear” lobby sees an urgency now, with ‘big nuclear’ failing, to get their industry happening.

A commitment by an Australian State to take in nuclear waste could do the trick for them – as Oscar Archer put it – by unblocking the back end of the nuclear fuel cycle. The NFCRC plan also promises the chance of a market in Australia for the mini nuclear reactors.

August 23, 2016 Posted by | business, NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment