Monday, June 06, 2005

The Nuclear Industry Spin Cycle Demands Yellowcake! Yellowcake!

With the heady waft of nuclear dollars in the dusty Australian air, the recent $9 billion takeover of WMC by BHP is no coincidence. The chairman of BHP Billiton confirmed at its February AGM that it was interested in developing nuclear fuel.

And within a month, BHP had announced the takeover bid for WMC, the owner of the world's largest uranium resource, the Olympic Dam project in South Australia.

Now it owns most of WMC and wants the rest. Look Out!

Unless the anti-Nuclear Lobby stands tall on this issue there is little doubt mainstream Australia will fall for the Nuclear spin...

According to nuclear industry pundits, the global resurgence in nuclear reactor construction has driven uranium prices to new peaks. With around a third of the world's yellowcake at our disposal, Australian uranium producers are indeed the darlings of the global energy market - and Australian leaders are currently trying to secure yellowcake deals in China.

Since its recent $9 billion takeover of WMC Resources, BHP Billiton has started restructuring already, by replacing most of the company's board. BHP has secured more than 76 per cent of WMC shares and says it will continue to chase 100 per cent ownership.

What are our beloved pollies saying? They want to talk about local Nuclear energy issues.

With John Howard's election in 1996, there has been a big push under the surface to expand Australia's uranium mining and other nuclear activities, regardless of the well documented truths of radioactive industries bothe here and overseas. So we can presume where he stands at least.

With the ubiquitous "climate change" looming, and "peak oil" on the horizon, NSW Premier Bob Carr has called for a necessary "debate" on the issue. And he seems to be pushing for an interim nuclear energy future for Australia, if not for his own state - which is home to the Lucas Heights reactor.

At this stage of the "debate", at least WA's er, good-ole Dr Gallop said it was "madness" for Australia to even contemplate going down a nuclear energy route. On the face of it, he is certainly not keen for the ALP to debate the contentious issue. He said to The Australian, "We can always debate things but I don't favour contemplating nuclear power."

"I'm not going to open up that debate here in the West Australian Labor party," he told The Australian. Dr Gallop said Australia had already had a sensible debate and should be wary of the consequences of nuclear power.

"This would lock us into a nuclear fuel cycle in Australia," he said. "We would have to manage the waste and all of the consequences of that and we should be looking at cleaner fuel alternatives rather than going down that route."

Nuclear power was not an option for Victoria either, says Premier Steve Bracks:
"I don't support nuclear energy or the use of uranium to fuel electricity generation in Victoria. We need to find cleaner ways of burning greenhouse gases and to make sure we can reduce greenhouse gases," Mr Bracks said on June 6.

Queensland Premier Peter Beattie has also ruled out the need to consider such a proposal.

Judging by comments like that, at this stage at least, there will be some difficulty to secure agreement on nuclear energy. But is the debate on Nuclear Energy all there is to it? Not really. Australian nuclear industries can clearly see the executive profit benefits to be had from ripping out more yellowcake. If not for the Australian energy market then at the very least as an export.

Many in the industry want the paradox solved. The paradox that is, of having SO much power under our soil and a massive global market to sell the stuff to - whilst environmentalists harp about global warming.

We havent even looked at the myriad other issues at stake with the nuclear cycle. But I won't go on.

There is much more to be said and written on this issue. It won't go away - not with BHP and the PM hacking away in the background...

this dedicator recognize

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