Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

New South Wales Productivity Commission slammed for recommending nuclear power while ignoring offshore wind,

NSW Productivity Commission slammed for recommending nuclear power while ignoring offshore wind,  https://www.miragenews.com/nsw-productivity-commission-slammed-for-571554/
Maritime Union of Australia

The NSW Productivity Commission is under fire for recommending the NSW Government lift the state’s ban on nuclear power while ignoring proven, lower-cost renewable energy sources such as offshore wind.

Among 60 recommendations aimed at driving productivity and economic growth, the NSW Productivity Commission White Paper released this week proposed the ban on nuclear generation be lifted for small modular reactors.The same report made no mention of offshore wind generation, despite the proven technology producing a growing share of electricity around the world and several major proposals awaiting approval off the NSW coast.

This is despite the CSIRO’s most recent report on electricity generation costs showing that SMR nuclear reactors cost approximately $16,000 per kilowatt, nearly three times offshore wind. Recent UK analysis has found the cost of developing offshore wind is even lower.

The Maritime Union of Australia said it was staggering that the NSW Productivity Commission would recommend resources be thrown into small modular nuclear reactors — a technology that doesn’t yet exist — instead of cheaper, cleaner, proven technologies like offshore wind.“It is unbelievable that the NSW Productivity Commission would propose a major regulatory overhaul for a theoretical technology that doesn’t operate anywhere on earth, yet not even mention one of the fastest growing forms of energy generation,” MUA Deputy National Secretary Warren Smith said.

Rather than waste years debating a theoretical technology, which will come with huge costs and substantial safety concerns, the NSW Government should be getting on with supporting the development of reliable, cheap, and plentiful offshore wind resources.“The NSW Productivity Commission’s focus on an industry that doesn’t even exist, while ignoring a proven technology that can deliver power and jobs for NSW right now, shows an ideological pro-nuclear agenda has been put ahead of the state’s economic interests.“Small nuclear reactors have been promised for half a century, but as yet not one exists. Most countries with nuclear power are moving away from the technology, with new reactors running hugely over budget, requiring massive taxpayer subsidies, and locking in higher power prices for consumers.“In contrast, offshore wind technology continues to mature, delivering massive growth at ever-lower prices.

“Australia has the advantage of long coastlines close to population centres, along with highly skilled seafarers and offshore oil and gas workers who could be utilised to construct local wind projects.“The development of an offshore wind industry would also provide an opportunity to transition highly-skilled workers from fossil fuel industries into a clean, green alternative.“With the urgent need to reduce carbon emissions to address global heating, it’s absurd that the NSW Productivity Commission would suggest sitting on our hands for a decade in the hope a theoretical technology will magically fix the problem when we already have solutions available.“NSW has an opportunity to become a major exporter of clean, renewable energy, securing our economy for the future, but only if the Berejiklian Government takes immediate steps to support proven technologies.”

June 5, 2021 Posted by | business, energy, New South Wales, technology | Leave a comment

Small nuclear reactors for New South Wales ? – dirty, dangerous, and uneconomic

Expensive and dangerous: Nuclear doesn’t stack up https://www.miragenews.com/expensive-and-dangerous-nuclear-doesnt-stack-up-570069/m  Electrical Trades Union

Lifting the ban on nuclear power generation in NSW using unproven small-scale reactors will only push up power bills, damage the environment and compromise safety, according to the Electrical Trades Union.

ETU National and NSW Secretary, Allen Hicks, said nuclear power would be hugely expensive compared to renewable energy, and that small nuclear reactors were still a pipe dream.

The recommendation around small scale reactors is one of 60 contained in the NSW Productivity Commission’s White Paper, which is supposedly designed to reboot the state’s economy.

“The Productivity Commission has lost the plot if it thinks small modular reactors, a technology that has been ‘just around the corner’ since the 1970’s but still doesn’t exist, is the answer to NSW’s productivity growth,” Allen Hicks said.

“Even if someone finally manages to build one that works, the electricity price forecast for their output is six times more expensive than renewables.

“Why does the Productivity Commission want NSW residents paying six times more for their electricity?”

“There are massive offshore wind projects waiting for federal approval off the NSW coast near Newcastle, Wollongong and Eden. Rather than pie-in-the sky nuclear nonsense we should get on with approving this clean energy and getting it into out grid.

The commission says lifting the ban would provide another source of firming capacity in the grid. But its own report admits “a wide degree of uncertainty” about small-scale nuclear reactors, mainly due to cost.

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the government “will consider everything” in the report.

But Mr Hicks said the State Government must hit the stop button on nuclear power, as the business model for a dirty and dangerous technology did not stack up.

“Even if they improve the technology, a small modular reactor would take far too long to build, and we don’t have time to waste in the fight against climate change,” Mr Hicks said.

“Globally, most countries are moving away from nuclear power. Few new reactors are being built and nuclear companies are going bankrupt or facing financial distress.

Mr Hicks said the government should instead continue to focus on renewable energy.

“With a bit of foresight, some investment and some big thinkers, Australia is uniquely positioned in the world to become a renewable energy leader.

“Boosting the economy, providing more jobs, and dealing with climate change are big problems, but nuclear power is not the answer.”

June 3, 2021 Posted by | business, New South Wales, technology | Leave a comment

Mulga Rock Uranium Project – VIMY’S MINE – UNWANTED AND UNECONOMIC

VIMY’S MINE – UNWANTED AND UNECONOMIC, https://www.ccwa.org.au/vimy_s_mine_unwanted?utm_campaign=nuclear_news164&utm_medium=email&utm_source=ccwa By Mia Pepper
Deputy Chair of the Mineral Policy Institute.   BY KIM SMITH  JUNE 02, 2021

Vimy Resources (aka Narnoo Mining) advertisement in Saturdays Kalgoorlie Miner is part of an extended last-ditch attempt to start a mine that is unwanted, uneconomic, does not have full and final approval or the financing needed to start mining.

Saturday’s ad suggests that Vimy will begin work at the site in Q4 2021. There are several critical elements for mining to commence that are not yet in place and are unlikely to be resolved by Q4 2021. The companies Mine Closure Plan and Mine Plan are not yet approved by the Department of Mines and previous attempts to have these plans approved have failed. There are also Works Approvals, export and other licenses and permits that are still required. The company does not have an Indigenous Land Use Agreement with the Upurli Upurli Nguratja Native Title claimant group – pre-empting mining without an ILUA drastically impacts that groups ability to negotiate or determine what should or shouldn’t happen on their country. 

Perhaps the clearest pre-requisite to begin mining is a company’s Final Investment Decision and the finances to cover the capital costs. Without the ability to fund the project and meet the requirements of mining any ground-disturbing activities are pre-emptive and irresponsible. The capital cost for the Mulga Rock project is $493 million. Vimy’s March quarterly report shows Vimy raised over $18 million, since then they have raised a further $9 million. $27 million is a far cry from the $493 million needed to meet full capital costs. But it is enough to do some serious damage in the Yellow Sandplain Priority Ecological Community in the Great Victoria Desert, home to the endangered Sandhill Dunnart and other important vulnerable, migratory and priority species of flora and fauna. The company’s share value is down 97% since their inception in 2008 and has a long way to go to secure finance for a project that is just not economic. Until the company can demonstrate they have the capital funds to get the project off the ground they should not be allowed to embark on pre-emptive ground-disturbing activities.

One thing more dangerous than a uranium mine is an uneconomic uranium mine and ideologically driven company. Despite the lack of funding, final licenses and permits, an ILUA, social license and bipartisan support Vimy’s Mulga Rock project still presents a very real threat to the environment and the WA taxpayer. The WA government should make decisions based on evidence, not enthusiasm and should not facilitate this poorly considered project.

June 3, 2021 Posted by | business, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Australia/UK Free Trade Agreement will give corporations the right to sue governments.

Australia/UK Free Trade Agreement: What’s the Scam? https://www.michaelwest.com.au/australia-uk-free-trade-agreement-whats-the-scam/

by Michael West | May 31, 2021 The British Trade Minister has confirmed that corporations are likely to have the right to sue the Australian and UK governments if governments make laws which hit their profits. What’s the scam?

ISDS is the scam; Investor-State Dispute Settlement that is, clauses buried in “Free Trade” agreements, such as this one, which allow corporations to sue governments in obscure foreign tribunals. Australia’s most celebrated ISDS case was brought by tobacco giant Phillip Morris which sued Australia in Hong Kong when Australia introduced its wonderfully successful plain packaging laws.

“There are now over 1,000 known ISDS cases, with increasing numbers against health and environment laws, including laws to address climate change,” says Patricia Ranald convenor of the Australian Fair Trade & Investment Network (AFTINET).

“ISDS would give UK corporations the right to sue Australia over democratic legal changes in Australia. For example, British aged care company BUPA could claim compensation if the government follows the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety and regulates for improved staffing levels and quality of care.”

Just another chapter in the saga of rising corporate power over democracy.

June 1, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, politics international, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

U.S. Energy Information reports uranium at lowest price since 2007

Uranium Week: Struggling With Low Prices

FN Arena    Weekly Reports By Mark Woodruff May 25 2021, As the uranium spot price rose 2% for the week and 9% for the month, an EIA report revealed the lowest price paid since 2007 by owners and operators of US commercial nuclear plants

The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) released both its 2020 US Uranium Marketing Annual Report and its 2020 Domestic Uranium Production Report last week. 

Despite covid roiling energy markets during 2020, the reports pointed to nuclear energy being a fundamental source of base load electricity generation (20%) with capacity factors steady at 94%, explains Canaccord Genuity. The broker believes coverage of future demand will continue to provide an impetus for a more active term market over 2021.

The EIA is responsible for collecting, analysing and disseminating energy information to inform policy making and efficient markets. It also adds to the public understanding of energy and its interaction with the economy and the environment.

The released reports in 2020 quantify developments in the US uranium industry, including decreased inventories, explains industry consultant TradeTech. They also showed an elevated aggregated contractual coverage rate among owners and operators of US civilian nuclear power reactors. Additionally, lower weighted average uranium prices and historically low uranium production were reported.

The Uranium Marketing Annual Report showed owners and operators of US commercial nuclear plants in 2020 purchased nearly 49mlbs uranium from US and foreign suppliers. These were transacted at a weighted-average price of US$33.27/lb, which represents a 1% increase in volume and a -7% decline in price compared to 2019 data. The weighted average price is the lowest price paid by owners and operators of US civilian power reactors since 2007.

Of the US deliveries, 76% were through longer-term contracts, averaging US$34.74/lb. As Canaccord notes, it’s always darkest before the dawn, with pricing failing to represent the marginal cost of production let alone the incentivisation price for restarts or new developments.

During 2020, 11.7mlbs or 24% of sales were on a spot basis, up from 10.5mlbs in 2019 and the highest since 2014. This illustrates that long-term contracts signed post-Fukushima (2011-2015) are starting to expire, explains Canaccord.

The report showed Australian and Canadian-origin uranium combined accounted for 42% of reported volumes by country of origin. Uranium purchased by owners and operators of US civilian power reactors from Russia again was the lowest weighted average price paid at US$25.73/lb, while purchases from Australia occupied the highest cost position at US$39.86/lb.;;;;;;;;;;;;;; https://www.fnarena.com/index.php/2021/05/25/uranium-week-struggling-with-low-prices/

May 27, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, uranium | Leave a comment

Australia’s mining lobby exaggerates by $45 billion the taxes and royalties they pay

Mining lobby exaggerates taxes and royalties paid by $45 billion, Michaelo West Media, by Callum Foote | May 21, 2021,

The mining industry has exaggerated its contribution in taxes and royalties to Australian governments by an estimated $45 billion over the past 10 years. Callum Foote reports on the findings of an independent research project by Michael West Media.

The mining lobby and its “independent experts” from Deloitte Access Economics have routinely overcooked the contribution that mining companies make to Australia.

Michael West Media was commissioned to undertake an investigation into Australia’s mining royalty regime by the Neroli Colvin Foundation.

The report, A Fair Share?, found the mining lobby exaggerated by 19% its contribution to Australian government revenues through royalties and taxes for the period where government data has been made available, or an estimated $45 billion over the past decade.

The mining industry sold $2.1 trillion worth of Australian resources overseas in the past decade but Australian governments received less than a 10% return. The actual rate – 9.1% – covers royalty payments and taxes paid. If we consider only royalties, then the rate drops to 5.6% of the value of exported resources.

The mining industry regularly combines royalties and taxes but this is misleading when talking about its contribution to Australia.

Less than 10% of $2.1 trillion worth of Australian resources is perhaps not the “staggering” contribution as described by Resources Minister Keith Pitt earlier this week on the release of the latest Minerals Council report.

This is particularly the case given that the large mining houses are owned by foreign shareholders, so are the largest beneficiaries of Australia’s mineral wealth.

Michael West Media has found that, on average, mining companies make a 1654% revenue mark-up on Australian commodities………..

In Australia, all mineral commodities below the earth are owned by the Australian people. It is up to State and Federal governments to sell these commodities to mining companies that wish to extract and process them for selling. In accounting terms, royalties are deemed to be a “cost of goods sold”.

Just as a baker must buy raw flour from a mill and process it into bread to sell, royalties are the payment made by miners to the Australian people for the raw commodities that they then sell internationally.

Deloitte’s most recent report is more accurate than previous estimates of mining taxes and royalty payments. Michael West Media had contacted the firm for comment before it published this report because it was found that royalty and taxation figures were previously exaggerated by 33%, or $78 billion, for the period between 2010 and 2017………

The total export value of Australian commodities over the period, which is indicative of the revenue these companies have made from selling Australian resources overseas, is $2.1 trillion. This means that only 9.1% of the export revenue made by these companies has been paid to state and federal governments. ……………. https://www.michaelwest.com.au/mining-lobby-exaggerates-taxes-and-royalties-paid-45-billion/

May 22, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, politics | Leave a comment

Chinese-Australian uranium and rare earths mining company meets political opposition in Greenland

Left-wing party opposed to rare earth mining project wins Greenland election,  A left-wing environmentalist party opposed to a controversial mining project won a clear victory in Greenland’s parliamentary election, according to results released Wednesday. https://www.france24.com/en/europe/20210407-left-wing-party-opposed-to-rare-earth-mining-project-wins-greenland-election 7 Apr 21,

With 36.6 percent of the vote, Inuit Ataqatigiit (IA) was ahead of Siumut, a social democratic party that has dominated politics in the Danish territory since it gained autonomy in 1979.

“Thank you to the people who trusted us to work with the people in the centre for the next four years,” IA leader Mute Egede said on KNR public television after the results were announced.

IA, which was previously in opposition, is expected to grab 12 out of the 31 seats in the Inatsisartut, the local parliament, up from eight currently.

But without an absolute majority, the most likely scenario is that IA joins forces with smaller parties to form a coalition.   Siumut, which headed the outgoing government, was partly weakened by internal struggles. It gained 29.4 percent of the vote, still two percentage points higher than its results in the 2018 election.

The dividing line between the two parties was whether to authorise a controversial giant rare earth and uranium mining project, which is currently the subject of public hearings.

The Kuannersuit deposit, in the island’s south, is considered one of the world’s richest in uranium and rare earth minerals — a group of 17 metals used as components in everything from smartphones to electric cars and weapons.

IA has called for a moratorium on uranium mining, which would effectively put a halt to the project.

Divisions over Kuannersuit originally triggered the snap election in the territory after one of the smaller parties left the ruling Siumut coalition.

Opponents say the project, led by the Chinese-owned Australian group Greenland Minerals, has too many environmental risks, including radioactive waste.

Egede told KNR he would immediately start discussions to “explore different forms of cooperation” before forming a coalition government.

The 34-year-old, who has been a member of the Inatsisartut since 2015, took over the reins of the left-green party a little over two years ago.

April 8, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, politics international, rare earths, uranium | Leave a comment

Australian company Silex with Canadian company Cameco buys out GE-Hitachi Global Laser Enrichment LLC (GLE)

January 21, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business | Leave a comment

Australia’s environmental scientists intimidated, silenced by threats of job loss

 

January 17, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, culture, Education, employment, politics, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Can a new mine save BHP’s loss-making Olympic Dam? 

Can a new mine save BHP’s loss-making Olympic Dam?  Peter Ker,Resources reporter
Nov 18, 2020 – There’s a school of thought at BHP that the best way to fix its loss-making Olympic Dam mine is with a bulldozer.

By demolishing the old smelter, refinery, acid plant and other surface infrastructure that so often cause the inconsistency at the mine, advocates say BHP could start again by spending a few billion dollars on world-class infrastructure to allow it to capitalise on Olympic Dam’s extraordinarily large copper, gold, silver and uranium resource….(Subscribers only)…. https://www.afr.com/companies/mining/can-a-new-mine-save-bhp-s-loss-making-olympic-dam-20201026-p568sn

November 19, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, uranium | Leave a comment

Superannuation funds are leaving investments on nuclear weapons

November 2, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, weapons and war | Leave a comment

$3 trillion and 880,000 jobs to be lost, if Australia continues inaction on climate change

November 2, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, employment, politics | Leave a comment

Uranium: the mineral that never made sense now doesn’t even make dollars

Uranium: the mineral that never made sense now doesn’t even make dollars, 20 Oct 20,  News that BHP, the world’s biggest mining company, will not continue with the long planned multi-billion dollar expansion of its Olympic Dam uranium and copper project shows the clock is ticking on uranium, the Australian Conservation Foundation said today.

The planned expansion of the mine in northern South Australia enjoyed strong state and federal government support and was on Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s recent list of major projects to be fast-tracked.

“This move is further evidence of the deep market malaise surrounding uranium operations,” said Australian Conservation Foundation campaigner Dave Sweeney.

“Today’s announcement shows that political access, spin and favours cannot change the realities of an ore body or the global commodity market.

“BHP has made a basic, hard-headed business decision not to proceed with this project.

“The global uranium price has been hammered since the Fukushima nuclear disaster and it is unlikely to improve. The sector has scant social license and is increasingly embattled.

“Today’s decision by BHP, coupled with Rio Tinto’s exit from operations at the Ranger mine in Kakadu, shows the clock is ticking on uranium, the asbestos of the 21st Century.

“South Australia’s energy, employment and economic options should not be tied to a continued dependence on high impact, low certainty resource projects.

“South Australia is well placed to lead the nation in renewable energy tools, technology and thinking.

“This decision may be the pivot needed to shift to a secure, sustainable contemporary economy.”

For context or comment contact Dave Sweeney on 0408 317 812

October 20, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, uranium | Leave a comment

BHP dumps its plan to expand Olympic Dam uranium mine

BHP shelves $3.7bn expansion plan for Olympic Dam mine in SA for a second time
BHP has shelved a plan to spend $3.7 billion expanding the Olympic Dam copper and uranium mine – just months after the colossal project was put on a Federal Government fast-track.    Cameron England, Business Editor, The Advertiser, 19 Oct 20, 

BHP’s $3.7 billion expansion plans for the Olympic Dam mine have been abandoned.

The company had been looking at a Brownfields Expansion Project (BFX) which would have increased production from the current capacity of 200,000 tonnes of copper per year to as much as 300,000.

The project was one of a number of big ticket items earmarked for streamlined approval processes by the Federal Government in June in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and has major project status from the State Government……….

It is the second time BHP has scrapped plans for Olympic Dam. In August 2012, the company announced it had shelved its $30 billion expansion and would go back to the drawing board to find a cheaper alternative. Market conditions, subdued commodity prices and higher capital costs led to the decision eight years ago………

 in its quarterly review released this morning, BHP said following more than 400km of underground drilling, which improved the knowledge of the ore body, it had decided to focus on incremental improvements, rather than a step change investment at the site.

“Following more than 400 km of underground drilling associated with the Brownfield Expansion (BFX) project studies, we have improved knowledge of the ore body’s variability,’’ the company said.

“This has provided challenges for the economics of the BFX project, and we have decided the optimal way forward for now is through targeted debottlenecking investments, plant upgrades and modernisation of our infrastructure.’………

BHP said Olympic Dam was performing well, and had posted its best quarterly performance in the past five years in the three months to the end of September.

“Over the next two years, our focus will remain on completing our asset integrity program to underpin more stable operations and copper production of more than 200 ktpa. We have a significant investment program in place to achieve that,’’ Mr Basto said.

“We will continue to study longer-term options for growth. Our enhanced understanding of the underground resources in the Southern Mine Area, promising results from Oak Dam and stronger foundations will help us unlock the full potential of Olympic Dam……..

In August, BHP announced Olympic Dam had made a full year loss before interest and tax of $US79 million, on revenues of $US1.463 billion. That was up from a loss the previous financial year of $US58 million on revenues of $1.351 billion.

https://www.adelaidenow.com.au/business/bhp-has-shelved-a-37bn-expansion-plan-for-the-olympic-dam-mine/news-story/a472a34c1401f05899efb7994357090a?btr=250c6c18b8bd41aeb7995451f3206427

October 20, 2020 Posted by | business, South Australia, uranium | Leave a comment

China’s dramatic plan for switch to renewables – a warning to Australia’s fossil-fuel economy

October 10, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment