The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

SMR & Thorium proponents desperately promoting their failed plans to Australia

Christina Macpherson's websites & blogs

Christina Macpherson’s websites & blogs

While the BHP-funded Grattan Institute and a number of other “authoritative” bodies tout Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMRs) – powered by Thorium, for Australia, the bottom is falling out of the SMR project.  The big firms involved are pulling out. Westinghouse already has. Babcock and Wilcox will be next.

Lobbyists like the USA’s nuclear front group, the Breakthrough Institute, have worked successfully on Australia’s pro nukers to flog off these (so far non-existent) SMRs to Australia.  Note that they leave out the word “nuclear”, knowing that this word gives their project a bad smell.

However, – forget  the associated bad smells of terrorism targets, proliferation dangers, waste problems that go with these nasty little nuclear reactors.

The biggy is economics. They just don’t stack up economically.  (It’s such bad taste to mention this – but reneweable energy does stack up economically.  And when you’re talking about small decentralised power sources – well – solar and wind are obviously the go.)smr-aUSTRALIA-copy

April 15, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, Christina's notes, marketing | Leave a comment

World Heritage Park in Australia increasingly threatened by uranium mining

the Ranger mine is more than 30 years old and we are increasingly seeing metal fatigue and accidents, such as the one we saw so spectacularly 10 days ago.

Kakadu mine: risk of uranium leakage could be greater than thought
Study shows the radioactive particles can escape into the environment, raising alarms about the national park Oliver Milman, Wednesday 18 December 2013 The risk of uranium leakage from filtration systems used by facilities such as the Ranger mine in Kakadu could be greater than is currently acknowledged, with new research showing that the hazardous substance is far more mobile than previously thought. Continue reading

December 19, 2013 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, environment | Leave a comment

Israel puts pressure on Australia, to disrupt UN-Iran nuclear accord

flag-Israelflag-AustraliaIsrael wants Australia to use its influence in UN Security Council to amend nuclear deal with Iran SMH, December 11, 2013  Hartcher, Israel has urged Australia to use its new found influence to force a much tougher deal on Iran over its nuclear program.

Israel’s Minister for the Economy, Naftali Bennett, told Prime Minister Tony Abbott that Israel ”badly wants a deal” to halt Iran’s nuclear progress, Mr Bennett said.

Israel is deeply unhappy with the terms of the interim deal negotiated by the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – the so-called P5 –   plus Germany on November 24.               ……..Australia can be an important factor in shaping the final deal, due in six months, Mr Bennett said, because it is a member of the UN Security Council next year and also the chairman of the council’s sanctions committee on Iran.

Iran has agreed to freeze parts of its nuclear program and dilute its most highly concentrated uranium in return for a partial easing of the international sanctions that have forced it into recession.

Israel’s essential demand is that Iran be forced to surrender its nuclear fuel-making machinery. Where the P5+1 deal has allowed Iran to keep its centrifuges for concentrating uranium into nuclear fuel, Israel wants them removed. :

December 11, 2013 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, Israel, politics international | Leave a comment

BHP pessimistic about future of uranium market?

Where Olympic Dam is concerned, it’s the outlook for the main commodity—uranium—rather than potential investors that it mostly dislikes.

BHP Warms to Partnerships, But Olympic Dam Remains in the Cold WSJ 10 Dec 13BHP Billiton Ltd. wants to share the love to get its $10 billion Jansen potash project in Canada off the ground. But the world’s biggest mining company is being a determined single when it comes to another costly development: Australia’s Olympic Dam…….

BHP’s reluctance to seek a partner for an expanded Olympic Dam project in South Australia may surprise as it’s stuck on the back burner, squeezed by low commodity prices and high development costs estimated by analysts at around $30 billion. In August last year, BHP said it would look for a less costly design for the Olympic Dam mine, which had been expected to bring in billions in tax dollars and create thousands of jobs. Up to now, it hasn’t announced any new plans for the site.

At first glance, finding a competitor to share development costs and risks with BHP makes sense. If they also bring in new technology then so much the better.

The problem for BHP is that a partner might actually want to get the project moving, even at a much-reduced scale. That would test BHP’s desire to keep annual spending below $15 billion in future, down by a third from last year’s bill totaling $21.7 billion. With uranium prices continuing to hover near eight-year lows, and several countries debating nuclear power in their energy mix, BHP can avoid such tough decisions by keeping full control of the asset.

“We like partnerships,” Mr Mackenzie told U.S. investors. Where Olympic Dam is concerned, it’s the outlook for the main commodity—uranium—rather than potential investors that it mostly dislikes.

December 11, 2013 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, business and costs | Leave a comment

Rio Tinto’s ERA Australian uranium mine has radioactive spill

NT uranium mine suspended after radioactive leak SMH, 10 Dec 13,The federal government has suspended operations at the Ranger uranium mine in the Northern Territory, after a major leak of acid and radioactive slurry at the weekend.

The mine’s operator, Energy Resources of Australia, insists there has been no environmental impact from the million-litre spill, but this view is contested by local indigenous people and environment groups…….

On Friday, workers detected a hole in leach tank one within the mine’s processing area, which has a capacity of about 1.5 million litres.  The next day, the tank split, pouring out a slurry of mud, water, ore and sulphuric acid…….

The NT Environment Centre said it did not believe ERA when the company said there had been no environmental impacts.

”It’s clear there’s contaminated water from the burst tank on soil,” director Stuart Blanch said.

There have been more than 200 safety breaches and incidents over the past 30 years at the site, according to the centre, which says the slurry spill overflowed levee banks designed to contain it and got into the mine’s stormwater drain system.

The regional organiser of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, Bryan Wilkins, said that during the construction and installation of the leaking tank, in 1993 or 1994, the welding was not properly tested. ”I know it wasn’t – I was there,” he said.

An investigation to determine what caused the tank to give way was being commissioned, ERA chief executive Andrea Sutton said…….


December 10, 2013 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, incidents | Leave a comment

Lynas rare earths processing plant has problems of safety, conflicts of interest

“Section 11 of the law allows the minister to direct regulators toward certain policies and so there’s massive conflict of interest,” said Dr Peter Karamoskos, an Australian nuclear radiologist.

Problems at Lynas factory can cause radioactive leaks, say experts The Malaysian Insider, 24 Nov 13, Prevailing problems in waste management, storage, disposal facility and waste cleaning at the Lynas factory can lead to radioactive leakages if the Australian firm fails to address the issues, said experts t at a seminar in Kuala Lumpur today.

The mining company’s refinery near Kuantan, Pahang, has several problems, which experts said in the event of an accident or carelessness, could harm to residents near the factory. Continue reading

November 25, 2013 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, Malaysia, safety | Leave a comment

Australia – now a world pariah with its anti climate action

Australia turns into ‘anti-climate’ force at Warsaw REneweconomy, By  on 19 November 2013It has taken just 7 days, but already the reputation of Australia as a constructive force in international climate policy has been completely trashed – both in terms of its domestic actions and in the wrecking ball tactics it has sent to Warsaw.

Australia is now seen as an “anti-climate” nation that is actively working against any consensus at these talks, as its domestic policies are translated onto the international stage.

Australia has – many times over the 20-plus years of UN-led climate talks – been seen as an outlier, courtesy of its huge reliance on coal power and exports. But its actions in Warsaw have come as a shock to negotiators who are dealing with familiar faces who had been constructive, if not progressive, at previous conferences.

As mentioned in our report yesterday, the most common refrain being heard by Australian representatives is: What is going on down there? Continue reading

November 20, 2013 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, climate change | Leave a comment

Australian uranium miner Paladin in a poor situation, battles to survive

Paladin-thumbWeak uranium price hurts Paladin Nick Sas, The West AustralianNovember 15, 2013, Paladin Energy has underscored the enormity of its battle for survival, admitting its African uranium mines lost $US14.9 million ($15.9 million) in the September quarter despite record production. Continue reading

November 15, 2013 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, business and costs | Leave a comment

Trans Pacific Partnership under a cloud, as people wake up to this corporate rot

The WikiLeaks release comes as developments in the US put the Trans Pacific Partnership under a cloud. More than 20 Republican Congressmen have written to President Barack Obama threatening to withdrawing the ”fast track” negotiating authority that allows him to close a deal. An influential group of Democrats is about to do the same.


Australia backs the US at every turn against its own consumers The Age, November 14, 2013    Economics correspondent,  In public the Australian government is on the side of consumers. Yet behind closed doors it is siding with the US government to block them at every turn.

The extraordinarily detailed information on negotiating positions released by WikiLeaks shows Australia repeatedly backing the interests of the US against the objections of countries including Canada, New Zealand, Japan, Singapore and Vietnam on questions involving intellectual property. Australia is often the only one of the 12 parties to the Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations to do so…….. Continue reading

November 15, 2013 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Film “Utopia” shows Australia’s history of oppression of Aboriginal people

John Pilger’s film Utopia, about Australia, is to be released in British cinemas on 15 November and in Australia in January


In the lucky country of Australia apartheid is alive and kicking  The Guardian, Wednesday 6 November 2013  …….The parliament stands in Barton, a suburb of Canberra named after the first prime minister of Australia, Edmund Barton, who drew up the White Australia Policy in 1901. “The doctrine of the equality of man,” said Barton, “was never intended to apply” to those not British and white-skinned.

Barton’s concern was the Chinese, known as the yellow peril; he made no mention of the oldest, most enduring human presence on Earth: the first Australians. They did not exist. Their sophisticated care of a harsh land was of no interest. Their epic resistance did not happen. Of those who fought the British invaders of Australia, the Sydney Monitor reported in 1838: “It was resolved to exterminate the whole race of blacks in that quarter.” Today, the survivors are a shaming national secret…….

According to the Credit Suisse Global Wealth report, Australia is the richest place on Earth.

Politicians in Canberra are among the wealthiest citizens. Their self-endowment is legendary. …… Continue reading

November 6, 2013 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, Resources -audiovicual | Leave a comment

With Murdoch Block you can free yourself from Rupert Murdoch’s disinformation

News-Limited1How to block Murdoch   Independent Australia, Torin Peel 3 November 2013,  Sick of News Corp spin? Technology whiz Torin Peel explains how to erase Rupert Murdoch’s propaganda from your computer screens completely.  IF YOU’RE ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE who simply won’t stand for Rupert Murdoch’s crap anymore, now might be the time to completely erase him from your computer screens for good. There are many ways to do this, and they’re remarkably simple.

If you’re ready to block News Corpse, the first way we can do this is using a plugin for Google Chrome. If you don’t use Chrome, I recommend you download it. It’s a lot faster and more modern than Internet Explorer. It’s also a lot easier to use and works better with most web pages, including websites like Twitter and Facebook.

The Google Chrome plugin is called Murdoch Block, and can be added to Chrome with relative ease through the Chrome extensions library……,5861

November 4, 2013 Posted by | 2 WORLD, AUSTRALIA, media | Leave a comment

Trans Pacific Partnership kept secret from Australian citizens, but available to USA corporations

Right now we don’t know exactly what will be in the TPP, because it’s kept completely secret, unless you’re fortunate enough to be a wealthy lobbying organisation in the United States, who are provided access to the text through the US Trade Representative (USTR), and have direct input into it. 

We urge the Abbott Government to release the TPP text before it’s too late to fix. Let’s not cripple Australian innovation in the interests of American profits.

logo-anti-TPPWhy can’t Australian citizens read the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement? Journalists have been banned from a briefing about the TPP. Why the secrecy – and why can only wealthy lobbyists access the text? Only in Australia could the phrase “public briefing” mean that the meeting will be held behind closed doors, where journalists are not welcome.

Yesterday, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) rescinded the invitations of several journalists to attend a public briefing regarding a multilateral trade agreement under negotiation called theTrans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP).

The TPP is an extensive agreement that covers typical topics such as goods and services, but also contains chapters on labour laws, intellectual property, the environment and investor-state dispute settlement provisions. This agreement is currently being negotiated completely opaquely between the US, Japan, Australia, Peru, Malaysia, Vietnam, New Zealand, Chile, Singapore, Canada, Mexico, and Brunei Darussalam. DFAT claims that it will be finished negotiating by the end of the year.

If you’ve never heard of the TPP, here’s a summary of the major issues: Continue reading

November 1, 2013 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | 3 Comments

Australian rare earths company Lynas still in trouble in Malaysia

Residents though remain highly sceptical and opposition candidates running on an anti-Lynas platform won a raft of seats around the plant, in the May general election.

Lynas lost more than $107 million last financial year, and has informed the market that it’s set to report another quarter of reduced output, as it continues to work on the plant’s operational issues.

Deutsche Bank’s Chris Terry says the company’s share price is now around 40 cents, compared with its peak value of $2.30 in early 2011

Australian rare earths miner Lynas Corporation sparks fresh anger in Malaysia ABC News, Kate Arnott for Newsline 9 Oct 13Australian rare earths miner Lynas Corporation is refusing to publicly disclose the location of a permanent waste storage facility for its processing plant in Malaysia.

Earlier this year, Lynas started commercial production of rare earths, which are used in a wide range of high tech equipment, but the plant on the east coast of peninsular Malaysia has been plagued by operational problems. Continue reading

October 10, 2013 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, rare earths | Leave a comment

Uranium company Paladin downgraded by investment analysts

Translating business language  - “outperform”  - means good to invest. “Sector Perform” mean s not so good

Outperform. The stock’s total return is projected to exceed the average return of the industry (or its sector or its peers). This means the stock will perform better than the competition and is likely rated a “Buy”.

 Sector  Perform). The stock is expected to perform in line with the average return of the market or sector or its peers. Similar to a “Hold” or a “Neutral” rating.

Paladin Energy Limited Downgraded to Sector Perform at RBC Capital (PDN) North fork October 2nd, 2013 Paladin Energy Limited (ASX:PDN) was downgraded by investment analysts at RBC Capital from an “outperform” rating to a “sector perform” rating in a note issued to investors on Wednesday, American Banking News reports. They currently have a A$0.80 ($0.75) price target on the stock……..

A number of other analysts have also recently weighed in on PDN. Analysts at TD Securities cut their price target on shares of Paladin Energy Limited (ASX:PDN) from A$0.90 ($0.84) to A$0.65 ($0.61) in a research note to investors on Friday, August 30th. They now have a “hold” rating on the stock. Separately, analysts at BMO Capital Markets cut their price target on shares of Paladin Energy Limited (ASX:PDN) from A$0.80 ($0.75) to A$0.60 ($0.56) in a research note to investors on Friday, August 30th. Finally, analysts at Raymond James downgraded shares of Paladin Energy Limited (ASX:PDN) from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating in a research note to investors on Monday, August 5th. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and one has issued a buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of A$0.96 ($0.90).

Paladin Energy Ltd (ASX:PDN) is a uranium production company with projects in Australia and two operating mines in Africa.

October 4, 2013 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, business and costs | 1 Comment

Cripplingly low uranium price forces Paladin to cut costs

Paladin cuts top-echelon base salaries, overall spending amid low uranium price TIMES COLONIST OCTOBER 2, 2013 PERTH, Australia – Paladin Energy Ltd (TSX:PDN) is cutting the base salaries of its board and management by 10 per cent as part of cost-saving measures due to low spot prices for uranium — its main commodity.

In total, the miner — which lists its shares on the Toronto and Australian stock markets — is aiming to reduce cash costs for its 2014 financial year by US$23 million.


The cuts include a $10.8-million reduction in spending on overhead and exploration and a US$12.4-million reduction in discretionary capital spending at two mines in southern Africa….The Langer Heinrich mine in central Namibia will see its capital spending cut by US$10 million compared with the 2013 financial year while a further $2 million will be cut from the capital budget for the Kayelekera mine in Malawi.

October 4, 2013 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, business and costs | Leave a comment


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