Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Australia Nuclear Update

Global mining concern BHP Billiton announced on Friday that it had completed purchase of more than 90 percent of the outstanding shares of WMC Resources -- an event that triggers an option for BHP to purchase all of the remaining shares and take control of the company. As we've noted before, WMC is the owner of Australia's Olympic Dam mine, home of one of the largest reserves of uranium in the world.

Last week, The Age (Melbourne) opined on the resurgence of the nuclear energy issue in Australia. Meanwhile, in Newcastle City, local residents pledged to turn off their electricity for one hour in a protest against coal-fired power:

Environmentalists say coal-fired power plants, a major source of greenhouse gases in Australia, are one of the biggest contributors towards climate change.

If 300 consumers switch off power for just an hour, green groups calculate they will reduce the output of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere by around 600 cubic kilograms.

Today's protest follows NSW Premier Bob Carr's controversial call for nuclear power to act as a bridge between fossil-fuel use and a new era of renewable energy, which green groups have dismissed as a distraction from further planned coal-fired power plants.

Prominent federal and NSW Labor politicians, Peter Garrett and Anthony Albanese, have spoken out against nuclear power, while Queensland Premier Beattie has come out in support of clean coal technology.
As others have noted, Carr's position has caused a split in the labor party, most recently in the Northern Territory, home to the Ranger mine. The Labor government there has taken a position against expansion of uranium mining at Ranger, opposite to Carr, and against the publicly stated plans of Australia's federal government.

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1 comment:

Engineer-Poet said...

600 cubic kilograms?

Is that one of these New-age units like the "kilowatts per hour" people keep talking about?  For some reason, none of them have ever been scientists or engineers.