Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Kalbar’s exotic minerals mine a toxic risk to Victoria’s food bowl

Kalbar’s exotic minerals mine a toxic risk to Victoria’s food bowl, Michael West Media by Elizabeth Minter | Jun 18, 2021 | A hearing into the Environment Effects Statement for Kalbar’s mineral sands project on rich Victorian farmland has been told about competition for billions of litres of water, high levels of uranium, untested technologies and a strange backflip by the project’s “independent experts”. Elizabeth Minter investigates.

For exactly 100 years, Kane Busch’s family have farmed the fertile soils of the Lindenow Valley in East Gippsland, Victoria. After leaving Denmark in 1913, Kane’s great-grandfather Eiler Busch settled in the Valley, buying in 1921 the land that is now the home of Busch Organics.

Kane’s grandfather, also called Eiler, was behind the push for more environmentally friendly farming while experiencing the devastating droughts of the 1990s. The farm gained official organic certification in 2000. Grandson Kane is following in those footsteps, and was recently a finalist for a national award for “Young Grower of the Year”.

The Lindenow Valley produces the salad greens and vegetables – broccoli, green beans, cauliflower, celery, beetroot, cabbage and carrots – that help feed the nation. The Valley produces nearly one-third of the state’s vegetables; employs up to 2000 people at peak times; and is worth more than $150 million to the local economy.

The area also has huge environmental significance, with the heritage-listed Mitchell River, the Ramsar-protected Gippsland Lakes wetlands, and the Perry River’s unique Chain of Ponds, which is home to many threatened plant and animal species. Once ubiquitous across south-eastern Australia, “chain of ponds” systems are now rare.

But this is all now in jeopardy thanks to a mineral sands mining proposal from Kalbar Operations Pty Ltd (Kalbar), a company that was established as an investment vehicle and that has never operated a mine. It would be almost comical were it not for the potentially deadly consequences.

There’s monazite, which contains rare earth metals plus radioactive uranium and thorium and is thus potentially dangerous to residents, the waterways and the vegetables growing by the mine’s boundary; the competition for billions of litres of water; and the untried technology being proposed to tackle the mining waste. Nowhere in Australia is a mineral sands mine located so closely to, and upwind of, a major vegetable growing industry.

Kalbar is proposing a 1,675-hectare open-cut mine just 350 metres from the Mitchell River, which flows into the Gippsland Lakes wetlands. The mine will operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, for 15 years. A public hearing is under way as part of the inquiry into the Environment Effects Statement (EES). The following information has been revealed during the hearing.

Big miners walk away, lack of water the key risk

The multinational miner Rio Tinto originally owned the mining exploration licences. In 2011 Oresome, a subsidiary of Metallica Minerals, entered into a right to explore and option to purchase agreement with Rio for the licences.

A scoping study it commissioned showed a mine could be viable only if there was a dependable water supply. The risk of not finding a reliable source of up to 6.2 billion litres annually for an acceptable price received a Category F rating, defined as a problem with possibly “no viable solution” and a “fatal flaw”.

Water supplies

Kalbar’s proposed mine will sit on the plateau high above the Mitchell River with the vegetables growing just metresfrom the river.

The mine is 3.5 kilometres from the main source of the region’s drinking water (other than tank water). The mine and the horticultural industry will be in direct competition for water, with both relying on the Mitchell River and the same groundwater………….

Treatment of mine waste

Also controversial is access to how mine waste will be managed. The mine’s original design included a 90-hectare tailings dam.

But when government agencies and others highlighted the extreme danger such a dam posed to the Perry River and the Chain of Ponds, Kalbar changed its proposal.

The mine now plans to use giant centrifuge machines to remove water from the tailings waste, and then reuse that water.

The East Gippsland Shire Council, which unanimously opposes the mine, was not convinced of the viability of centrifuges, which are untested in mineral sands mining. The council commissioned a report from an independent mining industry consultancy, Ausenco.

Ausenco’s report raised concerns and advised that many more centrifuges would be required than Kalbar proposed. Then just weeks later, of its own volition, Ausenco issued a new report …………..

Radioactive dust a hazard

Kalbar plans to mine for and partially refine zircon, titanium-bearing rutile, ilmenite and rare earths minerals.

Airborne dust generated from mineral sands mines not only contains toxic heavy metals and radioactive monazite, thorium and uranium but also respirable crystalline silica, which leads to the deadly lung disease silicosis……………

Reputational damage to growers……     https://www.michaelwest.com.au/kalbars-exotic-minerals-mine-a-toxic-risk-to-victorias-food-bowl/

June 19, 2021 Posted by | rare earths, Victoria | Leave a comment

The unrealistic push for nuclear reactors helps the coal and gas industries to hang on

Nuclear power is a stalking horse for gas  https://independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/nuclear-power-is-a-stalking-horse-for-gas,15174

By John Quiggin | 9 June 2021, The recently appointed Chair of the Climate Change Authority, Origin Energy boss Grant King, has yet again raised the idea that nuclear energy is an important policy option for Australia.

This idea has been a staple of rightwing politics for years, in spite of (or rather because of) steadily accumulating evidence that solar PV and wind are the most efficient alternatives to carbon-based fuels.

Australia has had a long string of inquiries into nuclear power, going back to the Switkowski review in 2006. All have concluded that nuclear power is unlikely to be a feasible option for Australia any time soon.

The most recent comprehensive assessment was the South Australian Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission which concluded, in 2016, that nuclear power was unlikely to be commercially viable in the foreseeable future.  

Meanwhile, the world has moved on from nuclear power. There are still around 50 nuclear plants under construction around the world, mostly way over time and over budget. But, outside China, there hasn’t been a new project committed since the UK Government committed to the Hinkley Point C reactor in 2013. 

Hinkley Point C will almost certainly be the last nuclear plant built using the European EPR design. Two more, in France and Finland, are many years behind schedule, but will presumably be finished, or left unfinished, in the next couple of years. China built a couple of EPR reactors but hasn’t commissioned any more.

Other designs which seemed promising have also been abandoned. The AP1000, which once seemed to be the leading contender, sent its designers (Westinghouse) broke. The rights to the CANDU reactor, produced by Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, were sold for a pittance a decade ago. South Korea has stopped new nuclear construction, effectively killing off KEPCO’s APR-1400 design, though a few projects remain to be completed.

The result is that only two large-scale nuclear designs are available for new projects: Russia’s VVER-1200 and China’s Hualong One. Neither is approved for construction by Western authorities like the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. In view of concerns about safety standards and broader geopolitical tensions, neither is likely to be.

These points have been implicitly accepted in recent discussions of nuclear power. Large-scale nuclear reactors like those constructed over the last 50 years or so have quietly disappeared from discussion.

Instead, attention has been focused on the new idea of “small modular reactors” (SMRs). There is nothing new about small reactors. They are used routinely in nuclear submarines, for example. The problem is because they cannot capture economies of scale, small reactors are uneconomic as sources of electricity for general use.

The “modular” idea is that, if plants can be constructed in batches in a factory, economies in manufacturing will outweigh the loss of economies of scale.

This idea remains untested.

The leading contender for the construction of small modular reactors is Nuscale, which plans to build a prototype plant, consisting of 12 60 MW reactors by 2030. That’s a big blowout from the target date of 2023 announced in 2014 and from an even earlier target date of 2018, proposed around 2008.

In fact, the announced deployment data has been eight to ten years in the future ever since the project began in the early 2000s.

As well as constant delays, the Nuscale project has experienced the same cost escalation as larger nuclear projects. Over the past two years, the cost of the pilot project has risen from $3 billion to $6 billion, partly offset by a $1.4 billion injection from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Even if there are no further delays and cost escalation, it will take at least until 2035 before the pilot plant can be properly evaluated. The establishment of large scale manufacturing and the first installations in the U.S. will take at least ten more years. Even in the most optimistic scenarios, there is no prospect of SMRs operating in Australia before 2050.

To be fair, King couched his discussion in terms of options for the next 30, 40 or 50 years. But even Scott Morrison concedes that we should be aiming to reach zero net emissions by 2050. That entails completely decarbonising electricity generation well before 2050.

Nuclear power ceased to be a realistic option at least a decade ago. The only reason it keeps being raised is to obscure the necessity of a rapid and comprehensive shift to solar and wind energy. Nuclear power is not a realistic energy source. Rather, it has been a stalking horse for coal and more recently, gas.

It’s not surprising, therefore, to see it being promoted by a leading figure in the gas industry.

John Quiggin is Professor of Economics at the University of Queensland. His new book, The Economic Consequences of the Pandemic, will be published by Yale University Press in late 2021.

June 10, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, technology | Leave a comment

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

Environmentalists and Aboriginal traditional owners object to rocket launching on South Australian protected heritage land, at Whaler’s Way.

Rocket launching proposals worry traditional owners, environmentalists, but company committed to holistic care of the land, ABC Eyre Peninsula / By Evelyn Leckie 28 May 21,  Popular South Australian tourist spot Whalers Way could become the site of three test rocket launches later this year, causing concern among some environmentalists and traditional owners.

Key points:

  • Traditional owners and conservationists have raised concerns about the proposed site for three rocket launches this year
  • Nature Conservation SA holds concerns over two threatened species
  • Southern Launch says it’s committed to a holistic approach to care for the area during its testing program.

SA space industry leader Southern Launch is looking to conduct test launches on privately owned land, with a view to making the area a permanent launching site in the future to send satellites into space. 

Nature Conservation Society of SA advocate Julia Peacock said the area, on the state’s rugged southern coast, wasn’t the right site to conduct test launches.

“It’s a really special conservation area,” she said.

“It’s actually specifically protected under environment legislation that’s called a heritage agreement, which means a private landholder agreement to protect that area so we would really like to see that agreement honoured.

We’re also really concerned that it is habitat for a number of species of conservation concern.”

Ms Peacock said the society was worried about threatened species in the area such as southern emu wrens and white-fronted whip birds.

“They’re very small and shy birds, so they’re quite hard to see,” she said. 

We’re concerned that we’re building an industrial facility that involves explosions that are noisy and causes vibrations —  that those species are going to be frightened.

“It’s going to change their behaviour and impact the way they want to move through this area.”

‘Let it be natural’

Nauo elder Jody Miller said there were a lot of cultural issues out at Whalers Way.

“It’s significant culturally, there are stories [out there] and we don’t want to destroy anything,” Mr Miller said. 

“If it’s just left alone, let it be natural, people can see this for the next generation — everybody’s children as well as my children.”

Holistic protection

Southern Launch CEO Lloyd Damp said the testing program would provide the chance to specifically measure what the noise effect would have on local species.

“We’re working with one of the best universities in Australia to undertake the measurements and then provide that for the environmental impact statement assessment,” Mr Damp said………..   https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-05-28/rocket-launching-proposals-worry-environmentalists/100173472

May 29, 2021 Posted by | environment, South Australia, technology | Leave a comment

Australian company Greenland Minerals fails community test over controversial rare earths and uranium mine plan

Greenland Minerals fails community test over controversial rare earths and uranium mine plan,  https://www.acf.org.au/greenland-minerals-fails-community-test 27 May 21, It is a long way from Greenland to Western Australia, but concerns from the Narsaq community in Greenland about a controversial mining project will be raised at today’s annual meeting of Perth-based company Greenland Minerals, listed on the ASX as GGG, which is behind the Kvanefjeld rare earths and uranium mine.

Opposition to the planned mine dominated Greenland’s recent national elections. On 6 April Greenlanders elected the Inuit Ataqatigiit (Community for the People) party, which campaigned on an explicit platform opposing Kvanefjeld.

The new coalition government has committed to stop the mine going ahead.

“When a mine proposal triggers an election and the results show a clear rejection of the project, it is time for the company to accept the community’s will and end its mining plans,” said Mineral Policy Institute board member Dr Lian Sinclair, who will attend the GGG meeting.

Australian groups are calling on GGG to recognise that it has failed to secure social license for the Kvanefjeld project.

“We need a different approach to mining, one based on free, prior and informed consent,” said Australian Conservation Foundation nuclear free campaigner Dave Sweeney.

“Mining materials that are used in renewable energy does necessarily make a company ethical or responsible.

“There are dangerous radioactive elements within these deposits, including uranium, that pose long term environmental and health risks.

“These risks should not be imposed on an unwilling community.

“The Narsaq and wider Greenland community and the new Government have rejected this project. GGG should recognise and respect this clear and democratic decision”.

May 27, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, rare earths, uranium | Leave a comment

Senior Morrison government ministers support Iluka’s plan to reprocess rare earths (no mention of what they would do with the radioactive wastes)

Iluka finds favour in bid to build rare earths refinery, W.A. Today, By Nick Toscano, May 11, 2021

A proposal to build the country’s first full-scale rare earths refinery has secured the support of senior Morrison government ministers, as Australia works to position itself as a key supplier of raw ingredients in smartphones, electric cars and wind turbines.

The board of ASX-listed Iluka Resources, a $3.6 billion company, is assessing the feasibility of developing a refinery at Eneabba in Western Australia to process rare earths – a group of elements used in a range of high-tech products and military weapons systems……..    https://www.watoday.com.au/business/companies/iluka-finds-favour-in-bid-to-build-rare-earths-refinery-20210511-p57que.html

May 13, 2021 Posted by | rare earths, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Greenland’s election won by party opposing Chinese-backed Australian uranium and rare earths company

Greenland’s Rare-Earth Election

A vote last month answered an important question about the world’s largest island. The Atlantic
, ROBINSON MEYER  3May 21, ”’……… Since 1979, the ruling Siumut party has dominated Greenland’s elections; in all those years it has lost power only once, in 2009, after the island reformed its government and loosened ties with Denmark, which has ruled it for three centuries. Earlier this month, the democratic-socialist Inuit Ataqatigiit party (IA), Greenlandic for “Community for the People,” won an election with more than a third of the vote, after centering its campaign on a promise to cancel the controversial mining project.

Greenland, the world’s largest island, is populated by about 56,000 people, and its election is, in some ways, an extremely local story. The mining project is called Kvanefjeld, and it would excavate thorium, uranium, and rare-earth elements. Kvanefjeld is less than four miles from Narsaq, one of the larger cities in South Greenland and a local tourism center. (It also has an excellent brewery.)

“There is no way for me to have the mine, because it’s only six kilometers from our town,” Mariane Paviasen, 56, a local activist who ran for Parliament under IA, told me in an interview before the election.

But the election touches on some of the biggest issues in global politics: climate change, mineral economics, and indigenous sovereignty. Rare earths are used to make finely tuned magnets that are essential to modern electronics, including electric vehicles and wind turbines. There is some irony here: Greenland, whose ice sheet is a visual metaphor for the inevitability of climate change, will be mined to power the only technology that can stop it. But the actual interest here is not so overdetermined—like all true climate stories, it draws together questions of money, land, power, and growth. IA’s answer to those questions is not to oppose all extraction, but it has taken a less friendly stance toward some proposed projects. It is particularly opposed to mining that could create radioactive waste……..

The plans for Kvanefjeld had long been paused, according to Zane Cooper, an anthropologist at the University of Pennsylvania who studies how communities respond to mineral extraction. Then, during the pandemic, the plans seemed to accelerate. Greenland Minerals Ltd., an Australian-headquartered but Chinese-backed company, began pressing its plans forward, and the ruling Siumut party complied. The local population had worries, particularly about uranium, which is often found next to thorium, itself a sign of rare earths. A rushed series of public meetings in February gave residents little warning about how rumored uranium dust would affect their farms and settlements. When someone called in a bomb threat to a meeting that Siumut officials were due to attend, they canceled their appearance. Another party, the Democrats, announced it would leave the governing coalition, depriving Siumut of its majority and precipitating snap elections.

The election, on April 6, saw a major victory for IA. It won overwhelmingly in southern Greenland.

IA does not oppose most mining; what it opposes is uranium mining. Another mine, about 30 miles from Narsaq, meets its approval, and the party supports developing mineral extraction as part of a broader strategy. “I think it will work better for us to have our own mining company in Greenland,” Paviasen said. She also supports more economic diversification, embracing a larger role for tourism and local agriculture. Most vegetables in Greenland are imported from Denmark.

Greenland’s blessing and curse is the large block grant, equivalent to more than $500 million, that it receives every year from the Danish government. It makes up about half of Greenland’s annual budget. Greenland has promised to deposit about a third of the revenue from its mineral wealth into a sovereign-wealth fund modeled off the Norwegian oil fund, which could help it replace the Danish block grant

If IA does find a way to instill some measure of economic autarky in Greenland, then it would be the world’s first completely independent indigenous country, Cooper said. Onlookers expect that Greenland would seek independence from Denmark faster under the separatist IA party than the more moderate Siumut. But that remains a ways off: First, IA must figure out how, and whether, it can cancel the mine in a fjord. Greenland Minerals has vowed to fight the decision in court and in international trade tribunals. (Múte Egede, the new IA prime minister, did not respond to a request for comment.) It may seem like a narrow question, but it could have sweeping implications for the island’s 56,000 inhabitants—and for how the world’s largest powers comport themselves with regard to the world’s largest island.

If IA does find a way to instill some measure of economic autarky in Greenland, then it would be the world’s first completely independent indigenous country, Cooper said. Onlookers expect that Greenland would seek independence from Denmark faster under the separatist IA party than the more moderate Siumut. But that remains a ways off: First, IA must figure out how, and whether, it can cancel the mine in a fjord. Greenland Minerals has vowed to fight the decision in court and in international trade tribunals. (Múte Egede, the new IA prime minister, did not respond to a request for comment.) It may seem like a narrow question, but it could have sweeping implications for the island’s 56,000 inhabitants—and for how the world’s largest powers comport themselves with regard to the world’s largest island.  https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2021/05/greenlands-rare-earth-election/618785/

May 4, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, rare earths, uranium | Leave a comment

UK in secret talks with Australia and others, about mining rare earths

Telegraph 2nd May 2021, Fears China will “turn off the taps” on Britain’s green revolution
has forced ministers to enter secret talks with seven commonwealth
countries to mine their rare earths. Officials from the Department of
International Trade and the Foreign Office have had meetings with
representatives from Australia, Canada, Malawi and Tanzania in a bid to
persuade them to supply rare earths, as well as critical metals such as
lithium to the UK.

Rare earths are found in abundance across the world, but
are difficult to process and China controls around 90 per cent of the
market. The UK has no known deposits of rare earths, unlike other major
economies such as the US, Canada and Australia, which are also grappling
with the problem. Rare earths are used in a wide variety of technology,
from fighter jets, to MRI machines and loudspeakers, but also in the motors
of electric vehicles and in wind turbines, and the worldwide transition to
green infrastructure is expected to put pressure on global demand.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/environment/2021/05/02/chinese-stranglehold-rare-earths-forces-uk-secret-talks-allies/

May 2, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, rare earths | Leave a comment

Australia sleepwalks towards nuclear war – enthusiasm for nuclear rockets and submarines.

Small nuclear reactors (SMRs) are being pitched to Australians as ”climate salvation”, ”cheap electricity” etc. Of course this is nonsense. But the toxic macho nuclear zealots are confident that SMRs will have a great future in nuclear wars on land, on sea, in space.

SPACE: Australia’s ”cultural cringe” is so obvious, in the fervour for space research. Breathless enthusiasm in media coverage of rockets, space exploration . Yet the truth is that Australian space research is tied to America’s goal of militarising space. We hold events like The Australian International Aerospace and Defence Exposition – pitched as family entertainment:

”THE AIRSHOW  will feature the raw potency and power of modern military aviation. The thrust and grunt of the latest military heavy metal will take centre stage. The stars of the show will be state-of-the-art jet fighters, bombers and giant heavy lift leviathans from home and abroad. See them so close you could almost touch them. Shudder to the roar of their mighty jet turbines as they perform high octane routines and simulated combat manoeuvres. Marvel as swarms of attack helicopters join in the fray.

Of course, if we can help the American drive for weapons in space, it is all the better to have the tax-payer fund our space research.

SUBMARINES. Australia’s nuclear zealots have long been working away for nuclear submarines…… way before the so-called ”neutral” nuclear military fan Kevin Scarce was made head of the South Australian Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission, in 2016.

A push for nuclear submarines has been part of Australia’s appalling history of submarine deals in recent years. Part of this mess was recently exposed by Michelle Fahy in Murder, corruption, bombings – the company at centre of Australia’s submarine deal. But the whole sorry tale goes further. It probably explains why the Australian government chose the super costly French submarine design – in the hopes that it could easily be transformed from a diesal to a nuclear -powered form.

Impelled by the very right-wing Australian Strategic Policy Institute, the push continues. Academia is co-opted, as The University of New South Wales joins with the Submarine Institute to promote nuclear submarines in a July 15 Canberra seminar. The speakers include well known nuclear propagandists Tom Frame, Kevin Scarce, and Hugh White.

Tom Frame has also recently published a book, rapturously received by the nuclear lobby, enthusing about nuclear submarines, and recommending them as Australia’s way into the full nuclear fuel chain, and into the space race .

With Australia’s Murdoch media monopoly, and the ever-weakening ABC, the public is unaware of these machinations towards Australia’s role in nuclear militarism. The push for small nuclear reactors is the starting point.

April 30, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Christina themes, politics international, technology | Leave a comment

Scott Morrison’s plan for Australia to fund small nuclear reactors and other very dubious technologies that purport to combat global heating.

Australia to fund low-emissions research as world sets ambitious climate targets, The Age, By Mike Foley, April 21, 2021,

The government is offering $566 million to global experts who want to collaborate with Australia on clean energy projects, with ‘green steel’, battery storage and even research on nuclear fission reactors among the possible tech options.

Australia will help fund groundbreaking research in low-emissions technology as the Morrison government confronts increasingly ambitious climate commitments from major trading partners ahead of a global climate summit.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will announce a $566 million investment in research partnerships with other countries for new technology like green steel, small modular nuclear reactors, and soil carbon sequestration. He said the technology from the deals would benefit Australian export industries such as agriculture, coal, aluminium and gas…….

Australia’s focus on international action contrasts with the increasingly ambitious 2030 emissions targets that developed nations are announcing in the lead-up to US President Joe Biden’s international climate summit on Thursday…….

But Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor said one country alone cannot make commercially viable the low emissions solutions needed to replace polluting technologies, or roll them out at scale……..

The partnership funding is a commitment in the upcoming federal budget. The Morrison government has entered discussions with the US, UK, Japan, Korea and Germany…..

Funds will be invested in research and development partnerships in line with Australia’s technology roadmap, which has prioritised hydrogen, low-emissions steel and aluminium, battery storage, and soil carbon sequestration on farmland….”

The Morrison government will also seek to collaborate with the US and UK on small modular nuclear reactors, which are not yet commercially viable. It has no plan to remove Australia’s ban on nuclear power or fuel processing.. …  https://www.theage.com.au/politics/federal/australia-to-fund-low-emissions-research-as-world-sets-ambitious-climate-targets-20210421-p57l5v.html

April 22, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, technology | Leave a comment

Australian Strategic Policy Institute sees nuclear submarines as a step towards the full nuclear chain

Nuclear submarines could lead to nuclear power for Australia, The Strategist 15 Apr 21‘………..Submarines could lead to a broad nuclear industry in Australia. This possibility will be the subject of a seminar to be held at ASPI on Thursday 15 July, jointly hosted by the Submarine Institute of Australia and UNSW Canberra. More information is available here….””
https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/nuclear-submarines-could-lead-to-nuclear-power-for-australia/

April 17, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, technology | 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

Greenland might reject Australian-Chinese company Greenland Minerals in its bid to mine rare earths

Telegraph 4th April 2021, AS elections go, it sounds rather minor-league: a contest with just 40,000 voters, triggered by a planning row in one of the most remote, inhospitable corners of the planet. On Tuesday, though, diplomats from Washington to
Beijing will be watching carefully as Greenland holds snap parliamentary polls. With a total of population of just 56,000, its electorate is smaller than some British town councils – yet their vote over the vexed issue of the Kvanefjeld mine project could have implications not just for Greenland, but the global superpower race.

Overlooking the tiny fishing settlement of Narsaq, where locals live mainly off catching whales and seals, the project
aims to tap into one of world’s biggest deposits of “rare earth” minerals – materials as vital to the 21st-century as oil was to the 20th. Their supermagnetic, superconductive properties are used in everything from i-Phones and solar panels through to hybrid cars and weapons systems.

Yet while they are key to the goals of a high-tech, low-carbon world, extracting them itself can be an environmentally-hazardous process – a point not lost on Greenland’s residents, some of whom are sceptical of promises from the Australian firm behind the project, Greenland Minerals, that strict anti-pollution measures will be enforced.

Frontrunners in the election are the Left-wing, pro-green Inuit Ataqatigiit party, who could throw the mine project out altogether, despite warnings from rival parties that Greenland’s isolated economy must end its dependence on fishing. But for others, the stakes are about much more than even that. Of particular concern is that Greenland Minerals is part-owned by Shenghe Holdings, a Chinese firm with close ties to the Beijing government.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2021/04/04/superpowers-eye-greenland-vote-scramble-earths-treasures/

April 4, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, rare earths | Leave a comment

Because ANSTO shut down cyclotron, Australia has the problem of importing a short-lived medical isotope

January 14, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, health, technology | Leave a comment