The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Coal is subsidised by $billions, in USA and Australia

fossil-fuel-industryUS and Australian taxpayers pay billions a year to fund coal – report,

 Ending US subsidies would lead to cuts in coal use equivalent to shutting up to 32 coal-fired power stations, according to the report. , 16 Sept 15

Ending subsidies, that amount to almost a quarter of the sale price in some cases, would hugely reduce carbon emissions, new research reveals

Coal subsidies are costing US and Australian taxpayers billions of dollars a year, according to a new report.

The research examined the subsidies given to coal production in the US’s largest coal field, the Powder River Basin, and found they totalled $2.9bn (£1.9bn) a year. This equates to $8 per tonne, almost 25% of the sale price.

Ending the subsidies would lead to cuts in coal use equivalent to shutting up to 32 coal-fired power stations, the researchers found, leading to a large reduction in carbon emissions.

The report also analysed Australia’s exporting of coal for power stations in Asia and found these came to $1.3bn a year, or $4 a tonne. Ending these subsidies would cut demand by up to 7%, a smaller impact than in the US because coal users could buy supplies from other countries.

“The fossil fuel industry has gamed energy market consumers, with numerous subsidies evident over the long term,” said Tim Buckley, at the Institute forEnergy Economics and Financial Analysis, who worked on the report. “Any discussion of cost competitiveness of renewable energy and energy efficiency needs to take into account the decades of extensive subsidies evident for the coal industry and that, in many cases, remain in place today.”

Luke Sussams, senior researcher at Carbon Tracker Initiative, also part of the research team, said: “Policy makers concerned about climate change and a level playing field in energy markets should look to take coordinated action to remove the distortions to production these subsidies create.”

The subsidies given to coal companies included tax breaks, cheap leases, government-funded infrastructure including railways and ports and allowing inadequate funding of clean-up operation after mining ends.

The G20 nations pledged to end fossil fuel subsidies in 2009, but little action has been taken. However, falling oil and coal prices in the last year have seen some countries starting to reduce subsidies.

A recent study by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) took into account not just direct subsidies but also the cost to nations of the damage caused by air pollution and global warming. It estimated coal, oil and gas were being subsidised by $5.3trn a year, more than the total health spending of all the world’s governments. Much of the cost is due to the illness and death caused by air pollution.

“Eliminating coal subsidies in the Powder River Basin and throughout the world, is an obvious, no-regrets climate strategy,” said Doug Koplow, of Earth Track and another member of the research team.

The new report, called Assessing Thermal Coal Production Subsidies, was produced by the Carbon Tracker Initiative, Energy Transition Advisors, the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis and Earth Track.

September 18, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, business and costs, climate change, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Australia’s and New Zealand’s Prime Ministers just don’t care about Pacific Islands with sea levels rising

Abbott-fiddling-global-warmTony Abbott faces down Pacific island nations’ calls for tougher action on climate change
ABC Radio AM  By Eric Tlozek in Port Moresby, 11 Sept 15  
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has held his Government’s line on climate change despite pleas from low-lying Pacific island nations for a stronger stance on emissions and temperature rises.

Both Mr Abbott and New Zealand prime minister John Key refused to go further than their existing commitments on global warming at the Pacific Islands Forum in Port Moresby.

Some Pacific island leaders say they are disappointed in the leaders for putting economic growth ahead of the survival of communities in small Pacific nations.

Kiribati 15

“Australia and New Zealand have made no additional commitments when it comes to climate change,” Mr Abbott told reporters after the meeting last night……….

Pacific island nations had said the meeting was their last chance to highlight the threat they face from climate change, before the UN Climate Conference in Paris.The Australian response disappointed leaders who say some people are already being forced out of their homes by rising salinity, lack of water, or damage from severe storms or high tides………

September 14, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, climate change, New Zealand, OCEANIA | Leave a comment

South Australia’s Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission – conflict of interest revealed.

scrutiny-Royal-Commission CHAINSubmission To The Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal
Commission Regarding Issues Papers 1 and 4 byYurij Poetzl

I’m a private citizen and have no vested interest in the nuclear industry; however the nuclear industry does direct ly impact me, my family and my friends As a member of the public I wish to give evidence and express my concerns in regard to the issues being examined by the Royal Commission.

It is valid to examine economics and risks relating to the nuclear industry; however is the Royal Commission a fair and objective examination of the Nuclear Cycle? It has been disclosed that Kevin Scarce Is a shareholder in the Rio Tinto Group,who own and operate Scarce,--Kevin-glowuranium mines in Australia and internationally. ls this a conflict of interest for the Royal Commissioner? It is of great concern that the Royal Commissioner has selected predominantly pro-nuclear experts for the R.C’s Advisory Committee (the single exception being Professor lan Lowe). See Appendix 1.

It also seems remiss that there isn’t any health or medical professionals engaged in the R.C’s Expert Advisory Committee or Key Commission staff. It’s well documented that by-products of the nuclear industry can have adverse effects on the health of the global community for many future generations. The omission of health experts makes me question whether the R.C is truly considering what is in my and the general public’s best interest.

The Public Health Association of Australia have made their position clear in regard to the R.C and the Nuclear Industry, see http :1 /www .phaa. net. au/ documents/item/51 0 or http://www  The Royal Commission could prove to be pivotal in South Australia’s future having significant and far reaching consequences, affecting many future generations; however, was the process leading toward the establishment the Royal Commission flawed?

The S.A. public (and wider global communit y) deserve a balanced and unbiased assessment of the issues raised Appendix 2. Contains questions regarding issues papers 1 and 4  Yours sincerely Yurij Poetzl

Appendix. 1 4 of the 5 Royal Commissions Expert Advisory Committee appear to be pro nuclear. They are Professor Barry Brook, Dr Timothy Stone, John Carlson AM and Dr Leanna Read. Below is a brief summary oftheir involvement in the nuclear industry Professor Barry Brook is an active advocate of the Nuclear Industry. The self described”Promethean Environmentalist” is openly critical of people who have concerns regarding the Industry. Professor Brook is the author of, or contributor to several pro nuclear publications such as; Key role for nuclear energy in global biodiversity conservation, Australia’s nuclear options and, An Open Letter to Environmentalists on Nuclear Energy. To name a few.

Dr Timothy Stone is an advocate for nuclear power generation and nuclear industrial expansion in Australia. In the UK Dr Stone has held the position of Expert Chair ofthe Office for Nuclear Development and he is currently on the board of Horizon Nuclear Power as non-executive Director John Carlson AM has been Director General of the Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office. In part 6 of the introduction to Mr Carlson’s paper “Nuclear power for Australia”- an outline of the key issues he claims “Nuclear has a major advantage over other energy sources”. Later in the same document Mr Carlson states “Currently both major parties say that nuclear power is “offlimits”. While this is disappointing, at least it ensures neither side is making statements tlhat will later be embarrassing to retract” It is clear that Mr Carlson is pro nuclear providing the appropriate safeguards are met

Dr Leanna Read has publicly stated that she “has an open mind” regarding the Nuclear Industry. Dr Read is a Fellow of the Australian Academy ofTechnological Sciences and Engineering, which advocated for nuclear power in Australia in August 2014. This seems to contradict Dr Read’s claims of impartiality toward the nuclear industry Given the information in Appendix 1, can the Royal Commission be considered truly independent?

Appendix 2

  • Question: 1. Even with best practice and best intentions, industrial accidents happen. What infrastructure is currently in place, should a truck loaded with uranium oxide be involved in an accident in the Metropolitan area and whilst doing so, have a breach of its load or catch fire?
  • Question: 2. Is it possible to insure against a nuclear mishap and how is Public Liability insurance affected in an accident scenario?
  • Question: 3.Many environmentalists believe that The Roxby Downs Indenture Act 1982 al lows wide ranging exemptions from key environmental laws such as the SA Environmental Protection Act 1993, Freedom of information Act 1991 and the Natural Resources Act 2004 critical water resources and Great Artesian Basin. Is this true?
  • Question: 4. If the answer to question 3 is true, please explain how these exemptions are in the public interest?
  • Question: 5.1s it possible that similar exemptions will be extended to waste dumps, uranium enrichment operations or nuclear power stations?
  • Question: 6. Recent revelations by the EPA {Environmental Protection Agency) reveal widespread and irreversible groundwater contamination by industrial practices in several of Adelaide’s suburbs. Wouldn’t it be prudent for the Commissions terms of reference to contain a review of current uranium mining and transport practices?
  • Question: 7. Would it be sensible to hold a review of the current condition of waterways and aquifers affected by mining practices before an expansion of SA’s nuclear industry commences?
  • Question: 8. Since the proposed expansion of Olympic Dam a few years ago, has the SA public been receiving fair and balanced media coverage on the nuclear Industry,  particularly in printed media?
  • Question: 9. What has been the ratio of Pro/Con nuclear industry stories and editorials in the Advertiser Newspaper since 201 0?
  • Question: 10. What influence has this ratio had on the general public’s current view towards the nuclear industry?
  • Question: 11. Will the commission call on medical and health specialists to give their perspectives on the nuclear industry and its impact on workers within the industry and the wider community?
  • Question: 12. Can Nuclear Energy really be defined as a low carbon emission energy source when millions of litres of Diesel are consumed in the Nuclear Cycle annually, particularly in the mining and transport of uranium oxide?
  • Question: 13. Uranium waste products can take hundreds of thousands of years to halve their level of toxicity. Pyramids are amongst the oldest surviving manmade structures and are no more than 5000 years old. Therefore what assurances are there, that nuclear waste can be safely stored over much longer periods oftime?
  • Question 14.1f South Australia is perceived to be a nuclear waste site by the global community, what will the impact be on Tourism, Real Estate, Food, Wine and manufacturing industries be?
  • Question 15.Highly toxic Radon gas is released by the mining activities at Roxby downs and apparently can be detected in Antarctica. This gas must pass through Adelaide to get there. What is the effect of Radon gas to workers in the mines and what impact does it have on the wider community?
  • Question: 16. What is the volume of airborne radioactive dust released into atmosphere by mining and storage of tailings exposed to the wind?
  • Question: 17.What impact does radioactive dust released by mining practices, have on the Australian public, fauna and flora?
  • Question: 18.Presumably nuclear waste will be transported from Port Adelaide to its storage destination. What would be the outcome, in the advent of an accident, or fire to the transport within the M etropolitan area?
  • Question: 19. 33.6 percent of Australian uranium is exported to North America. The US military has depleted uranium coated ammunitions and armaments, such as bullets and tank shielding. There have been reports claiming an alarming rise of birth defects to children of returned US soldiers and civilians occupying militarised zones. These reports claim the birth defects can be attributed to use of depleted uranium coated ordnance. What checks are in place to guarantee no Australian uranium or its by-products is used to coat US military
  • Question: 20. Has uranium coated ordinance or tank shielding been used by the United States Army in war games in central Australia?
  • Question: 21. Prior to his selection as “Chair of the Royal Commission” Kevin Scarce had aligned himself with CEDA (the Committee for Economic Development In Australia). CEDA’s Policy Perspectives of Nov 2011 clearly supports and promotes the growth of South Australia’s nuclear industry. Is this a conflict of interest for the Royal Commissioner?
  • Question: 22.There are cl ips on You T ube(see Aug 12th 2014) where Kevin Scarce confirms his association with CEDA, using terms like “we were able to get our draft report considered by government. ” Given his connection with CEDA and their pro nuclear stance, is Kevin Scarce truly impartial and unbiased in regard to South Australia’s nuclear issues?
  • In Summary To be considered an effective, balanced, honest and legitimate assessment of SA’s role in the nuclear cycle, the Royal Commission needs to assess and answer many more tough questions than the ones listed above. Kind regards Yu.rij Poetzl Adelaide South Australia 

September 10, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, secrets,lies and civil liberties, spinbuster | 3 Comments

South Australia Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission gets some crummy Submissions

South Australia is having a Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission, with the goal of making that State the world’s nuclear toilet, and guinea pig for new experimental nukes. They invited submissions (published at Of course nuclear companies are sending them in. But the rules are that the corporate submissions don’t have to be published. So the nuclear lobby has to rely mainly on non-corporate enthusiasts for published submissions.

And boy – do some of them put in crummy submissions.

I was particularly taken with this one, and the author’s idea that falls from solar paneled roofs are  a bigger health problem than Fukushima radiation. 

scrutiny-Royal-Commission CHAINGeoff Russell, Extract from Submission to the South Australian Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission “……The Royal Commission is uniquely placed to learn from the past, but it will need to deal with the drivers of nuclear fear in the community. To build confidence in the community, the Commission’s report will need to convince both sides of politics to speak with one voice about the misinformation that drove (and drives) the Fukushima evacuation.

Appeasement, in the form of more and more levels of safeguards and protocols to attempt to say that “it can’t happen here” isn’t the answer. There will always be accidents despite every effort to avoid them. Planes still crash, but people understand the relative risks and board them regardless of personal fear.

They understand that fear is their personal problem and not a function of the objective facts. So it’s time to put nuclear accidents into perspective and stop treating them as something fundamentally different.

The fear and irrationality at Fukushima saw people die to avoid a trivial risk. Governments are supposed to protect people from nutters, not act on their behalf.

All energy sources have risks and in a rational world they’d be compared according to proper measures of suffering and disability; the simple trigger sequence logic (“nuclear -> cancer -> end of civilisation”) of decades past shouldn’t be allowed to influence decision making in 2015.

In Australia in 2010-11 there were 7730 Worker’s45 Compensation claims for serious injury resulting from falls from a height. How many were associated with rooftop solar panels? As far as I can see, nobody is even counting, but a million solar rooftops means more people on ladders; many of them amateurs. This is real danger, the kind that can put you in a wheel chair for the rest of your life. A proper comparison of nuclear risks with those of other energy sources will measure and include such risks along with the considerable risks associated with not avoiding continued climate destabilisation because we acted too slowly. We need safe clean energy and climate scientists say we need it fast. The Royal Commission will need to break with past traditions and confront nuclear fear head on and call it for what it is.”

September 6, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Pacific Island Forum: theme will be Australia’s Inaction on Climate CHnage

Australia’s inaction on climate change set to dominate Pacific Island talks, Guardian, 6 Sept 15  Australia and New Zealand are expected to face strong criticism from Pacific Island leaders disappointed the nations are not doing more to combat climate change.


The issue will likely dominate this week’s Pacific Islands Forum leaders summit in Port Moresby, ahead of the United Nations climate change conference in Paris later in the year.

Pacific leaders want the world to work on restricting the global warming temperature rise to 1.5C, fearing a 2C target will risk the survival of many tiny islands.

Natural disaster recovery will be fresh on their minds. The summit starts on Monday, six months after Cyclone Pam, which flattened much of Vanuatu and caused heavy flooding on Tuvalu, Kiribati and the Marshall Islands.

Host nation Papua New Guinea is grappling with the opposite problem – what could be its worst drought in 20 years and a potential food crisis.

The prime minister, Peter O’Neill, has said El Niño conditions have been exacerbated by the effects of climate change.

The Solomon Islands and Vanuatu are also experiencing a dry spell………

The Pacific Island Forum runs from 7-11 September.

September 6, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, climate change, OCEANIA | Leave a comment

Twisting the nuclear story in the pro corporate direction

In Muller’s previous presentations on his YouTube show Veritasium, he has consistently confused the banana-spin
naturally occurring radioactive potassium K, with the nuclear fission produced radioactive isotopes…..Muller seems to have no understanding of the way in which bananas are used in the body

What Muller and Thomas are doing is following the script from the tobacco and asbestos industries.

This documentary “Uranium – twisting the Dragon’s Tail” is just Series One. I would love to know who helped to fund Gene Pool Productions for PBS and SBS to produce this. I’m betting that Series Two will follow before long, with a glossy and positive story about Generation IV nuclear reactors.

Muller, DerekThe half lie of the Dragon’s Tail. Online opinion,  By Noel Wauchope  Thursday, 27 August 2015 
The documentary “Uranium – Twisting the Dragon’s Tail” is the latest glossy and highly sophisticated soft sell for the nuclear industry. It’s also, if you look at it closely, rather confusing.

I will start from the end, because that’s where the main message of this film comes out clearly “Just imagine a world where reactors can produce immense amounts of clean, safe, energy. There is no such thing as a future without uranium.” These final words are said against a background of soaring celestial choirs.

This seems to be the formula now, in nuclear promotion. The 2013 propaganda film “Pandora’s Promise” carried the same positive message – an ever rocketing energy demand to be met by ever increasing, indeed limitless, electrical energy provided by new nuclear reactors.

But, like ‘Pandora’s Promise’, this new documentary devotes the first two thirds of its series to discussing the negative aspects of the nuclear industry. Episode One covers its history, ill effects of radiation, the atomic bomb and its use. Episode Two continues this, with a sympathetic attitude to Australian Aboriginal concerns.

Unlike “Pandora’s Promise” this film does not denigrate anti-nuclear activists, and there is no attempt to ridicule Dr Helen Caldicott, as “Pandora’s Promise” did.

Indeed, the first two episodes are beautifully clear and accurate, as well as entertaining. Really, I couldn’t criticise them.

With the final episode – that’s when the message kicks in, and also when it gets confusing…….

Muller consistently mixes up “natural” radiation with ionising radiation from nuclear fission. He talks about background radiation as “natural”. There’s no mention of the increased ionising radiation in the biosphere as a result of the atomic bomb testing in the 1950s and 60s.

In Muller’s previous presentations on his YouTube show Veritasium, he has consistently confused the naturally occurring radioactive potassium K, with the nuclear fission produced radioactive isotopes, such as caesium 137 and strontium 90. As part of this confusion he constantly uses bananas as a comparison

Cesium-137 is 12 million times more radioactive than potassium-40. Another highly-radioactive fission product, strontium-90, releases almost 20 million times more radiation per unit mass than does potassium-40. Muller seems to have no understanding of the way in which bananas are used in the body. The human species has had thousands of years of experience with bananas and other foods containing potassium 40 (K40). We have a natural trace level of K40 in our bodies. When we eat bananas, our bodies excrete the extra cesium, so by the natural process of homeostasis, our K40 level remains the same. This is not the case with the very recently created radioactive isotopes from nuclear fission; they remain….., there is absolutely no mention of the effects of internal emitters of radiation – that is, the radioactive isotopes breathed in or ingested, that can sit in a body’s organs for years, decades, emitting high dose gamma radiation..

Moving on to the Fukushima nuclear accident, we are told that the psychological effects are the serious ones. What a great piece of spin this is! Of course the psychological effects are extremely serious. Wouldn’t you be worried, if you were a pregnant woman, or if you feared that your child might later get leukaemia, because you decided to return to a radioactive environment? It is the reality of increased risk of fatal illness that accentuates the other disastrous consequences of that accident.

Prof Thomas assures us “The most important studies will be those on the mental effects”. In the context of this documentary, that just makes me envisage more documentaries like this one – with more spin about how we mustn’t worry about ionising radiation…….

The documentary appeared in Australia at a very convenient time for the South Australian Royal Commission. Dr Muller often covers his back with remarks about nuclear weapons “the most savage thing that man has ever built” and like his “feeling that renewables are going so fast – perhaps we can use alternatives”. But ultimately, his is a message of confidence in nuclear power. He says “Every year uranium saves more lives than it has ever destroyed” Really? Where are the facts to back up these kinds of statements? And all is spoken with guru like solemnity, and the backing of soaring holy choral music……..

What Muller and Thomas are doing is following the script from the tobacco and asbestos industries. They know full well that the toll of cancers, heart conditions, birth defects, from persistent exposure to ionising radiation will not become apparent for decades. They would have us believe that it will be impossible to establish ionising radiation as the cause of this toll of suffering and death…….

We are living in a strange time, where science is valued if it brings a benefit to corporations. Dr Derek Muller and Professor Geraldine Thomas are comfortably ensconced in that world. But there must be some scientists out there who are like Sir Richard Doll, and whose work is motivated by the public good.

And we desperately need those scientists.

This documentary “Uranium – Twisting the Dragon’s Tail” is just Series One. I would love to know who helped to fund Gene Pool Productions for PBS and SBS to produce this. I’m betting that Series Two will follow before long, with a glossy and positive story about Generation IV nuclear reactors.

August 27, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, AUSTRALIA, media | Leave a comment

Forget the politics: carbon taxing is the best way to limit greenhouse emissions

Abbott-chicken-littleWas carbon taxation ever given a fair go?……..

Pricing carbon: the simpler, the better..….. If we are to reduce carbon-emitting activities, the prices of those activities must be increased. Appropriate prices are the key here, and one way to make people happier about paying them is to make them as simple and transparent as possible. That’s what a carbon tax does

Politics aside, a simple carbon tax makes more sense than a convoluted emissions trading scheme,
The Conversation,  Associate Professor at University of Western Australia  Adjunct Lecturer, Law School at University of Notre Dame Australia July 31, 2015 Writing recently on The Conversation, Clive Hamilton correctly pointed out that an emissions trading scheme (ETS) can in no sense be called a tax – the two are fundamentally different. Under an ETS, the amount of emissions is fixed by the government and the market then sets the price; under a carbon tax, the price of emissions is fixed and polluters decide how much to emit.

In this sense, Hamilton is right to opine that “emissions trading is the opposite of a carbon tax”. But during Australia’s fractious debate about climate policy in recent years, the two have often been conflated together, and we have generally been starved of sober analysis of the contrasting merits of different policy instruments.

To put it more succinctly, what are the actual merits of a carbon tax, specifically as opposed to an ETS?

Start small

A carbon tax could begin at a relatively low level, to avoid economic disruption, and then could increase steadily and predictably over time. This would encourage affected companies to cut their emissions and to use energy more efficiently, in turn encouraging a move to lower-emission technology. As a result, companies that made better progress in cutting their emissions would have fewer costs to pass on to their consumers, leading to more competitive prices.

A carbon tax would provide government revenue which could then be used to reduce or offset other taxes, such as corporate and personal income tax. A carbon tax could be “revenue-neutral”, either through offsetting other taxes or by using the proceeds to subsidise alternative fuel industries and projects.

Taxes are relatively easy to understand, having been around for centuries in one form or another. For Yale University economist William Nordhaus, the advantages are even clearer when compared to the operation of an international ETS. He recently proposed redesigning climate treaties to adopt a “club model” in which participating states enact carbon taxes in concert with one another, which Nordhaus describes as “the easiest way” to deliver costly emissions reductions.

Price-based taxes capture revenue more cheaply and easily than quantitative instruments such as an ETS, not least because tax-collection infrastructure is already in place. Taxation has lower administrative and compliance costs than carbon trading.

Taxation is arguably more direct and transparent than emissions trading, and affords less opportunity for gaming, speculation or corruption; money moves from polluters directly to the government.

A carbon tax provides price certainty and stability (as opposed to the volatility of prices for tradable carbon permits) and a fixed price for carbon emissions across all economic sectors and markets. This price certainty allows corporations more easily to determine the viability of new, clean technology investments.

Finally, the argument for carbon taxation is concisely made by Harvard economist Richard Cooper:

Decisions to consume goods and services made with fossil fuels are made by over a billion households and firms in the world. The best and indeed only way to reach all these decision makers is through the prices they must pay. If we are to reduce CO2-emitting activities, we must raise the prices of those activities. Levying a [tax] … does that directly.

Was carbon taxation ever given a fair go?……..

Pricing carbon: the simpler, the better..….. If we are to reduce carbon-emitting activities, the prices of those activities must be increased. Appropriate prices are the key here, and one way to make people happier about paying them is to make them as simple and transparent as possible. That’s what a carbon tax does.

August 1, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, AUSTRALIA, climate change | Leave a comment

If South Australia gets nuclear facilities, they’ll be endangered by increasing wildfires

If the radiation leak lasts more than a few hours, there is no viable safe plan. If the radiation plume passes, the ground will probably still be contaminated

Wildfires also threaten Nuclear Waste and Nuclear Waste Shipments

flag-AustraliaWildfires and Nuclear Don’t Mix: Lessons from San Onofre and Chernobyl to Australia 
 miningawareness  27 July 15 As the deadline looms (3 Aug.) for comments regarding the risks of the nuclear fuel chain for South Australia – whether uranium mining, which is already occurring, or any proposed additions (uranium enrichment, nuclear energy, nuclear waste), foremost in everyone’s minds should be the
risk of Bushfires (Wildfires), as well as endangerment to the Great Artesian Basin (GAB) aquifer, upon which so much of Australia is dependent for water, and which is being depleted, and most assuredly contaminated, by uranium and other mining: (Australia’s uranium mining “generates less than 0.2 per cent of national export revenue and accounts for less than 0.02 per cent of jobs in Australia. it is laying waste to the land and provided nuclear fuel for Fukushima)

The Australian climate is generally hot, dry and prone to drought. At any time of the year, some parts of Australia are prone to bushfires with the widely varied fire seasons reflected in the continent’s different weather patterns. For most of southern Australia, the danger period is summer and autumn.”

bushfire & rad gif

2015 Wildfires Near Chernobyl

In April of this year, and again from the end of June into mid July, hundreds of firefighters in the Ukraine bravely battled fires in the area of the Chernobyl nuclear power station. Smoldering peat fires were the hardest to put out.
While this represents a serious danger to Europe, it received shockingly little media coverage. Continue reading

July 27, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, climate change, environment | Leave a comment

Machinations of the global nuclear lobby, and Australia’s Royal Commission on the Nuclear Fuel Chain

scrutiny-Royal-Commission CHAINflag-AustraliaLabor veers towards the nuclear idea,7965  21 July 15 The SA Nuclear Royal Commission, the ALP’s postponement of its National Conference nuclear debate and the machinations of the Nuclear For Climate Declaration could herald Australia’s deeper involvement in the nuclear industry, writes Noel Wauchope. “……….

Signing of the Nuclear For Climate Declaration This was done by Australia’s Rob Parker, President of the Australian Nuclear Association, in Paris. 

Admittedly, this happened over a month earlier. However, the nuclear lobby is right now working hard on lobbying the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), with this Declaration.

Australia’s hard-working and poorly funded anti-nuclear movement is currently concentrating on the South Australian
Royal Commission. The Commission is looking increasingly like an arm of the global nuclear lobby. Because of its inadequacies, especially on nuclear wastes (set out very thoroughly here by South Australian Dennis Matthews) and its all too strong connections with the nuclear industry, this is a Royal Commission that might well sink without trace……

Rob Parker talked about the Nuclear For Climate Declaration.

The most important aim of this campaign is to get the UNFCCC to

“… recognise nuclear energy as a low-carbon energy option, and to include it in its climate funding globalnukeNOmechanisms, as is the case for all other low-carbon energy sources.”

Here we see how this ties in with the South Australian Royal Commission…..the global nuclear industry is hanging on the hope that nuclear power will receive government funding when and if it is recognised by the UNFCCC as a clean energy source, apparently essential for combatting global warming……

At this stage, Labor appears to be holding firm to its [anti-nuclear] policy

July 22, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, politics international | Leave a comment

Australia’s Cardinal George Pell criticises Pope Francis for his stand on climate change

Christina Macpherson's websites & blogs

Christina Macpherson’s websites & blogs

I thought we had enough to worry about with our government leader Tony Abbott. Now our religious heavy is out to dceny climate change. I’m ashamed to be Australian!

Cardinal George Pell criticises Pope Francis over climate change stance , SMH, July 19, 2015  Kerrie Armstrong Cardinal George Pell has publicly criticised Pope Francis’ decision to place climate change at the top of the Catholic Church’s agenda.

Cardinal Pell, a well-known climate change skeptic, told the Financial Times the church had “no particular expertise in science”.

“The church has got no mandate from the Lord to pronounce on scientific matters,” he said,

“We believe in the autonomy of science.”

 His comments come a month after Pope Francis released an historic encyclical calling on humanity to fight global warming……….Pope Francis appointed Cardinal Pell to reform the Vatican’s finances nearly 18 months ago.

July 22, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, climate change, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

Ugly Australians, like Paladin Energy, linked to 100s of deaths in uranium mining in Malawi and Namibia

There is a very strong perception that when Australian mining companies come here they take every advantage of regulatory and compliance monitoring weaknesses, and of the huge disparity in power between themselves and affected communities, and aim to get away with things they wouldn’t even think of trying in Australia,”

flag-AustraliaAustralian miners linked to hundreds of deaths, injuries in Africa, SMH,  July 11, 2015 -Will FitzgibbonAustralian mining companies are linked to hundreds of deaths and injuries in Africa, which can go unreported at home. Some of the Australian Securities Exchange-listed companies include state governments as shareholders. One company recorded 38 worker deaths over an eleven-year period.

justiceIn Malawi, litigation continues against Paladin Africa Limited, a subsidiary of Perth-based Paladin Energy, and its subcontractor after an explosion disfigured one worker with such heat that his skin shattered when touched by rescuers. Two others died in the same incident.

Other allegations include employees in South Africa hacking a woman with a machete and Malian police killing two protesters after a mine worker reportedly asked authorities to dislodge a barricade on the road to the mine.

An investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, in collaboration with 13 African reporters, uncovered locally-filed lawsuits, violent protests and community petitions criticising some Australian companies.  Continue reading

July 11, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, environment, health, Malawi, Namibia | Leave a comment

Australian uranium mining company Paladin accused of ribbing off impoverished Malawi

ripoffflag-AustraliaAustralian miner accused of dodging tax in world’s poorest country, The Age, July 11, 2015 – Political reporter  Tax avoidance tactics of multinational companies have angered Australians, but an Australian mining firm used such methods in Malawi. Tax avoidance tactics of multinational companies have angered the public and placed pressure on the Abbott government to prevent profits being exported offshore.

But an Australian uranium miner is defending the use of identical methods to reduce its tax bill in the world’s poorest country, Malawi.

Between 2009 and 2014, Paladin Energy moved $US183 million out of Malawi to a holding company in the Netherlands and then on to Australia.

A 15-page report by London-based ActionAid has found the Dutch transfers and a special royalties deal – in which Malawi’s mining minister agreed to drop the initial tax rate applied to the uranium mine from 5 per cent to 1.5 per cent – have cost the Malawi public $US43 million.

In Africa’s poorest nation, where per capita GDP is just $US226 a year and life expectancy 55, that money could provide the equivalent of 39,000 new teachers or 17,000 nurses, according to the aid group……..

Paladin’s tax-free transfers to the Netherlands were a combination of management fees and interest payments on loans initiated in Australia. The company loaded its African subsidiary up with huge debts, leaving the Kayelekera​ uranium mine in northern Malawi with an 80:20 debt to equity ratio – a financing structure known as “thin capitalisation”.

The Dutch structure allowed Paladin to avoid paying a 15 per cent withholding tax to the Malawi government due to a tax treaty between Malawi and the Netherlands which expired in 2014, saving the company $US7.3 million. Paladin closed the mine in February 2014, citing a “sustained low uranium price”.

ActionAid has accused the company of “treaty shopping” and shortchanging the Malawi people. The country’s nursing ranks have the equivalent of four nurses to every 100 in Australia, despite 10 per cent of Malawi’s population being infected with HIV/AIDS……..

July 11, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, business and costs, Malawi, politics international | Leave a comment

Uranium mining company BHP supports Paris climate talks – in order to promote nuclear power?

Christina Macpherson's websites & blogs

Christina Macpherson’s websites & blogs

As a proud non-subscriber to THE AUSTRALIAN, I haven’t been able to read this article. But on past performance of BHP, I reckon that I can have a pretty good guess on what BHP’s enthusiasm for climate action really means.

Last month, all the nuclear big-wigs met somewhere in Europe to plan a campaign about the Paris Climate Summit in December . The idea is to have nuclear power established as a solution to climate change.

BHP would love that – otherwise they couldn’t give a damn about climate change.

BHP embraces climate debate, THE AUSTRALIAN, ? 8 July 15  
The private sector needs to play a part in this year’s Paris climate talks, says BHP Billiton’s Dean Dalla Valle…. (subscribers only) 

July 10, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, climate change | Leave a comment

A legal win for Australia’s nuclear test veterans

justiceflag-AustraliaRadiation in court: landmark success for Australia’s nuclear veterans, Ecologist  Chris Busby 24th June 2015

A legal judgment in Australia has fatally damaged the ‘official’ ICRP model of health damage by nuclear radiation, writes Chris Busby – reflecting the fact that cancer originates through the mutation of individual cells, not whole organs or organisms. The ruling is good news for Britain’s bomb test veterans whose day in court is coming up; and for all who suffer radiation induced cancers.

At the end of last month the Veterans Appeals Tribunal Decision on the Case Jean Mahoney vs. Australian Repatriation Commission was published.

The result was a win for the appellant, setting aside of the earlier Australian government decision not to grant a pension to the widow of a veteran who worked among the ruins of Hiroshima and later died from metastatic colon cancer.

I was the expert witness in this case and persuaded the Australian Tribunal (in an expert report and with oral cross examination by telephone, Brisbane to Riga) that the radiation risk model of the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) was not applicable to the kind of internal exposure to radioactive particles which her late husband, George Mahoney will have received. Continue reading

June 27, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, Legal | Leave a comment

Rio Tinto pulls out of loss-making Australian uranium mine

graph-down-uraniumflag-AustraliaShares in Rio Tinto’s Australian uranium unit halve, , 12 June 15 Jamie Smyth in Sydney Rio Tinto has withdrawn its support for the expansion of one of the world’s biggest uranium mines, causing shares in its separately listed subsidiary Energy Resources of Australia to almost halve in value.

The decision by the Anglo-Australian miner underscores the difficulties in the nuclear industry following the Fukushima meltdown in 2011, which prompted Japan to mothball its 43 operable reactors.

Since soaring to a record high of US$137 per pound in 2007, uranium prices have fallen to US$35 per pound — a level at which many miners are losing money and new investment does not make economic sense.

“After careful consideration, Rio Tinto has determined that it does not support any further study or the future development” of ERA’s proposed underground uranium mine “due to the project’s economic challenges,” the miner said.

Shares in ERA were down 46 per cent at A$0.70 in mid-afternoon trading in Sydney on Friday.

Up until 2008, the Ranger mine in Australia’s Northern Territory was producing almost 10 per cent of the global supply of uranium. But the open cut mine is now exhausted and ERA was conducting feasibility studies on developing an underground mine, Ranger 3 Deeps.

This week, ERA, which is 68 per cent owned by Rio, said it was committed to revisiting the underground project once the uranium market has recovered. But the decision by Rio to rule out support for the future development of the mine casts serious doubt on whether the project will ever happen………..

June 13, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, business and costs, Uranium | Leave a comment


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