While Australia’s mining sector shows signs of resilience, there is one mineral whose outlook may be terminal.  There are five significant events that have occurred recently that send a clear message about the future of the uranium sector and the wider nuclear industry. The uranium price dropped to US$34.50 a pound Energy Resources of Australia, the operator of the Ranger uranium mine in Kakadu, announced a $54 million loss.
The Beyond Nuclear Initiative and Uranium Free NSW released this statement on July 25. *** On July 25 and 26, the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering held a conference in Sydney titled “Nuclear Energy for Australia?” The conference might be framed as a question but the answer is predictable given that the majority of keynote speakers were from organisations in favour of developing a nuclear power industry in Australia, including industry representative bodies and pro-nuclear think tanks.

James Hansen resigned from his position as director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in April to devote more time to campaigning to cut global carbon emissions. In addition to his scientific research on climate change, Hansen has been arrested several times in recent years at protests against coal mining and tar sands mining. Bravo James Hansen — precious few scientists and academics live and breathe their politics as he does.

A second storage pool was leaking highly radioactive water at the crisis-stricken Fukushima Dai-chi nuclear plant on April 7, operator Tepco said. About 120 tonnes of radioactive water breached the inner lining of one underground storage pool on April 5, with concerns that some may have leaked into the soil. Tepco is moving the remaining 13,000 tonnes of water in that tank to other pools, but said the April 7 leak was not large enough to warrant doing the same.
At the most highly contaminated US nuclear site, redundancy notices went out on March 18 to nearly 250 workers. More than 2500 others were notified they faced temporary layoffs of several weeks. About 9000 people work at Washington State's Hanford Nuclear Reservation, which produced plutonium for US nuclear weapons during World War II and the Cold War. Contractors are cleaning up the highly contaminated site and removing millions of gallons of radioactive waste for treatment at a plant now under construction.
About 100 people attended a forum and concert titled, "Remembering Fukushima, Two years on: Time to end the nuclear chain," at the Teachers Federation on March 10. The forum was addressed by Japanese farmer and anti-nuclear campaigner Kenichi Hasegawa; Peace Boat International member Akira Kawasaki, South Australian Indigenous elder and co-chair of the Australian Nuclear Free Alliance (ANFA) Peter Watts, Illawarra Aboriginal community and ANFA member Dootch Kennedy, Unions NSW secretary Mark Lennon, and Uranium Free NSW spokesperson Nat Wasley.
Hall Greenland, a respected left-wing activist, writer and journalist in Sydney, is the Greens candidate for the inner-west Sydney seat of Grayndler. Greenland was a Leichhardt councillor for the Labor Party in the 1980s, and served a second term as an independent between 1999 and 2004. He is president of the Friends of Callan Park, a community group which has waged a long struggle against the privatisation of a vital heritage area. Greenland is also the author of Red Hot, a biography of one of Australia’s earliest Trotskyists, Nick Origlass.
The final Green Left Report for 2012 features Christine Assange, mother of Julian Assange, on why the Australian government fears WikiLeaks, the problems of the corporate press, and the WikiLeaks releases that impacted the most on her. The episode has heaps of activist news including anti-uranium actions, protesting Lynas' toxic plant, standing up for equal marriage, and rallying for refugee rights.
Friends of the Earth released this statement on December 5. *** Friends of the Earth's Radioactive Exposure Tour will take place from Friday March 29 to Sunday April 7 next year. These tours have exposed thousands of people first-hand to the realities of “radioactive racism” and to the environmental impacts of the nuclear industry.
A major theme of this year’s US presidential election campaign was the threat to world peace allegedly posed by Iran’s nuclear program. Democrat President Barack Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney competed to take the hardest line. Obama boasted of organising the “strongest coalition and the strongest sanctions against Iran in history” and promised to “take all options necessary” to force Iran to abandon its nuclear program.


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