Anti-Nuclear & Clean Energy Collective

Opponents of any nuclear waste facility being built in the Territory say Aboriginal traditional owners have not been told about a meeting to discuss a new site.

Radiation exposure looming for Wiluna

Sat 22 Sep 2012

By Gerry Georgatos

"They are going to kill our people, some will die quickly, some by a thousand cuts," said Wiluna Elder Glen Cooke.

"We don't want Maralinga all over again where our people will be hurt and die sick and young, and for decades the truth hidden."

WA uranium mine approval signed but a long way from sealed

MEDIA RELEASE 10th October 2012

Western Australia’s peak environment group along with leading national and state environmental, trade union and public health organisations today vowed to contest Environment Minister Bill Marmion’s decision to give pending state approval for WA’s first uranium mine. The proposed Toro Wiluna uranium mine still requires Commonwealth approval and a number of other state approvals that the EPA has deferred.

Conservation Council of WA Nuclear Free campaigner Mia Pepper said, “Minister Marmion’s announcement confirms that this Government intends to fast track a uranium mine as part of their political agenda.

“This proposal has no complete mine closure plan or costings, it will run out of water in seven years and no alternatives have been evaluated, scientists are still naming a new plant species found near the mine site, and Toro are yet to finalise their transport management plan.

“This is not a credible plan. It is a half-baked, half-assessed shambles driven by a political agenda and is not based on good science or evidence. This irresponsible and premature approval is out of step with both clear government commitments and community opinion.

“We will continue to use every means at our disposal to oppose this plan.”

Renewables Will Win At The Ballot Box

Ben Eltham, 4 Oct 2012

Windy South Australia has the country's largest concentration of renewable power generation. Is this what the future of Australian energy looks like? Ben Eltham wraps up the Future Shock series

Read the full article

Solar Is The Brightest Energy Option

Ben Eltham

27 Sep 2012

Solar power may soon be the cheapest way to power your home − and the rapid growth of the industry is making other energy providers nervous. Ben Eltham on the solar revolution

Read the full article

Power of sun to be harnessed on Australia's largest scale

October 10, 2012

Aleisha Orr

Fifty hectares of pastoral land in the Mid West is now the largest solar farm in Australia.

The country's first large-scale photovoltaic solar project, the Greenough River Solar Farm was switched on this morning.

The 10-megawatt solar farm near Geraldton, is 10 times bigger than the next biggest farm of its kind.

Miners pressured as uncertainty sours uranium market

By: Reuters

5th October 2012

TORONTO – Eighteen months after the Fukushima nuclear meltdown, the

spot price for uranium hit a two-year low this week, putting the

squeeze on the already depressed shares of uranium miners.

Muckaty tops agenda at ANFA conference

Oct. 12, 2012

ANTI-NUCLEAR dump activists from Tennant Creek were amongst the keynote speakers at a national nuclear free conference in Alice Springs last weekend.

The Federal Government’s planned radioactive waste dump at Muckaty was one of the big issues on the agenda at the Australian Nuclear Free Alliance (ANFA) which attracted delegates and environmental groups from throughout Australia.

Penny Phillips, Isobelle Phillips, Marie Rennie, Penny Williams, Betty Corbett, Belinda Manfong, Ronald Morrison and Sandra Morrison ran a workshop about the Muckaty campaign and their efforts to prevent the dump from being built on their land.

More info:

Queensland Forgets Its Uranium History

Jim Green, New Matilda, 24 Oct 2012

The Queensland Government is unwise to reverse the ban against uranium mining and there is no stronger reason than the industry’s sordid track record in the state.

French company Minatome undertook trial mining at Ben Lomond, near Townsville, in the early 1980s. Federal MP Bob Katter spoke at length about Ben Lomond in Parliament on 1 November 2005. He noted that Minatome initially denied reports of a radioactive spill, but then changed its story and claimed that the spill posed no risk and did not reach the water system from which 210,000 people drank.

Crikey says: a yellowcake business in decline?

Crikey 23/10/12

What's uranium worth to Queensland, now that Campbell Newman has made a snap decision to overturn a 23-year ban on mining in the state?

The Premier reckons some $18 billion from the state's significant northern minerals basin, delivering royalties of $900 million. Sunshine State economist John Quiggin isn't so sure. As he reminded us today: "The failure of the 'nuclear renaissance' in the US means that at most two to four new plants will be built there this decade, while older plants will close as plans for upgrades and license extensions are put on hold. In Europe and Japan, not only will there be little or no new construction, but the phase-out of existing plants is being accelerated. China's big expansion plans are still on hold after Fukushima, and the program as a whole is being scaled back in favour of renewables. In these circumstances, uranium exporters must accept lower prices, be less choosy about their customers, or both."

Of course, now there's India. Julia Gillard's recent trip to the sub-continent and decision to overturn an export ban sparked Newman to action (even though he told the Australian Conservation Foundation earlier this month the government had "no plans" to approve uranium mining development). Our new friends, as a result, are now in a considerably powerful bargaining position for Australian yellowcake.

Even aside from the safety concerns -- Quiggin, for one, is miffed Labor is able to so easily overlook "India's contribution to nuclear proliferation and the limited progress that has been made in separating civilian and military programs and stockpiles" -- Newman's government is getting into a business with a fast-shallowing customer pool. Except for one which will now be able to throw its weight around.

Miners may have been quick to endorse, but with a state budget under strain it's Newman making the biggest bet.


India questions its own nuclear industry
Australia's prospective uranium customer slammed by its own auditor as dangerously unsafe.

MV Ramana: India’s nuclear power failures warn against uranium exports

Selling Australian uranium is reportedly at the top of Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s priorities as she travels to India this week. Before she decides to do that, there are three facts she may want to consider.

First, despite all the hoopla about India’s nuclear ambitions, nuclear energy is unlikely to contribute more than a few percent of the country’s electricity capacity in the next several decades, if ever. 

Editorial: India's uranium safeguards fail on all measures
Sales must not proceed until best practices are met.

No smooth passage to India for Australian uranium

Dave Sweeney ABC Environment 18 Oct 2012

PRIME MINISTER JULIA GILLARD is in India this week and amid the staged handshakes and solemn exchanges of signed papers the uranium sales plan is being heavily promoted. But there is growing concern both here and in India about the implications of the move and the fast-tracking of nuclear-armed India into the global atomic club.

The potential fallout from Gillard’s trip to India
Jim Green

Prime Minister Julia Gillard can use her trip to India this week to undo the damage she has done to the nuclear non-proliferation regime.

Whistleblower accuses nuclear agency of cover-up

Posted Wed Oct 17, 2012 6:54pm AEDT

Security guards have escorted a whistleblower out of a Senate estimates hearing after he yelled abuse at the head of Australia's nuclear agency.

David Reid says he is concerned three men were contaminated at the Lucas Heights nuclear facility in 2007.

Nuclear agency boss emotional as whistleblower taunts

The head of Australia's nuclear agency briefly broke down at a Senate estimates hearing.

BHP to halt Olympic Dam production
BHP Billiton is to shut down its Olympic Dam smelter production for almost a month

Clean energy target drives billions in investment

October 25, 2012, Tom Arup

AUSTRALIA's 20 per cent renewable energy target has helped spark $18.5 billion in new clean energy investment since its inception − and will drive another $8.8 billion to 2030 − an economic analysis commissioned by the industry's peak body has found.

The modelling to be released today by the Clean Energy Council also says Australia would have failed to meet its greenhouse gas targets under the United Nations Kyoto Protocol without the target in place.

Fukushima fish unsafe for years
FISH from the waters around the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan could be too radioactive to eat for a decade to come, as samples show radioactivity levels remain elevated and show little sign of coming down, a marine scientist has warned.

Cesium in fish off Fukushima not declining.
 Radioactive cesium levels in most kinds of fish caught off the coast of Fukushima haven't declined in the year following Japan's nuclear disaster, a signal that the seafloor or leakage from the damaged reactors must be continuing to contaminate the waters — possibly threatening fisheries for decades, a researcher says.


Japan nuclear plant struggling to store contaminated water. 
Japan's crippled nuclear power plant is struggling to find space to store tens of thousands of tons of highly contaminated water used to cool the reactors broken after the devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami, the manager of the water treatment team said.

Slow leak reported in Hanford waste tank.
 There is a slow leak in the oldest double-shell waste tank at the HanfordWA, nuclear reservation that's allowing highly radioactive and hazardous waste to leak into the space between the inner and outer shells, the federal Department of Energy said Monday.

Terry Sweetman: Nuclear riches always bomb out
URANIUM has been my biggest disappointment since Santa Claus turned out to be Dad tripping over the Christmas tree three sheets to the wind.

Nuclear protesters breifly block Indian Port

Radiation 258 times legal limit found in fish off Fukushima. 
Fish containing 258 times the legal limit of radioactive cesium have been found in waters off the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., said on Aug. 21.

Nun makes major nuclear breach

Boston Globe - ‎Aug 10, 2012‎
NEW YORK — She has been arrested 40 or 50 times for acts of civil disobedience and once served six months in prison. In the Nevada desert, she and other peace activists knelt down to block a truck rumbling across the government's nuclear test site, ...

Shelving projects 'wise for miners'

THE nation's biggest listed investment fund has applauded moves by big miners to shelve Australian projects.

Resources boom on the wane: UGL chief

The Australian Financial Review - ‎16 hours ago‎
Jenny Wiggins. The resources boom has passed its peak, the chief executive of one of Australia's biggest contractors says, pointing to the deferral of projects such as BHP Billiton's Olympic Dam copper and gold mine expansion and Queensland's Solar Dawn ...

UAE, Australia Sign Nuclear Fuel Agreement - Still a Few Bumps in the Road

Olympic threat as BHP puts brakes on

BHP Billiton chief Marius Kloppers has warned of a rethink over spending on its portfolio of major projects. 

Is the boom really behind us?

The federal Resources MinisterMartin Ferguson, and BHP Billiton chairman, Jac Nasser, have both warned recently that certain aspects of the boom had seen ...

Lies, damned lies and Olympic Dam sized lies
Managing editor David Donovan reports on Tony Abbott’s “dishonest, self-interested fear campaign” about BHP’s decision to defer the Olympic Dam expansion; before environment editor Sandi Keane provides some disturbing background to...

Support for nuke-free Japan rises to 47 percent after voter discussions. 
Popular support for a nuclear-free Japan by 2030 has increased sharply to nearly 50 percent, according to a new polling method that gauges public opinion after selected voters have had a chance to discuss the issue among themselves. 

Courting Nuclear Disater

'Flinstone' spy device explodes at Iranian Nuclear Site

Radiation settles on seabed off Japan

New research suggests radiation from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant has settled on the ocean floor off Japan, and could contaminate sea life for decades.


Riding India's nuclear wave
WITH 1.2 billion people, 20 nuclear reactors, and an estimated 100 nuclear weapons, India is a significant customer in the global nuclear market.


Robert MacDonald: Uranium rethink a no-brainer for Newman
The Premier's decision to overturn the state's ban on uranium mining may prove to be one of the smartest moves of his administration's first term.

Uranium deal to India has serious weapons proliferation risks


MEDIA RELEASE, 15 October 2012

Ahead of Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s visit to New Delhi later today, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) has warned that an agreement to sell Australian uranium to nuclear-armed India raises serious concerns about the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

 “If this deal goes ahead, Australian uranium will likely fuel – directly or indirectly – the build-up of nuclear arms in South Asia. India is still producing both highly enriched uranium and plutonium for weapons, expanding its nuclear arsenal and investing heavily in new nuclear-capable missiles and submarines,” said Dr Tilman Ruff, co-chair of ICAN.

“India used a reactor supplied by Canada and fuel provided by the US – both supplied only for peaceful purposes – to make the plutonium for its first nuclear bombs. India is not a party to any nuclear disarmament treaty, and nuclear safeguards agreements don’t apply to India’s military facilities, meaning that it’s impossible to verify that Australian uranium is not diverted for weapons purposes.”

 “India and Pakistan are longstanding foes, having been at war three times. Border skirmishes are not infrequent. There is a very real possibility that a confrontation between the two nations could escalate to a nuclear war,” he said.

 “Such a war would result in tens of millions of immediate deaths, severely disrupt the global climate, shorten growing seasons and put up to a billion people at risk of famine. Major disease epidemics would follow,” Dr Ruff concluded. 

India's Abysmal Nuclear Record

While the media focuses on Julia Gillard's stumbles, India's clunker of a nuclear industry stays unexamined. But hey, what's a bit of nuclear proliferation between friends? Jim Green from Friends of the Earth on the South Asian nuclear arms race

According to Gemma Bailey, writing in the Australian Financial Review, Prime Minister Gillard has a cunning plan. She will ensure that Australia’s uranium supply treaty with India contains strict conditions on the safe use of the nuclear fuel. The plan, we’re told, "is intended to neutralise opponents who highlight that India has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty."

If only that were true. Here’s Gillard’s real plan: trot out tired old lines about strict conditions and hope that journalists will regurgitate them without question. ...

Muckaty tops agenda at ANFA conference

Oct. 12, 2012

ANTI-NUCLEAR dump activists from Tennant Creek were amongst the keynote speakers at a national nuclear free conference in Alice Springs last weekend.

The Federal Government’s planned radioactive waste dump at Muckaty was one of the big issues on the agenda at the Australian Nuclear Free Alliance (ANFA) which attracted delegates and environmental groups from throughout Australia.

Penny Phillips, Isobelle Phillips, Marie Rennie, Penny Williams, Betty Corbett, Belinda Manfong, Ronald Morrison and Sandra Morrison ran a workshop about the Muckaty campaign and their efforts to prevent the dump from being built on their land.

More info:

An interesting read...


The Ben Lomond uranium (and molybdenum) deposit is located 50 kms west of Townsville. It is owned by Mega Uranium, which purchased it in 2005. The deposit is estimated to contain an estimated 4760−6800 tonnes U3O8 (for comparison, BHP Billiton plans to mine three times that amount of uranium annually at Olympic Dam in SA). If the mine proceeds, it will likely be a combination of open-cut and underground mining.


As at May 2012, Mega Uranium was undertaking prefeasibility studies with a view to determining the project economics, the preferred mining and processing options and the key steps in mine development. The recently-elected Liberal National Party state government has thus far maintained previous government policy of banning uranium mining, but Mega Uranium is betting on a change of policy.

The deposit was discovered in 1975 by the French company Pechiney, then explored and evaluated in detail between 1976 and 1982 by associated companies Total Mining and Minatome. An Environmental Impact Study was accepted by the relevant federal and state authorities in 1984. In addition to problems with the Queensland state government, plans to mine Ben Lomond came unstuck because of federal Labor's 'three uranium mine's' policy from 1983 onwards.


Far-right pro-uranium federal MP Bob Katter had this to say in Parliament on 1 November 2005:

"I present a serious note of warning to the House. Of the people in North Queensland that I represent, some 50,000 or 60,000 live on the watershed of the Burdekin River and draw their water from there. The honourable member for Herbert and the honourable member for Dawson are from there. The Burdekin Falls Dam provides water for some 210,000 people. These people are drinking water that comes from the lower reaches of the Burdekin River. The Ben Lomond uranium mine, 40 or 50 kilometres from Townsville, stands right above it. A French company—I think it was Aquitaine—proposed the development of that mine. I was very positive about it. I had been brought up and lived in Cloncurry, my hometown, beside Mary Kathleen. I knew all the people who lived there. I played football there. I went to church there. I did hundreds of things there. We had no evidence that indicated uranium mining was dangerous. Some greenies living up there—not a race of people that I like in any way, shape or form; but in those days there were some sensible people associated with them—started making a noise that there had been a spill of high-level radiation.

Whilst I have waxed lyrical about the dangers of uranium not being great, there is a limit to the dangers we will accept. In the case of Ben Lomond, the company said that there had been no spill. The government agency—the forebears of what we now call the Environmental Protection Agency—also said that there had been no spill. That was for the first three or four weeks. When further evidence was disclosed, they said, firstly, that there had been a spill but the level of radiation was not dangerous and, secondly, that it had not reached the water system from which 210,000 people drank.

For the next two or three weeks they held out with that story. Further evidence was produced in which they admitted that it had been a dangerous level. Yes, it was about 10,000 times higher than what the health agencies in Australia regarded as an acceptable level. After six weeks, we got rid of lie number 2. I think it was at about week 8 or week 12 when, as a state member of parliament, I insisted upon going up to the site. Just before I went up to the site, the company admitted—remember, it was not just the company but also the agency set up by the government to protect us who were telling lies—that the spill had reached the creek which ran into the Burdekin River, which provided the drinking water for 210,000 people. We had been told three sets of lies over a period of three months.

So I say to the people of the Northern Territory: make sure that ordinary people have some sort of oversighting mechanism. Do not leave it up to the government or its officials. They will dance to the tune played by whatever piper is in charge money-wise or politically. They will not answer to the tune of protecting the people. That has been my experience.

The case of Ben Lomond was notorious, and the very development oriented Bjelke-Petersen government said no to Ben Lomond. The most development oriented government in recent Australian history said no because of the absolutely outrageous performance of their own regulatory body, as well as the mine itself. One other humorous aspect, which was not really humorous at all, was when I asked the regulatory authority chief, ‘How do you get your water samples?’ He said, ‘We have them collected.’ I said, ‘Who do you have collect them?’ He said, without any guile, ‘The company.’ So we had the company protecting itself, not the people of Queensland or the people who were depending upon this water for their water supply."


Mudd provides a fascinating history of the attempted development of the mine from the 1970s onwards. A few highlights and lowlights from that history:

·        The Queensland government's eagerness to get the mine underway hinged on plans to site a uranium enrichment plant in Townsville − one proposal for which, at an estimated A$1000 million, came from Minatome in October 1979.

·        Officially the Minatome lease was granted in early 1980 but, a year previously, the state Minister for Mines, Energy and Police, Ron Camm, announced that the mine would be given a quick go-ahead, in a statement made well in advance of completion of an Environmental Impact Study (EIS).

·        Not only did the state government refuse to consult with the Townsville City Council and local shires (authorities), it also altered the Mining Act, thus allowing its Mines Department to over-rule local authorities, and it doctored procedures for conducting EIS's −by dropping the term "Environmental" from the rules.

·        Local surveys showed a majority of residents opposed to the project; and there had already been an anti-uranium march, in spite of the state's draconic ban on all such demonstrations.

·        From this point on, opposition mounted dramatically. The Australian Telecommunications Employees Association in February 1981 imposed communications bans on Minatome. The Movement Against Uranium Mining (MAUM) also announced a "tent village" at Ben Lomond, to be held that summer.

·        The opponents' case depended not only on previous experience in the uranium industry, but Minatome's existing practice at the mine site. The Queensland Campaign Against Nuclear Power claimed that: "Already a level of radioactivity two and a half times the legally permitted level has been recorded in a creek which flows into the river. This was from a stockpile of 3500 tonnes. When the mine is in operation, the stockpile will be two and a half million tonnes."

·        Neil Heinze, a local civil engineer, claimed that radioactive leakage was "certain" to occur from the site, while all artificial methods of containment were inadequate. Professor Frank Stacey, Professor of Applied Physics at the University of Queensland, predicted that inevitable radioactive leaking would pollute the Burdekin river system, especially as the proposed dam across the river would "ensure that heavy pollutants tend to accumulate in the reservoir and any area in which water from the reservoir is used, instead of being flushed out to sea".

·        The Queensland Mining Warden rejected Minatome's application based on environmental considerations. He found that there was no proper long-term arrangement for the containment of tailings. He questioned the appropriateness of clay as a liner for the evaporation ponds and tailings dumps.

·        The Queensland Mines Minister, Ivan Gibbs, sought to overturn the Warden's decision. By this time, another scandal was in the news. The national newsmagazine, National Times, revealed that Minatome had destroyed several vital Aboriginal sites "in the past couple of months" − including one possibly some 4000 years old, "considered to be one of the most significant in North Queensland". This site was bulldozed by the company to make way for an experimental evaporation pond.

·        Another Aboriginal quarry site "considered to be unique in Australia" was also under threat by planned high-tension power lines and water pipes, while a sacred pool was threatened by nearby drilling. A confidential document obtained by the National Times revealed that Minatome had been aware of these Aboriginal sites since 1978 and was advised in an archaeological impact statement that they should be protected.

·        Early the next year, Minatome flew out 36 tonnes of uranium ore from Ben Lomond to Noumea in New Caledonia, then on to France. The flight was organised to evade union bans at Townsville, as well as adverse publicity.

·        A few months later, the World Bike Ride − antinuclear activists who had set out from Melbourne in March − set up an "Atom-Free" embassy at the mine site itself.

·        Then, in mid-1983, the federal Australian government banned all uranium exports to France, in retaliation for France's continued nuclear testing in the Pacific. In response, the company reportedly filled in the tailings dam and development work came to a halt.

·        At the end of the year, the company finally published the environmental impact statement − a few days after the ALP government announced a ban on all new uranium mines, apart from Olympic Dam.

·        Early in 1986 it was reported in the Australian Senate that the uranium ore stockpiled at Ben Lomond had been virtually abandoned, with a minimum of security precautions.