New uranium mine approved on Aboriginal land - and other nuclear news


The Western Australian government has approved plans for a uranium mine at Yeelirrie on Aboriginal land 630 kilometres north-east of the state capital, Perth. Aborigines have fought the plans as best they could, backed by non-indigenous and foreign activists. Environmentalists warn the mine would wipe out species unique to the region. Yeelirrie sits on one of the world's most significant uranium deposits. Approval of the mine, to be operated by Canadian mining giant Cameco, came despite a ruling by the government’s own Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) that a mine on the site posed a significant risk of extinction to species not known to exist anywhere else.


Yeelirrie is home to tiny crustaceans, known as stygofauna or ‘desert prawns’ that swim in groundwater below the surface of the desert and have only ever been found in the region.


The government claims to have considered broader economic and social matters, as well as environmental factors and says  Cameco would have to undertake further research to further knowledge of, and limit impact on, the species.


But the Leeuwin Group, a coalition of prominent Western Australisn scientists, has labelled the government’s conditions "meaningless". Early last year the state government introduced laws empowering the environment minister to make a decision which could result in the extinction of a species. The group charges that laws exist more to "legalise environmental harm" than protect biodiversity.


Anti-nuclear activist Mia Pepper writes that the government argued jobs and economics for its decision. “Now we know that the project would employ a little over 200 fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) workers, but we also know that the uranium market is flooded and there is no economic justification for this mine to go ahead.


The conversation in the WA media has gone from Minister ignoring EPA advice - to we can’t let a ‘desert prawn’ stop progress - to the WA assessment process is broken and we need law reform…. a call backed by imminent WA scientist. Today’s headlines are that [Opposition] Labor support this in some way.”


The West Australia Nuclear Free Alliance and Traditional Owners of the Yeelirrie area have spoken out against the approval.


Kado Muir, Chairperson of the Alliance said, “I’m disappointed, but it’s not over, we’ll keep fighting against the Yeelirrie uranium mine proposal. The project doesn’t add up and the risks for the environment as well cultural heritage are far too great.


“The Minister’s decision to make many species extinct against the advice of experts and the EPA shows how little our environmental laws mean to this government.”


Richard Evan Koara Elder said, “Cameco and the government have no respect for our heritage or for life”.


“The minister who gave approval to mine Yeelirrie, he does not own the land. He does not have the right to destroy our cultural heritage or the subterranean fauna. He’s supposed to protect the environment not approve its destruction.”


It is the third WA uranium mine proposal approved in the past month, and WA Labor Leader Mark McGowan said it was a clear sign the government was in a hurry.


"The government obviously has an ideological addiction to uranium mining — they're putting their approvals through now before the state election," he said.


Other coverage: Labor makes point of difference   -   Cameco’s statement on the approval   -   Government claims 17 strict conditions   -   Minister defends approval 


Previously here on linksunten:

Underground fish, beetles, spiders, scorpions stop uranium mine   -   Another month’s walk with Aborigines against uranium mining   -   Anti uranium mining walk in Western Australia   -   Aborigines and foreigners complete 450-kilometre anti-uranium walk in Western Australia   -   First uranium mine in Western Australia may mean 40 uranium mines by 2030   -   Forty uranium mines is the plan for Western Australia    



Other nuclear news:

Shutdown of Michigan nuclear plant not sounding climate alarms. In Michigan, the likely loss of hundreds of jobs and taxes from the early closure of Entergy Corp.'s 810-megawatt Palisades nuclear plant in 2018 is causing hand-wringing about the economic consequences. But the impact on greenhouse gas emissions? Not so much.

In Thousands of Years, What Will We Do With Nuclear Waste?  A new documentary explores how governments will bury toxic materials in the distant future. (6min 55sec video clip.)





From Christina Macpherson


As I write, there's a sort of an anxious lull in climate and nuclear news. Indeed, in other news, too. The media world seems to be waiting for the next event, on January 20, concerning a certain narcissistic American. I've decided to leave him out of this week's newsletter.

The exception in all this is Fukushima. Not that you find anything about this in the mainstream media. However, the news is getting out in alternative, and some Japanese media: workers' cancers: Thyroid Cancer Patient Group   -   Designation of radioactive waste lifted:   -   Fukushima 'voluntary' evacuees face hardship.
Fukushima foodstuffs.


CLIMATE.  90% of rural Australians say their lives are already affected by climate change. Pauline Hanson's One Nation picks climate sceptic for Western Australian election. Australian Resources Minister Matt Canavan's fantasy about "low emission" coal

RENEWABLE ENERGY. Some considerations about Australia's clean transition to renewable energy. Tony Abbott calls for ditching Renewable Energy Target, PM Turnbull disagrees. Smarter, cheaper solar plants are halving Australian solar farm capital intensity.

Utility scale investment marks the surge in wind and solar power in Australia. Potential of Queensland solar farm to make this State the energy capital of Australia. Melbourne trams to be powered by solar energy by end of 2018.


South Australia.

Federal waste dump plan. Scrutiny on Hansard reveals the Australian government's confusion about nuclear wastes. Australian government's pro nuclear propaganda to South Australia's Barndioota residents. Flinders Ranges Community survey - 79% do NOT want the Federal nuclear waste dump.

State nuclear waste import plan. Ben Heard and Barry Brook spruik for nuclear reprocessing at Port Augusta. Old nuclear spruikers never give up - Bob Hawke, Ron Walker, Hugh Morgan.

South Australian Liberal leader stresses that the Royal Commission nuclear waste import plan was economically risky. Derek Abbott explodes the Royal Commission proposal for a nuclear waste dump.

Tasmania. Tasmania's Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom speaks out for nuclear weapons ban.


As climate deniers move into White House - Guardian news focus on climate change.


Proposed Energy Secretary Rick Perry ignorant about nuclear security! Legal action against subsidising of America's aging nuclear reactors. Despite shutdown of Indian Point nuclear plant, New York will invest billions in upgrading other nuclear stations. Testing a deep borehole as a potential way to bury highly radioactive nuclear trash. Obama's top scientist explains the climate challenge.

Northeast USA predicted to heat up faster than most of the rest of the world. Interfaith effort spreads the word about climate change.

Solar energy now a bigger employer than coal, oil, and natural gas combined.

World's largest rooftop solar farm to be built on Tesla's gigafactory.


Crash in Toshiba shares as nuclear financial crisis deepens. Shimane nuclear power plant found to have dangerous corroded holes in air ducts inside the No. 2 reactor. Seven times more leukemia in 2015 than 2014, 80% in Eastern Japan.


Nuclear weapons should be completely prohibited – Chinese President Xi Jinping.


Netherlands, Luxemburg and Germany want Belgium's dangerous nuclear reactors to be closed.


Pakistan vows nuclear retaliation if India attacks.


 Political row over proposed west Cumbria nuclear plant. Greens Party running anti-nuclear platform in UK by-election. Prince Charles writes a book on climate change (That's torn it: they won't let HIM be king!)


North Korea may be preparing for a new missile test-launch.


Russia stops agreement with Ukraine on nuclear power plant construction.


Saudi Arabia's $US50bn clean energy plan focusses on solar and wind.





From Jim Green


Reasons to be cheerful: a full switch to low-carbon energy is in sight, climate change optimism is justified – a complete transition from carbon to solar and wind power looks practical and affordable within a generation.

China builds world's biggest solar farm in journey to become green superpower. Vast plant in Qinghai province is part of China’s determination to transform itself from climate change villain to a green energy colossus.

A new twist on fusion power could help bring limitless clean energy - Fusion power, if it works, offers vast amounts of clean energy and almost zero carbon emissions. A new experimental fusion reactor has come online, and it uses a curious twisted stellarator design.