Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Aboriginal group’s claim against Western Australia Conservation Council over uranium mining

Traditional owners hit out at WA Conservation Council for alleged misrepresentation over uranium campaign http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-07-28/traditional-owners-hit-out-wa-conservation-council-on-uranium/8751926  ABC Goldfields By Jarrod Lucas An Aboriginal corporation representing traditional owners in WA’s northern Goldfields claims an environmental group has misrepresented it by suggesting it supports legal action against a proposed uranium mine.

The Conservation Council of WA launched Supreme Court action earlier this month to challenge the Barnett Government’s decision to approve Cameco’s proposed mine at Yeelirrie, 1,079km north east of Perth.

The council maintains it has the support of members of the Tjiwarl people, the native title holders over the Yeelirrie area, in pursuing the action.

But the Tjiwarl Aboriginal Corporation said they do not speak for its 150-odd members or 10 directors, who represent each of the area’s different family groups.

A spokesman for the Tjiwarl group told the ABC it is yet to formally adopt a policy on uranium mining or the Yeelirriee court case — although that could change as soon as September when the directors meet in Leinster.

“Any decision about this project needs to be made by Tjiwarl (Aboriginal Corporation) in accordance with our traditional laws and customs,” the corporation said in a statement.

“Until such time, we ask that media outlets, and the Conservation Council of WA, refrain from referring to Tjiwarl (Aboriginal Corporation) as supporting this legal proceeding.”

The spokesman said the group had received significant backlash on social media, due to its perceived involvement in the action.

Conservation Council denies misrepresenting group

Conservation Council director Piers Verstegen denied they ever misrepresented the Aboriginal corporation.

“We haven’t linked them to the case, there’s certain members of that claim group that are part of the case, but we haven’t linked the body corporate to the case and I’m not sure where they’re getting that information from,” Mr Verstegen said.

“We haven’t made any linkage between their claim group and the case — it’s just individuals who are part of that claim group who are part of the case.”

Vicky Abdullah, whose family has opposed uranium mining at Yeelirrie for more than 40 years, is one of three traditional owners who are backing the Conservation Council’s legal action.

“Yeelirrie is important to my family; we have fought to protect this site and we won’t stop now,” Ms Abdullah said.

A crowdfunding page set up by the 47-year-old not-for-profit group seeking to raise $50,000 to fund the court case also mentions the traditional owners.

At last count the page had raised more than $9,800.

Uranium mine a challenging call for traditional owners

The Tjiwarl claim was officially recognised by the Federal Court in April, with the long legal fight seeing the group’s 13,000 square kilometres of land between the towns of Wiluna and Leonora officially acknowledged.

It has sparked a flurry of negotiations with Cameco and fellow mining giants BHP and Gold Fields, both of which have operating mines in the area.

But as WA’s biggest uranium deposit, Yeelirrie remains the area’s most controversial potential development.

Discovered by Western Mining Corporation in 1972, the deposit was sold to Cameco by BHP for $US430 million in 2012.

The mine takes its name from a nearby pastoral station, which in turn took its name from the traditional word for the area.

Opponents of the mine say the name translates to “place of death”, but others have suggested “lethargy” or “fatigue” are better translations.

The mine is one of four proposed uranium mines the McGowan Government will allow to proceed, despite reinstating a ban on any further development or exploration in Western Australia.

The Tjiwarl spokesman said the group would likely formalise its position on uranium mining when the corporation’s directors meet in September.

July 29, 2017 Posted by | aboriginal issues, legal, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Western Australia Walkabout against uranium -month-long pilgrimage from Wiluna to Leonora

 https://thewest.com.au/news/kalgoorlie-miner/walkabout-against-uranium-ng-b88547279z, , 26 July 2017 A month-long pilgrimage from Wiluna to Leonora to campaign against uranium mining will begin next month in the wake of the State Government’s approval of four proposed uranium mines earlier this year.

Program co-ordinator Marcus Atkinson said the seventh annual Walkatjurra Walkabout will see 50 to 60 participants walk 10km to 15km a day while connecting with land and culture and supporting the sovereign rights of Aboriginal people to protect their lands and support a nuclear-free future.

Mr Atkinson said considering the Government’s recent decision, this year’s walk was particularly pertinent.

“We want to stop uranium mining and connect with country and culture,” he said.

“It is about supporting traditional owners to show that people from all over the country and the world are standing with them.”

One of the mines, the Yeelirrie uranium project, was approved against the recommendation of the Environmental Protection Authority which said mining would lead to the extinction of several unique species of subterranean fauna.

The Conservation Council of WA and members of the Tjiwarl native title group have taken Supreme Court action against the Yeerlirrie project.

CCWA director Piers Verstegen cited environmental, economic and social concerns over the approval of the mine.

He said environment groups could not allow any project that would knowingly cause the extinction of unique species to go unchallenged, given the precedent it would set.

Mr Atkinson said the walk, which is quite a significant undertaking, was the most effective way of acknowledging the importance of the land. “Often we bring traditional owners to Perth to speak about the significance of the land, but those words and stories are so much more powerful when you are out on the country,” he said.

“It emphasises the fact that this isn’t a place in the middle of nowhere and it is worth saving.

“We need to take a step back and make a decision which is best for WA, not a handful of multinational companies.”

The Walkatjurra Walkabout begins in Kalgoorlie on August 8.

To register to be a part of the walk or for more information, visit walkingforcountry.com.

July 28, 2017 Posted by | Opposition to nuclear, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Quiet shipment of uranium from Australia to India – non signatory to Non-Proliferation Treaty

Australia quietly makes first uranium shipment to India three years after supply agreement, ABC Radio The World Today By South Asia correspondent James Bennett, 18 Jul 17 Three years after signing a civilian nuclear supply treaty, the Federal Government confirmed overnight the first shipment of Australian uranium has left for India.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop provided little detail about the inaugural sale, saying only that it was subject to commercial negotiations.

The supply deal with India, signed in 2014, is the first of its kind Australia has made with a country not party to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty…….

Details of inaugural shipment unclear

It is not clear how big the shipment is, where it departed from, or where in India it might be heading.

Indian officials were unable to immediately provide comment, while the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said only that the details were subject to commercial negotiation.

Parliament only passed the final legislation enabling sales last December, following years of debate about supplying uranium to a country with a strategic nuclear weapons program and that refuses to sign the non-proliferation treaty.

Parliamentary hearings to ratify the supply treaty in 2014 heard the International Atomic Energy Agency still had concerns about India’s safeguards.

Ongoing tensions between India and its neighbour Pakistan, which also has not signed the non-proliferation treaty, have raised the spectre of armed confrontation in the past……..http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-07-19/australia-quietly-makes-first-uranium-shipment-to-india/8722108

July 19, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, uranium | 1 Comment

As ERA’s Ranger Uranium mine lease to expire, town of Jabiru’s future is not clear

Kakadu National Park: Jabiru residents in limbo as governments, mining company contemplate town’s future, ABC, By Sara Everingham, 18 July 17,  If the Northern Territory’s mining town of Jabiru near Kakadu National Park is to stay afloat, decisions will need to be made soon to avoid the loss of essential services, infrastructure and people, a report commissioned by Energy Resources of Australia has warned.

ERA, which operates the Ranger Uranium mine, is planning for the expiry of its lease agreements in 2021.

The company is required to return the town of Jabiru, which is also a service hub for the national park, to its pre-development state, removing housing and critical infrastructure, including power and water services.

Jabiru, which has a population of about 1,100, was built in 1982 as a mining residential and service hub, and the majority of its residents, whether they work at the mine or not, live in the town.

Even if there’s a consensus that Jabiru should continue to exist, it’s not clear what services would remain, particularly if there’s a sharp population decline once ERA departs………

The NT and Federal Governments have been in talks with traditional owners, the Northern Land Council, and ERA about a plan for the future of the town, but have not yet reached an agreement.

Traditional owners have also been in talks with the Commonwealth about a new township lease over Jabiru.

In the absence of any final agreements, ERA was planning for the closure of the town in four years’ time…….

ERA’s lease on the Ranger Uranium Mine expires in 2021, and the rehabilitation of the Ranger Mine has to be completed by 2026.

ERA had proposed prolonging the life of the Ranger mine by developing the underground 3 Deeps project, but in 2015 that plan lost the support of traditional owners and Rio Tinto, the majority shareholder of ERA.

The Mirrar traditional owners “absolutely” want to see the town continue and have been intensely lobbying the Federal Government since 2003, said Justin O’Brien, CEO of the Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation.

“If you want security of tenure, if you want to avoid the bulldozers and the base case scenario that’s still the only option on the table, sadly, you negotiate very speedily the township lease that the traditional owners have put on the table, which we’ve commenced negotiating with the Australian Government,” he said.   “If the Government engages quickly in the next several months with traditional owners then yes, it’s got a great future in terms of tourism and service provision. It’s a really positiveplace.” http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-07-18/jabiru-residents-in-limbo-as-uranium-mining-draws-to-a-close/8718432

July 19, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, uranium | Leave a comment

Australian uranium miner Paladin Energy going broke

Paladin Energy enters administration, WNN, 03 July 2017  Paladin Energy Ltd has today appointed administrators after it was unable to agree a delay to the repayment of $277 million it owes Electricité de France (EDF). The administrators will continue to operate the company on a business-as-usual basis until further 

Western Australia-based Paladin in February announced plans for a balance sheet restructuring to enable it to meet debts due in April, after plans to sell a 24% stake in the Langer Heinrich uranium mine in Namibia to China’s CNNC Overseas Uranium Holdings failed to progress. The sale of a 30% stake in the Manyingee project in Western Australia to Avira Energy Ltd (formerly MGT Resources), announced at the same time as the CNNC sale in July 2016, also failed to complete.

CNNC, which already owns a 25% joint venture equity stake in the Namibian project, subsequently began a process that could lead to it exercising an option to acquire all of Paladin’s share of Langer Heinrich. This led to the proposal in May of an alternative restructuring plan by Paladin, as the original plan had assumed the company would retain an ongoing interest in its Namibian flagship project.

Paladin is due to pay EDF $277 million by 10 July under a long-term supply agreement signed in 2012. The company said it had approached EDF to grant a “standstill” agreement, which would allow time for the alternative restructure proposal to be implemented. Although terms had been negotiated they had not been signed.

“EDF has now informed Paladin that it is not prepared to enter into a standstill agreement and requires payment of the amount when due on 10 July 2017,” Paladin said today……. http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/UF-Paladin-Energy-enters-administration-0307177.html

July 5, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, uranium | Leave a comment

Strong union opposition to uranium mining in Western Australia

Union ‘showdown’ looming over U-deal, West Australian , , 21 June 2017, One of WA Labor’s most influential unions is promising a “showdown” at the party’s State conference over Mark McGowan’s decision to allow a raft of uranium mining projects to go ahead.

Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union State secretary Steve McCartney yesterday condemned as “weak” and “disappointing” the Government’s announcement it would not block four uranium mining proposals.

The projects — Cameco’s Yeelirrie and Kintyre, Toro Energy’s Wiluna extension and Vimy Resources’ Mulga Rock — were all granted environmental approval by the previous government.

Mr McCartney vowed the AMWU would draw up a motion against the decision for Labor’s State conference in August, the key policy-setting body for the party. He said it was unacceptable the Government would allow the exploitation of radioactive material and the union would be seeking to “support and stiffen” the party’s anti-uranium position.

“The last thing we want is to be the glowing State,” Mr McCartney said.

“We have the strongest policy in the country and we believe the general feedback and phone calls we’re getting is that there will be a showdown at conference about it.

“I know that people are very upset about the fact that we’re going to be out there saying ‘Hello, you can dig up uranium’.”

The warning from the AMWU came as the Conservation Council of WA flagged a court challenge to the validity of the four projects’ environmental approvals.

Conservation Council nuclear campaigner Mia Pepper said the group was “looking at all legal avenues and options”…..https://thewest.com.au/politics/state-politics/union-showdown-looming-over-u-deal-ng-b88513503z

June 23, 2017 Posted by | Opposition to nuclear, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

# uranium mining companies in Western Australia could lose their licences

Uranium mining ultimatum in Western Australia sparks nuclear debate,  Xinhua Song Lifang, SYDNEY, June 22) — A nuclear debate is heating up in Western Australia on Thursday, after the state government informed three uranium mining companies that their approval licenses will expire if their sites are not operational within five years.

The newly formed State Government’s clarification on its policy has followed on from an election promise to ban uranium mining in the State for environmental concerns.

But prior to their victory in the vote, under the former State Government, three companies at four separate sites were given the go ahead to develop projects.

Vulnerable to legal action from the operators, the Premier of Western Australia, Mark McGowan, on Wednesday told local media, “everyone knows our position is we are not very happy about these approvals, so the mining companies need to be aware that they have a potential deadline heading at them in five years from now.”

“Bear in mind five years is a long time, I mean they’ve already had eight years of getting a project approved and another five years to develop it, that’s a pretty reasonable length of time for them to get a project up,” McGowan said.

“If they can’t do that, then that’s not our problem, that’s their problem.”

In response to the ultimatum, chief executive of Vimy Resources, Mike Young, said, “We’re confident that we will start substantive works before 2021.” And Toro Energy general manager, Andrew Worland, stated, “Their policy statement is not surprising to us.”

The main reason for the delay in getting the mine-sites up and running has been due to the historically low trading price of the commodity……. http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2017-06/22/c_136386192.htm

June 23, 2017 Posted by | politics, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Disappointment over Labor’s broken promise on uranium mining in Western Australia

The West Australia Nuclear Free Alliance, an Indigenous alliance opposed to uranium mining, have expressed their deep disappointment by the announcement from Labor that will allow four uranium mines to proceed, that have been contested by Traditional Owners

Janice Scott, Spinifex Pilgi Woman “The Labor Government, we thought they would stand up for us be strong, and all that we’re fighting for – be different from the other Government. They told us lies. We believed that Labor they would help us to stop uranium mining, they got our trust and that’s why we voted for them.”

Mr Glen Cooke Ngaanyatjarra elder “we will be stepping up the fight talking to our countrymen. This impacts our lands and stories all over not just the mine sites. Tribal people are saying we don’t want uranium. Enough is enough. We will take this further, this country is beautiful and we have to look after it for our children and grandchildren and all future generations.”

“What is so disappointing is that the Labor Government did not sit down and talk with us about this decision which affects our country. Today’s decision Labor has not made one friend but has lost them many.” Concluded Mr Cooke.

June 21, 2017 Posted by | politics, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Ukraine uranium sales plan: Unreasonable, unstable and unsafe

In a statement tabled in the Senate last night, the Turnbull government has confirmed it will seek to proceed with selling Uranium to Ukraine despite significant safety and security concerns raised by the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties.

Uranium exports to Ukraine


“Australia, the nation that fuelled Fukushima should not sell uranium to the country that gave us Chernobyl,” said the Australian Conservation Foundation’s Dave Sweeney.

In February a JSCOT investigation found that existing safeguards were ‘not sufficient’ and there was a risk Australian nuclear material would disappear off the radar in Ukraine.

The government has ignored JSCOT’s recommended pre-conditions around risk assessment and recovery of nuclear materials and is looking to advance the deal despite the risks of war, civil unrest and nuclear insecurity in the eastern European country, which is involved in hostilities with Russia.

“The treaties committee’s report found ‘Australian nuclear material should never be placed in a situation where there is a risk that regulatory control of the material will be lost’, yet this is exactly what could happen under the deeply inadequate checks and balances that apply to exported Australian uranium,” said Mr Sweeney.

“JSCOT recommended the Australian government undertake a detailed and proper risk assessment and develop an effective contingency plan for the removal of ‘at risk’ Australian nuclear material prior to any sales deal.

“Unreasonably and irresponsibly the government response fails to credibly address this. Australia should be very cautious about providing nuclear fuel to an already tense geo-political situation in eastern Europe.

“Ukraine’s nuclear sector is plagued by serious and unresolved safety, security and governance issues.

“Two-thirds of Ukraine’s aging fleet of 15 nuclear reactors will be past its design lifetime use-by date in just four years.

“This is an insecure and unsafe industrial sector in a highly uncertain part of the world. Australian uranium directly fuelled Fukushima and this deeply inadequate response shows the government has learnt little and cares less”.

June 14, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, reference, uranium | 1 Comment

The Global Uranium Industry and Cameco’s Troubled History

The Global Uranium Industry & Cameco’s Troubled History, May 2017, Jim Green − Friends of the Earth, Australia http://tinyurl.com/cameco-may-2017

Table of Contents

  1. INTRODUCTION
  2. THE GLOBAL URANIUM INDUSTRY

Australia’s Uranium Volume and Exports – 2006-2015

Australia’s top export revenue industries – Compared to uranium

“It has never been a worse time for uranium miners”

If there is a recovery, it will be a long time coming

Explaining the uranium market’s malaise

  1. CAMECO BATTLING URANIUM DOWNTURN, TAX OFFICE, TEPCO
  2. CAMECO’S URANIUM DEPOSITS IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA ‒ A BRIEF SUMMARY
  3. CAMECO’S INCIDENTS AND ACCIDENTS: 1981‒2016
1. INTRODUCTION This report covers two overlapping issues. 
Firstly: the miserable state of the global uranium industry. For several years, the uranium prices (the spot price and long-term contract price) has been well below the level that would incentivise new mines. There is no end in sight to the industry’s current malaise ‒ as acknowledged by numerous industry insiders and market analysts.
Secondly: the problems facing uranium mining company Cameco, which provides about 17% of the world’s production from mines in Canada, the US and Kazakhstan, and has two uranium projects in Western Australia ‒ Kintyre (70% Cameco / 30% Mitsubishi) and Yeelirrie (100% Cameco).
Cameco has been continuously downsizing for the past five years and the company acknowledges that the situation will get worse before it gets better.
Cameco has written off the entire value of its Kintyre project in Western Australia: a C$238 million write-down in 2016 following a C$168 million write-down in December 2012. Several other mines have been subject to production slowdowns or suspension, the company plans to sell its two uranium mines in the US (if it can find a buyer), and CEO Tim Gitzel said in February 2017 that Cameco is “very far from requiring any new greenfield uranium projects”.
Cameco is currently embroiled in a court case, accused of illegal profit-shifting by the Canada Revenue Agency using subsidiaries in Switzerland and Barbados. If Cameco is found guilty, it may have to back-pay taxes amounting to C$2.1 billion.
Finally, the report includes a table listing many of Cameco’s accidents and controversies since 1981 ‒ leaks and spills, the promotion of dangerous radiation junk science (in WA and elsewhere), appalling treatment of indigenous people, systemic and sometimes deliberate safety failures and breaches, etc………
 
Explaining the uranium market’s malaise There are numerous reasons why the uranium market is likely to remain depressed for the foreseeable future. The most important are briefly discussed here.
1. Nuclear power is unlikely to expand…..
2. Uranium is plentiful. …..
3. Stockpiles (inventories) are massive and still growing…….

May 5, 2017 Posted by | business, reference, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

CAMECO’S URANIUM DEPOSITS IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA ‒ A BRIEF SUMMARY

The Global Uranium Industry & Cameco’s Troubled History May 2017 Jim Green − Friends of the Earth, Australia http://tinyurl.com/cameco-may-2017

“…….. Kintyre (70% Cameco / 30% Mitsubishi) The Martu Aboriginal people have fought against this proposed uranium mine since the 1980s. The deposit sits between two branches of a creek called Yantikutji which is connected to a complex network of surface and groundwater systems. It is also in an area that was cut out of the Karlamilyi National Park, WA’s biggest National Park. Kintyre is home to 28 rare, endangered and threatened species. The project would include an open pit 1.5 km long, 1.5 km wide, it would use 3.5 million litres of water a day and leave behind 7.2 million tonnes of radioactive mine waste over the life of the project.

In June 2016, Martu Traditional Owners led a 140 km, week-long walk to protest against Cameco’s proposed uranium mine at Kintyre. Aboriginal Traditional Owners are concerned the project will affect their water supplies as well as 28 threatened species in the Karlamilyi National Park.

Joining the protest walk was Anohni, the Academy Award-nominated musician from Antony and the Johnsons. She said: “It’s a huge landscape – it’s a really majestic place. It’s really hard to put a finger on it but there’s a sense of presence and integrity and patience, dignity and perseverance and intense intuitive wisdom that this particular community of people have. There is almost an unbroken connection to the land – they haven’t been radically disrupted. They are very impressive people – it’s humbling to be around these women. In many regards, I think the guys who run Cameco are desolate souls, desolate souls with no home, with no connection to land, with no connection to country.” www.ccwa.org.au/kintyre

Yeelirrie (100% Cameco) Yeelirrie in the local Wongutha Aboriginal language means ‘place of death’. The local community has fought against mining at Yeelirrie for over 40 years. There was a trial mine in the 1970s which was poorly managed: the site was abandoned, unfenced and unsigned with a shallow open pit and tailings left behind. The project would include a 9 km long, 1 km wide open pit, it would use 8.7 million litres of water a day and leave behind 36 million tonnes of radioactive mine waste over the life of the mine. There are many cultural heritage sites under threat from this proposal. The project was rejected by the Western Australian Environmental Protection Agency in 2016 because of the threat that 11 species of underground microfauna would become extinct. The WA Environment Minister ignored the EPA advice and approved the project anyway. www.ccwa.org.au/yeelirrie

May 5, 2017 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Opposition to nuclear, reference, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

ERA boss pushes nuclear power as energy source for Australia

Top End uranium miner pushes nuclear power into Australia’s future energy mix as supply debate continues, ABC Rural By Carl Curtain “….Energy Resources Australia (ERA), which operates a uranium mine near Jabiru, held its annual general meeting in Darwin on Wednesday.

With Australia in the grip of a so-called energy crisis as a major gas shortage looms in 2018, chairman Peter Mansell did not miss the opportunity to press his company’s view on the national debate underway.

While he made it clear any future expansion of Ranger uranium mine depended on economic viability, he said a national discussion on nuclear power would provide a boost to the sector.

Although mining ceased at the site in 2012, stockpiled ore continues to be processed, with the operating lease due to expire in 2021.

ERA also holds an option to expand underground via its mothballed Ranger 3 Deeps project, but would face resistance from traditional owners……..http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-12/energy-resources-australia-uranium-mining-nuclear-power-agm/8438800

April 14, 2017 Posted by | Northern Territory, uranium | Leave a comment

Uranium mining OR rare and beautiful Night Parrot?

Still here: Night Parrot rediscovery in WA raises questions for mining, The Conversation, , Edith Cowan University, March 29, 2017 The Night Parrot is unquestionably one of Australia’s most enigmatic, elusive and enthralling species. The final frontier of Australian ornithology, this cryptic parrot eluded dedicated expeditions to find it for nearly half a century.

Last week, a momentous chapter in the Night Parrot story was written, with the first photograph of a live Night Parrot in Western Australia. The photos come in the wake of several other recent sightings, including the parrot’s rediscovery in Queensland in 2013.

Despite media reports, the parrot has never been officially listed as extinct, with sporadic evidence of its existence throughout the 20th century. But now we know for sure that the parrots are alive and found across the continent, we can move on to making sure they remain so in the future.

Mystery bird  We know that Night Parrots favour spinifex or tussock grasslands, often close to inland wetland systems. But the areas of potential habitat are vast throughout inland Australia.

The Night Parrot has been listed as endangered in the Action Plan for Australian Birds since 1992. It is listed as endangered under federal legislation…….

The significance of the latest find is immense…….The latest record cements the fact that Night Parrots are present at several locations in WA and potentially throughout arid Australia, including in regions rich in mineral resources.

In contrast to the Queensland populations, which have so far been found in national parks and pastoral leases, the WA situation sets up a quandary for how to manage development, Night Parrots and mining…….

Recent developments by other WA resource companies have seldom considered Night Parrots. My personal experience is that surveys usually look for endangered mammals such as Northern Quolls and Bilbies, but rarely search properly for Night Parrots. This is likely due to two main reasons.

The first is the incredibly cryptic nature of the Night Parrot. Clearly the species has evaded detection for so long because it is difficult to find.

The second is what I term “the Thylacine factor”. The only equivalent species in Australia that has the same degree of scepticism and mythology is the Thylacine.

Thylacines have (so far) not been rediscovered. But developers, consultants and regulators take the same attitude to Night Parrot sightings. The parrots are often seen as a mythical animal that doesn’t exist. The idea of looking for them is met with mirth……..

Let’s hope government bodies will strongly enforce the requirement to search for Night Parrots in all areas of potential habitat within their known current and historic range. This should ensure that we don’t lose any parrots before they are even found. https://theconversation.com/still-here-night-parrot-rediscovery-in-wa-raises-questions-for-mining-75384

March 31, 2017 Posted by | environment, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Radioactive soil dumped at Mary Kathleen mine

Cabinet papers: Radioactive soil from UQ dumped at Mary Kathleen mine http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/queensland-government/cabinet-papers-radioactive-soil-from-uq-dumped-at-mary-kathleen-mine/news-story/9bad4b01ffb900f38233aa87474d0cfd  January 1, 2017  A HUGE amount of radioactive soil – enough to top-dress a football oval – from the University of Queensland was dumped in the disused Mary Kathleen open-cut uranium mine north of Mount Isa in June 1986 with the approval of the Bjelke-Petersen government.

Cabinet papers released today after 30 years reveal a submission in August 1986 from then mines minister Ivan Gibbs, outlining how 330 cubic metres of contaminated soil was trucked to the mine site and unloaded into the water.

The submission said that in 1984, the UQ Experimental Mine at Indooroopilly was found to have radioactive material from uranium ore samples taken at the Anderson Lode (14km west of Mount Isa).

“Officers of the Health Department carried out a detailed survey of the site and concluded that the pilot plant tailings had caused contamination of the soil under and around the stockpile area, the total mass of contaminated material required to be moved amounting to about 330 cubic metres,” Gibbs’ submission said.

“Discussions were held with officers of my department to identify a suitable site for disposal of the material and I approved for it to be dumped into the abandoned open cut.

“Expert advice has been received that seepage will not take place from the open cut to the surrounding rocks, and studies have shown that the water level in the open cut will stabilise at least 40m below the overflow level.’’

Gibbs said the soil was classed “low specific activity material’’ under the code of practice for the safe transport of radioactive substances. A convoy of trucks transported the soil to the open-cut mine and dumped it below water level. “The access ramp was sealed with large rocks,’’ Gibbs said. “Each truck was washed down and checked for zero radioactive contamination.”

The submission stated that the government was satisfied that material in the abandoned mine would not have any effect on surface or groundwater in the area.

Gibbs said local National Party MP Bob Katter and Mount Isa mayor Tony McGrady objected to the disposal and sought assurances that no more soil would be dumped there.

Gibbs said: “Although it is highly unlikely that the cost of transporting any radioactive material to Mary Kathleen would be justified in future, the possibility of using the abandoned open cut for special cases should not be totally excluded.’’

March 27, 2017 Posted by | Northern Territory, uranium, wastes | Leave a comment

Fukushima was fuelled by Australian uranium. Time to reconsider this unethical and failing trade

We urgently need a genuine and disinterested examination of the costs and consequences of Australia’s role in fuelling the international nuclear trade.

Earlier this decade the Nobel Peace Prize winning International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War’s (IPPNW) called for a global ban on uranium mining after finding:

‘Uranium ore mining and the production of uranium oxide (yellowcake) are irresponsible and represent a grave threat to health and to the environment. Both processes involve an elementary violation of human rights and their use lead to an incalculable risk for world peace and an obstacle to nuclear disarmament.’

Six years on from Fukushima: Facing the fallout, Independent Australia,  11 March 2017,  Six years after the Fukushima disaster, it’s long overdue for Australia’s nuclear apologists to face up to their responsibilities, writes Dave Sweeney.

SIX YEARS is a long time to do nothing.     Australian governments of all shades routinely claim they are on the front foot — innovative, agile and responsive. The Australian mining industry’s rhetoric is full of commitments to world’s best practise, highest standards and innovative community engagement.

But when it comes to the under-performing uranium sector, these adjectives and assurances are simply cover for a profound retreat from responsibility…….

While the headlines might have faded, the radiation, dislocation and complexity has not. Lives have been utterly disrupted and altered, and Fukushima remains a costly, complex and continuing nuclear crisis, and an unresolved environmental and social tragedy today.

So what does this sad story have to do with Australian Government, and mining industry inaction and denial?

Lots. Fukushima was directly fuelled by Australian uranium. Fukushima’s radioactive fallout started its life as a rock in Australia.

In October 2011, there was formal confirmation from the Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office (ASNO) that

Australian obligated nuclear material (uranium) was at the Fukushima Daiichi site and in each of the reactors.’

Now, Australia rips and ships many minerals to many places and it would be unreasonable to put too much responsibility on the supply chain — no one holds a local miner culpable for a fatal motor accident in a car made overseas from Australian origin iron ore.

But uranium is different. Continue reading

March 13, 2017 Posted by | religion and ethics, uranium | Leave a comment