Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

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

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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

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