Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

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.

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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

Carmichael mine in Queensland no longer a viable proposition

Adani losses prompt mining company to shift away from imported coal, Guardian,  Ben Smee , 7 May 18,  Results show Carmichael mine in Queensland no longer a viable proposition, analysts say 

Adani’s coal-fired power business has reported more heavy losses, prompting the Indian conglomerate to announce it would shift away from using expensive imported coal.

Analysts say the fourth-quarter financial results for Adani Power, a subsidiary of the Adani group, showed the proposed Carmichael mega-mine in Queensland was no longer a viable proposition.

Remarkably in the context of the Carmichael project, the billionaire Adani Groupboss, Gautam Adani, acknowledged in a statement that the cost of importing coal to India had contributed to Adani Power’s struggles.

“We expect to receive [domestic coal] for the Tiroda and Kawai plants in the near future, which will help reduce fuel costs and improve profitability of these projects,” he said.

“Under-recovery of fuel costs for Mundra project have impacted its financial viability, and we are in dialogue with key stakeholders for an early solution.”

When the Carmichael coal project was first proposed, Adani was pushing a “pit to plug” operational model under which it would mine coal to use at its own generators, making profits through efficiencies and cutting out middlemen.

The Mundra power plant, which operates on imported coal, was the planned destination for the spoils from the Carmichael project. After Mundra fell into financial trouble, Adani attempted unsuccessfully to sell the plant. It has not operated since February.

The Indian financial services company Edelweiss said Adani Power was “on thin ice” and doubted whether Mundra would reopen………https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/may/07/adani-coal-losses-prompt-mining-company-to-shift-from-imported-coal

May 9, 2018 Posted by | business, climate change - global warming, Queensland | Leave a comment

BHP, Heathgate, and Turnbull government keen to sell uranium to India

Boost to nuclear-power: Two Australian firms in talks to export uranium to India, The Indian Express,  by Anil Sasi | New Delhi   May 2, 2018 

Two Australian companies BHP Billiton, the world’s biggest mining company, and Heathgate Resources, an affiliate of US company General Atomics, are in discussions with the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) for exporting uranium to India.

A sales contract for enabling the transfer, which is part of the ongoing commercial negotiations between Australian uranium vendors and India’s DAE on fuel contracts for civil nuclear-power generation, is currently under discussion, officials indicated…..

A steady supply of uranium is good news for the country’s nuclear power sector, something that is expected to boost the performance of Indian nuclear power plants, as well as of several fuel cycle facilities.

Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott had signed an agreement with Prime Minister Narendra Modi for civil nuclear cooperation in September 2014, clearing the way for uranium sales. Australia’s current PM, Malcolm Turnbull, had said in April last year that he was looking forward to exporting uranium to India “as soon as possible” after holding talks with the Indian PM. Ongoing discussions with Melbourne-based BHP and Adelaide-based Heathgate Resources are aimed at formalising commercial contracts to enable uranium shipments to India. …….http://indianexpress.com/article/india/boost-to-nuclear-power-two-australian-firms-in-talks-to-export-uranium-to-india-5159318/

 

May 5, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, politics international, uranium | 3 Comments

Renewable energy jobs up by a third – Australian Bureau of Statistics

27 Apr 18, The number of jobs in Australia related to renewable energy production grew by one-third in 2016-17 to 14,820 full-time equivalent (FTE) positions, according to data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

ABS Director of Environment and Agriculture Statistics, Lauren Binns, said the 33 per cent increase on the previous year was mainly due to a number of major wind and solar energy projects starting their construction phase.

“The increase in employment in 2016-17 was driven primarily by three states, Queensland, New South Wales, and South Australia ” said Ms Binns.

Queensland had the largest increase in renewable energy employment, gaining an extra 1,220 FTE jobs, as a result of construction of large scale solar farms.

New South Wales and South Australia, on the other hand, realised most of their increases from new wind farm construction.

“In recent years, Australia has experienced growth in the amount of energy derived from renewable sources. While the proportion of energy from renewable sources remains relatively small there is considerable interest in renewable energy activities and associated employment,” said Ms Binns.

While roof top solar employment accounts for nearly half of the renewable energy jobs, the numbers have declined substantially over time, from a peak of 14,300 in 2011-12 to 6,430 in 2016-17.

The ABS publication, Employment in Renewable Energy Activities, Australia, provides experimental estimates of the levels of employment in renewable energy by state and territory, and by types of renewable energy activities. 
The scope of employment estimates in this publication is employment in activities principally motivated by the production of renewable energy, and/or by the design, construction and/or operation and maintenance of renewable energy infrastructure.

Further details can be found in Employment in Renewable Energy Activities, 2016-17 (cat. no. 4631.0), available for free download from the ABS website www.abs.gov.au    http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/latestProducts/4631.0Media%20Release12016-17?OpenDocument

May 2, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, employment, energy | Leave a comment

Australia’s first lithium battery recycling plant established in Gisborne, Victoria

Australia’s first lithium battery recycling plant launched https://reneweconomy.com.au/australias-first-lithium-battery-recycling-plant-launched-19366/, By Sophie Vorrath on 27 April 2018 

April 27, 2018 Posted by | business, rare earths, Victoria | Leave a comment

Uranium slump looks like being permanent

Perhaps a uranium price increase is on the way but it will do little to salvage Australia’s uranium industry. Apart from BHP’s Olympic Dam mine in SA, the only other operating uranium mine in Australia is Beverley Four Mile in SA. At Ranger in the NT, mining has ceased, stockpiles of ore are being processed, and ERA is planning a $500 million project to decommission and rehabilitate the mine site.

And with the cost of a single power reactor climbing to as much as $20 billion, proposals to introduce nuclear power to Australia seem more and more quixotic and are now largely limited to the far right ‒ in particular, Australians Conservatives’ luminary Senator Cory Bernardi and the Minerals Council of Australia.

Even Dr Ziggy Switkowski ‒ who used to be nuclear power’s head cheerleader in Australia and was appointed to lead the Howard government’s review of nuclear power ‒ recently said that “the window for gigawatt-scale nuclear has closed”. He said nuclear power is no longer cheaper than renewables and the levelised cost of electricity is rapidly diverging in favour of renewables.

Countless would-be uranium mining companies have given up, some trying their luck in other areas such as property development or growing dope. Some mines have closed, others have been put into care-and-maintenance, and others have reduced output. But supply has continued to exceed demand ‒ and to exert downward pressure on prices.

Uranium industry slumps, nuclear power dead in the waterChain Reaction magazine, Dr Jim Green, April 2018

Very few mines could operate at a profit at current prices. Some mines are profitable because earlier contracts stipulated higher prices, while many mines are operating at a loss. Many companies have been loathe to close operating mines, or to put them into care-and-maintenance, even if the only other option is operating at a loss. They have been playing chicken, hoping that other companies and mines will fold first and that the resultant loss of production will drive up prices. “We have to recognise that we over-produce, and we are responsible for this fall in the price,” said Areva executive Jacques Peythieu in April 2017.

Current prices would need to more than double to encourage new mines ‒ a long-term contract price of about US$70–$80 is typically cited as being required to encourage the development of new mines.

The patterns outlined above were repeated in 2017. It was another miserable year for the uranium industry. A great year for those of us living in uranium producing countries who don’t want to see new mines open and who look forward to the closure of existing mines. And a great year for the nuclear power industry ‒ in the narrow sense that the plentiful availability of cheap uranium allows the industry to focus on other problems.

Cut-backs announced  Continue reading

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

Paladin may shut loss-making Langer Heinrich uranium mine 

Paladin Energy has flagged the potential closure of its flagship Langer Heinrich uranium mine, just two months after it returned to the Australian Stock Exchange after an $800 million debt re­structuring. … (subscribers only)
https://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/mining-energy/paladin-may-shut-lossmaking-langer-heinrich-uranium-mine/news-story/53c1dda5b5b01ff36771af7b683aaafc

April 26, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, uranium | Leave a comment

South Australian clean energy businesses launch power-trading platform using blockchain

Business News 23rd March 2018, A group of small and medium-size South Australian businesses plan to launch a first-of-its-kind power trading platform using blockchain technology in an attempt to save money and buy and sell local clean energy.

Blockchain-based microgrid developer LO3 Energy, of New York, is working on the project with solar and electrical firm Yates Electrical Services, of Paringa, South Australia, a region known for its vineyards, almond and fruit orchards — and incredibly high electricity prices.

The blockchain, perhaps best known as the technology behind the digital currencies Bitcoin
and Etherium, is a decentralized ledger that enables and tracks all transactions across a peer-to-peer network. The technology uses encryption to ensure that transactions and data are secure, and provides verification and validation to users.
https://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3029020/south-australian-businesses-launch-blockchain-app-to-cut-costs-trade-local-clean-energy

March 23, 2018 Posted by | business, energy, South Australia | Leave a comment

Bad news for Australia’s uranium industry – India aims to stop importing uranium

World Nuclear News 8th March 2018, India is planning a tenfold increase in uranium production over the next 15 years, Minister of State Jitendra Singh told the country’s parliament
yesterday. State company Uranium Corporation of India Ltd (UCIL) has
outlined expansion plans to meet the Department of Atomic Energy’s (DAE)
vision of achieving self-sufficiency in uranium production.
http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/UF-India-plans-tenfold-uranium-output-growth-0803187.html

March 9, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business | Leave a comment

A renewable energy jobs boom is sweeping across regional Australia

Renewable energy: powering Australia in more ways than one http://www.examiner.com.au/story/5229330/renewable-energy-is-powering-jobs-in-the-regions/?cs=97 James Wright  18 Feb 18  A jobs boom is sweeping across regional Australia and there’s one industry to thank – the renewable energy sector. From places like Gordon in southern Tasmania to Pindari in north-east NSW, new solar installations, windfarms, battery arrays, solar towers and pumped hydro facilities are springing life into regional towns. How are they doing this? By injecting desperately needed investment and job opportunities into remote locations.

February 18, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, employment, energy | Leave a comment

Australia’s new weapons export industry – secret men’s business

Secret men’s business of the arms industry needs exposure The Age, Stephanie Dowrick, 5 Feb 18,   “…….. I woke to the news that the federal government had decided to unveil a new “defence export strategy” to propel Australia into the big league of global weapons exporters.

Then, in the wake of that news – which has left many speechless, even despairing – comes a newer announcement of a $3.8bn boost to the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation. This is a taxpayer-funded “national interest” loan facility that previously supported the exporting of wine and other relatively harmless products but is now set, with a massive boost to its funds, to finance loans to some of the world’s largest arms manufacturers. What’s more, those loans do not need to pass any test of “social risk evaluation” – a nod to caring for others – but can be approved at the discretion of Trade Minister Steve Ciobo.

Oddly enough, on the Blue Mountains drive my friend and I had discussed the weapons industries and the influence they have on the global economy. Their power to affect, even to drive governments’ policies, is immense. It is also profoundly undemocratic. Governments keep a tight grip on media revelations. The weapons world is “secret men’s business” from which the public is definitely shut out. My best sleuthing efforts came nowhere near discovering what this industry is really worth or who profits most.

 What we can know is that these industries – and the governments that applaud them – depend on actual and perceived enemies, a fairly hysterical narrative of “terror” and a disturbing acceptance of the inevitability of armed conflict and war. We can also know that the No.1 exporter of major arms is the USA, followed by Russia. It was easy, too, to discover that between 2001 and 2014, reported global military expenditure rose from US$1.14 trillion to US$1.711 trillion. In a world ruled by greed and highly vulnerable to corruption, what chance does peace have?

“This strategy is about job creation,” Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull assures us. His colleague Christopher Pyne, the Minister for Defence Industry in a cabinet lacking a minister for science, is already presiding over a submarine project set to cost us $50 billion. Pyne is promising “tens of thousands” of jobs could be involved in this weapons’ push. But the issue here is surely far less about job creation than it is about which industries the government, on our behalf, wishes to support. These opinions, these ideological choices determine where we are heading as a nation. This is where a government has huge power. It’s also where it most accurately reveals itself. ……

If “job creation” truly is our government’s motive, then let them choose honestly. The weapons industries lack accountability, transparency, moral and social value. They thrive in the presence or expectation of deadly conflict. Their cost to the world’s physical and social environments is incalculable.

There are many sectors in Australia and globally that produce jobs and social benefits. With generous investment, they could produce more. In land and agricultural regeneration alone, as well as high-tech research and manufacturing, in renewable energy, the arts, community development, health and education, defence-sized investment would undoubtedly pay employment dividends – while simultaneously boosting our social and moral wellbeing. These are choices that have profound consequences. They could make the world safer. Or not.  Reverend Dr Stephanie Dowrick is a writer and social commentator www.stephaniedowrick.com   www.facebook.com/StephanieDowrick http://www.theage.com.au/comment/secret-mens-business-of-the-arms-industry-needs-exposure-20180202-h0spx3.html

February 5, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, spinbuster, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Australian uranium mining company Paladin: most shares in hands of creditors

Paladin to return to ASX, most shares in hands of creditors http://www.miningweekly.com/article/paladin-to-return-to-asx-most-shares-in-hands-of-creditors-2018-02-02/rep_id:3650 2ND FEBRUARY 2018 BY: MARIAAN WEBB CREAMER MEDIA SENIOR RESEARCHER AND DEPUTY EDITOR ONLINE JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Uranium miner Paladin Energy will apply for its securities to be reinstated to official quotation on the ASX, the Australia-based company said on Friday, announcing the completion of its restructuring and the appointment of two new directors.

With the deed of company arrangement (DOCA) effected, deed administrators have retired and the day-to-day management and control of Paladin has reverted to the company’s directors. The two new board appointments are iCobalt MD David Riekie and former interim CEO and MD of Atlas Iron Daniel Harris.

The DOCA was put forward to the administrators of Paladinby a group of the company’s unsecured bondholders, known as the Ad Hoc Committee. The DOCA’s key terms included the debt-for-equity swap, the raising of $115-million pursuant to the issue of a high-yield secured note and the reinstatement of Paladin to trade on the ASX.

In terms of the DOCA, 98% of Paladin’s shares have been transferred to creditors and other investors and only 2% are retained by shareholders. If a shareholder held 10 000 Paladin shares before the restructuring, they will now hold 200 shares.

Creditors all agreed to a restructuring proposal in December, although major creditor Electricité de France (EDF) previously said that it may seek to have the DOCA terminated.

Paladin appointed administrators in July last year after the company was unable to agree a delay to the repayment of $277-million it owed EDF.

On Wednesday, Paladin published its quarterly activities reports for the June, September and December quarters, as well as its June 2017 annual report.

The most recent quarter’s results show that the Langer Heinrich mine, in Namibia, produced 873 107 lb of uranium oxide (U3O8), up 4% on the prior quarter. Sales were at 1.24-million U3O8 at an average selling price of $22.39/lb.

The Kayelekera mine, in Malawi, remains under care and maintenance

February 5, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, uranium | Leave a comment