Emissions Open Thread

Open Thread 6

Open Thread 5 has spooled off the BNC front page, so it’s time for new one.

The Open Thread is a general discussion forum, where you can talk about whatever you like — there is nothing ‘off topic’ here — within reason. So get up on your soap box! The standard commenting rules of courtesy apply, and at the very least your chat should relate to the broad theme of the blog (climate change, sustainability, energy, etc.). You can also find this thread by clicking on the Open Thread category on the left sidebar.

Given the recent discussion on BNC in various threads, a topic worth collecting up here is the merits/demerits of imposing a price on carbon, rather than simply pursuing policy to lower the costs (and regulatory burdens) of low-carbon energy sources. In reference to past discussions on BNC about the form a carbon price might take, read about cap-and-trade vs carbon tax and fee-and-dividend. An argument NOT to impose a carbon price is given here. An argument FOR a carbon price is outline here.

Finally, for those in Adelaide, I here’s a head’s up to a couple of talks I’m giving in the near future:

On Thursday 16 September 2010 at 7.30 pm I will be talking on “Sustainable energy solutions for successful climate change mitigation” at the Campbelltown Function Centre, 172 Montacute Road, Rostrevor (rear of Council Offices). Click on picture for details — it’s a free event.

On 18 October, I will be teaming up with Ziggy Switkowski at the Hilton Hotel, Adelaide, to talk about the near- to medium-term  future of nuclear power in Australia, and also to discuss some of the key technologies that will likely underpin this next-generation revolution in atomic energy, and chart a possible course for their development and deployment over the next 40 years. Details are in a flyer you can download here. This is also a FREE public lecture, so don’t miss it!

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By Barry Brook

Barry Brook is an ARC Laureate Fellow and Chair of Environmental Sustainability at the University of Tasmania. He researches global change, ecology and energy.

655 replies on “Open Thread 6”

I’m on Twitter (ID= fran_b__ )

Lots of fun, using my Android. I’ve already got 160 “followers” (and I weed out spammers and obvious loonies)


An analogy might be that if the water industry contributed x% to GDP (via the sum of value added approach) therefore GDP would still be (100-x)% if there were no water. Perhaps others can remember that discussion on energy.

But that would be such a stunningly stupid thing to claim for an economist that I can scarcely imagine him claiming it.

Energy, transport systems, communication systems — all these make human labour more productive so the net value of energy would be a lot more than 10% even if that was what the energy sector earned in terms of GDP.


That article does make some valid points. A multi-billion dollar dash for thorium development project would waste a lot of money, and I don’t think anyone at energyfromthorium, at least, is advocating for one. On the other hand Japanese startup IThEMS

thinks they could build a 10 Mw(e) demonstrator for US$300M over five years. A global effort that expanded from the present few million US$/ year running university groups to maybe $100M/year could make serious progress without huge waste, until someone gets to the point of building the FOAK Gw(e) plant. Then it needs several billion $ – but you don’t do that until you have data to be almost 100% sure it will work.


Some people seem to be showing an awareness of the importance of the cost of avoiding emissions. The Sydney Morning Herald carries this story today:

No project too little for climate change fund

Millions of dollars of NSW taxpayers’ money is being spent on tiny cuts to greenhouse gas emissions. One charity has received a grant to reduce emissions by just two tonnes over 10 years.

In another case, a family support group in Newcastle received $1400 to tint their windows to reduce electricity use and lower emissions by just two tonnes over the next 10 years.


A Liberal MP for Castle Hill, Michael Richardson, said he supported groups cutting their carbon footprint but not at any cost.

”This fund has been a monumental waste of taxpayers’ funds, given the need to cut millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide,” he said.

”Taxpayers want the Climate Change Fund to succeed, but that can only happen if the government achieves value for money. There isn’t a bottomless pit of funds to draw on.”


John Morgan,

Someone should suggest to the NSW government that they replace the prohibition of nuclear powerr with prohibition of wind farms, solar farms and pink bats insulation schemes.


I keep telling people that for renewables to work, we’d need energy storage that was 1000 times more powerful and 1000 times cheaper.

Well, it looks like these guys think silicon can make lithium ion batteries can give us 10 times better storage. Is this a bit of a step towards the ‘Black Swan’ I used to talk about? Remember, all these incremental steps add up. Say these new super batteries hit just as peak oil is starting to nudge the price of oil up. Say they increase the range of cars past the ‘range anxiety’ point… say they can give the average car a battery conversion that gives my old Mitsubishi wagon an 800 km range rather than the 80km range I’d expect out of it if I did a conversion now.

Isn’t that a game changer, especially if we see super-light EV’s with ranges over 1000km? All that extra capacity is just sitting there for most city driving of 80km a day (or whatever the average trip to work and home is). All that extra capacity is now available to sell back to the grid if there’s an overcast, quiet few days.

Now that I’m seriously considering the possibility of a factor of 10 increase in battery technology, and considering millions of cars across Australia taking on far more electricity than those households could use in a few days… I’m wondering if my ‘1000 times more powerful and 1000 times cheaper’ routine was pessimistic by orders of magnitude?


Unfortunately, even if a 10-fold improvement in anode weight doesn’t give a 10-fold improvement in total weight per amp-hour capacity. At the 300 mAhr/g energy density of today’s graphite anodes, the anode is well under half the weight of the cell, so even if magically weighed nothing, overall capacity would less than double. This is still, potentially, a big deal, of course, as a 50% increase in capacity would be very welcome – but it moves the focus even more onto the major limiter of lithium cell performance, the weight of the cathode.


David B, given that lithium exists in the crust at an average concentration of ~50 ppm, and that there are 230 billion tonnes of lithium dissolved in seawater (which can, in theory, be recovered using various brine extraction methods), I’d put it in the same basket as uranium. Price, and energy cost, of extraction, is the determining factor as to how much we end up mining/extracting. Recycle on a large scale almost certainly makes a lot of sense though.


An interesting geopolitical shift may be the search for ‘cheap lithium’ over that of the more expensive lower grade kinds. As the world moves to electric transport over the coming years, will we see OPEC’s power base shift to Bolivia’s salt flats?

What about here in Australia? As Better Place CEO Shai Agassi has pointed out, we have everything here to build EV batteries, including the iron ore and lithium to process and export as km’s. (OPEC sells oil km’s, why can’t we sell EV km’s?)

But, having the 3rd world economy bias that we seem to, I’m sure we’ll just continue to sell the raw ores overseas and let someone else value add it for us. They’ll sell the batteries back here, and we’ll pay a premium to buy back our own processed ores. Really makes me mad.


However, on the bright side, robot cars seem to be on the way.

These could be game changers. Rather than most cars just sitting in driveways 22 hours a day as expensive privately owned vehicles, maybe we could all join communal car clubs. When we need to go to a certain destination, the robot car picks us up and car-pools with others going in the same direction. Or not: we can pay a fee to have the thing all to ourselves.

Then, when it drops us off, the car can go find other passengers, or drive to the closest battery swap / quick recharge if it needs refuelling. Dropping us in unloading bays and then going off to find its own parking opens up all sorts of options for future car-park buildings. They would not need to be as high, as us tall humans have already been dropped off at the front doors of our destinations.

So, after unloading us at our destination, the robot car is free to drive itself to a custom-built car-park where floors are about half as high as they are to day. Each underground car-park now stores double the cars. Either that, or they ‘hang up’ and stack as in iRobot.

Disclaimer: I feel a bit dirty writing all of the above. I’d prefer to see our cities evolve into public transport places that were designed for moving people, not cars. I remain a New Urbanist at heart. But I sometimes like to dream about possible compromises where the car is still present, but not as dominating a social force. Being able to rent on a cheap per-trip basis would free us up from owning these beasts, and maybe transition us into a more New Urbanist world.


Just a heads up for anyone in Australia – ABC Radio National’ Science Show today interviews Wade Allison:

Nuclear power problems now minimal

Wade Allison says Australia and New Zealand are being left behind in their opposition to nuclear power as new plants are being planned by many countries. He says the reprocessing of nuclear waste and new uranium will provide sufficient power for a thousand years and that radioactivity is less a problem for natural systems than the impact of humans and our activities.

The show starts at 12:05, and Allison runs from 12:18-12:25. Transcript will be available here, and it will be available for download or podcast.


Read an interview with the head of a western Montana electric power co-operative. With almost no industrial base left (most saw mills closed) he is rathr unhappy with the intermittency of wind power, stating that his co-op can’t afford (to build) the extra transmission which would only be used 30% of the time.

Actually, his remarks were stated in much more technical terrms than that. Anyway, his problem might also apply to much of rural Australia, I suppose.


I posted this on John Quiggin’s web site so I though I’d post it here too:

This shows France’s actual electricity demand, generation and the CO2 emissions right now (or yuesterday if the generation chart is blank):

Move your mouse left and right over the stacked area chart
(the second chart area. If it is blank select yesterday) .

Notice changes in the pie chart below.

I’ve selected 14 October and I point you to notice the following:

1. Nuclear’s share of the generation is 76% to 86%.
2. Nuclear power output is varying to follow the load (by about 1700MW)
3. Coal is generating 4% to 5% and gas 4% to 5%
4. Hydro’s share varies between 0% and 15%. It is the most flexible and best able to follow the demand changes
5. Wind’s share is 1% to 2%

Now look at the CO2 emissions chart (below the pie chart). The CO2 emissions vary between 3400 and 5000 tonnes per hour. Two of Australia’s power stations alone produce that much CO2 per hour. So all France’s electricity generators are producing about the same CO2 emissions as just two of our power stations (Hazelwood and Loy Yang A).

What France has works. It has proven this over 30 to 40 years. It is clearly low emissions. We know they have near the lowest cost electricity in Europe. We know they are exporting a large amount of electricity to the surrounding countries, which demonstrates it is low cost and provides good reliablility and power quality. It has proven to be safe and clean. What more could we want? Where is there any evidence whatsoever (other than wishful thinking) that renewables can do the job?


Peter Lang, on 16 October 2010 at 18.56 — Thanks for the post.

French hydro includes a pumped storage dam (I’m unsure of the location) which is capable of switching between pumping and generation to load follow, changing from one to the other for 10–15 minutes at a time. There is more about it somewhere on the web.

In certain speciality markets, variious forms of biofuels more than meet the local need. Very well run paper mills, particle board manufactories, etc., generate more power than is required for their operations. For example, San Diego’s municipal waste water facility generates natgas in excess of their needs for powering operations; they sell it to Linde who then resells the natgas in presurrized bottles.

Many people discover that solar heats their domestic hot water just fine, even in the cloudiest parts of the Pacific Northwest (PNW).

And I remind you once again that here in the PNW with ample hydro, up to 20% of total installed capacity cn become wind backed by that nydro. The remaining 4/5ths, now that all hydro sites have dams, will increasingly have to be from a reliable source. Unfortunately nobody in the PNW is interested in adding even one more nuclear generating station (doubling the total number) and so, unfortunately, the next bunch of generators are mostly going to be CCGTs.


David B Benson,

Yes, French hydro includes pumped hydro, and CHP and solar PV and many other tuypes of generators. However, unless we consider what percentage of the energy is produced by each, we can be diverted into spending most of our time discussing technologies that generate little energy, insteead of the other way around. I’d urge contributors to develop a sense of balance and proportion and put most of their effort into discussing the technolgies that have the ability to address the major issues, which are:

energy cost
energy security (long term)
power quality and reliablity
health, safety and environmental effects

We need to keep a sense of proportion. What proportion of France’s electricity is generated by the technologies you mentioned?


Just to reinforce why I’m a fan of nuclear power, but not nuclear weapons….

“io9 has a scary outline of five times the US came close to accidental nuclear disasters. Quoting: ‘In August of 1950, ten B-29 Superfortress bombers took off from what was then called Fairfield-Suisun Air Force Base in California, headed for Guam. Each was carrying a Mark IV atom bomb, which was about twice as powerful as the bombs dropped on Japan at the end of World War II. Shortly after takeoff, one of the B-29s had engine trouble. On board was General Robert Travis. He commanded the plane to turn back to the base when the landing gear refused to retract. Sensing the plane was going down, the pilot tried to avoid some base housing before crashing at the northwest corner of the base. The initial impact killed 12 of the 20 people aboard, including General Travis. The resulting fire eventually detonated the 5,000 pounds of conventional explosives that were part of the Mark IV. That massive explosion killed seven people on the ground. Had the bomb been armed with its fissile capsule, the immediate death toll may have reached six figures.”


Peter Lang, on 17 October 2010 at 12.04 — I agree. Just pointing out that slamming \renewables\ isn’t very productive. Just instead point out the (approximately) 20% limitation to ask where the other 80% is going to come from.

eclipsenow, on 17 October 2010 at 13.12 — The \fissle capsule\ includes a rod inserted down the middle so that no nuclear reaction can occur so long as it is in place. So the six figure death toll was a figment of somebody’s imagination. I seriously question the figure of 5000 lb of chemical explosive as well.

But yes, I’d rathr the world didn’t have any nuclear weapons (or other kinds as well). Doesn’t seem those things are going to go away anytime soon, despite efforts to reduce the absolute number.


I just posted this on John Quiggin’s web site (it may get deleted):

John Morgan replied to Chris Warren:

“But you knew that, didn’t you? You did have to make a conscious choice to misconstrue this calculation to produce a nonsense, but frightening, result, didn’t you? Alice bought it, but then you’re in the category of “people she likes”, so of course she did. Jack with no integrity, and Jill with no capacity for critical thinking.”

This comment really get to the core of the problem: the lack of integrity of the anti-nuclear acivists. It is acceptable to lie and deceive. Anything is OK to anti nuclear activists if it furthers their cause – their blind hatred of anything to do with nuclear.

Many of the comments on this thread illustrate the blind, irrational hatred of nculear. Some even try to persuade others not to read presumable to prevent any facts being inadvertently exposed tom the anti-nuclear activists.

I am not startled by this sort of behaviour. It has been going on for 40 odd years. But it is revealing that it can continue on an academics web site.


David B Benson

Just instead point out the (approximately) 20% limitation to ask where the other 80% is going to come from.

Two points.

Firstly, pumped hydro is not renewable. It is storing energy generated by nuclear and fossil fule energy, not renewable energy (for reasons explained previously including on the Pumped hydro thread).

Secondly, the ‘20% limit’ (your term) of non-hydro renewables is probably far too high on the basis of economics. On the basis of economics 1% non-hydro renewables is probably not economically viable!


On the basis of economics 1% non-hydro renewables is probably not economically viable!

As I see it, the question is not so much how much renewable power is economically viable. It’s more how much renewable power can be carried by the economy until its parasitic drain starts to cause severe problems. FF interests have to be careful that their renewables advocacy isn’t too sucessful too quickly lest the economic strain start to undermine their own profitability.


Peter Lang, on 18 October 2010 at 9.16 — Of course pumped hydro is not a renewable.

The decsions about where electric power is going to come from are not based solely of (your version of) the economics. The physical constraint is on grid stability and there the (approximately) 20% figure shows up for many different regions of the world.

For (eastern) Australia, that figure may well be far too high given the limited hydro potential. But not, it seems, for even France which has plans (may not materialize) to replace much of the non-NPP by an off-shore wind scheme; we’ll see. And not for around here with lotsa hydro. And not for Denmark, backed by hydro further north.

The central question is where the (approximately) 80% is going to come from.


TONIGHT A reminder:

On 18 October, I will be teaming up with Ziggy Switkowski at the Hilton Hotel, Adelaide, to talk about the near- to medium-term future of nuclear power in Australia, and also to discuss some of the key technologies that will likely underpin this next-generation revolution in atomic energy, and chart a possible course for their development and deployment over the next 40 years. Details are in a flyer you can download here:

This is also a FREE public lecture, so don’t miss it!


That’s almost enough to make a die-hard Sydneysider such as myself wish I lived in Adelaide!

For those who can’t make it to Barry’s talk tonight, don’t forget there’s a climate thing on Q&A and it might be good to phone and twitter in a few choice words supporting nuclear power.


Mark Duffett,

Barry, I wish you’d gotten a guernsey on the new federal government climate change roundtables, in place of some of the usual and not-so-usual suspects there.

I agree. How many people on the round table have sufficient understanding of nuclear? What is the balance?

I expect Mark Diesendorf will be there, along with many other anti-nukes. I expect Mark Diesendorf will promote himself as the resident ‘nuclear expert’, as he frequently does on ABC.

I expect the gas industry will have a really strong presence itself as well as getting its policies very well presented by Business Council of Australia, Chamber of Commerce, and others.

This is the really big worry. There is no balance and a lack of support for nuclear. Therefore, there will be an enormous push for a carbon price because it suits many of these strongly represented industries groups.

I do not have any faith whatsoever in this round table.


What a joke! This will be just another talkfest with no sensible, rational outcome. When are they going to get it? As Barry would say “reality bats last”.

At least with the older policy there was a small but positive chance that they’d randomly select someone sensible from out of the phonebook.


“Anyone good at Twittering or phoning Q&A? Barry? They’re doing climate change this Monday, and I think the more qualified among us would probably get a better chance of commenting.

I just watched it. Awful would be the only way to describe it and not one of Tony Jones’ finer moments. Even after we got over several minutes of Aussie Saint Oi! Oi! Oi! things did not improve much. With this sort of dross dished up, public confusion about climate is just about guaranteed.


Posted at Quiggin’s new thread:

John Quiggin,

This is so wrong, on many counts, it is unbelievable.

Let’s just deal with one. You say:

“Finally, let’s look at replacing Australia’s total emissions (about 600 Mt of CO2 equivalent) with high-cost renewables. At an additional cost of $150/tonne, that would cost 90 billion a year, or 7.5 per cent of national income. But the actual cost of going all-renewable would be far lower, since at such high prices, there would be huge incentives for improved energy efficiency and for substitution away from energy-intensive goods and services. A more plausible cost, even on pessimistic estimates about renewables would be 5 per cent of national income or about 2 years of economic growth.”

But renewables cannot do the job at virtually any price!!. Don’t you understand that? The technologies do not exist and are unlikely to ever exist. We’ve been hearing from the renewables advocates the same story “but its just around the corner” for 30 years. Nothing is changing. Not only is the cost of the generators huge, we don’t have cost effective energy storage so intermittent renewables cannot work.

You say: “To sum up, there is very little point in lengthy hypothetical arguments about which low-carbon technology is best. ”

There is very little point in lengthy hypothetical arguments about whether, in the far off future, energy storage on the scale required might become viable or that the prices of wind and solar power may come down so they can provide reliabl power at a competitive price.

Non-hydro renewables cannot provide our electricity supply, or even 10% of it. And they don’t avoid much if any CO2 emissions because of the increased emissions due to the reduced efficiency of the back up fossil fuel generators.

Don’t you get any of this?


Posted at Quiggin’s new thread:

Here we have an extreme Left economist arguing that Australia should impose policies that on his highly optimistic calculations would cost only 5% of national income and 2 years of growth.

It is no wonder that people are scared stiff of what the Left stand for.

He says: “A more plausible cost, even on pessimistic estimates about renewables would be 5 per cent of national income or about 2 years of economic growth.”

But they are not pessimistic estimates. They are ridiculouly optimistic estimates.


Peter, Quiggin has responded to your postings with the following:

I didn’t think I needed to spell it out, but obviously I do. Debate on the merits of specific technologies belongs in the sandpit. Anything further along these lines will be deleted.

El Gordo and Peter Lang: please comment only in the sandpit. Anything else from you will be deleted.


Having now seen the full list of representative on the new federal government climate change roundtable via the link provided by Ms Perps above, my expectations of it coming up with anything helpful are definitely not high. Very long on activists, very short on people with the credentials to look critically at effective solutions.


The discussions on John Quiggin’s web site, and other web sites has provoked the following thoughts:

There is a relatively small group of Australian’s who believe Australia will need to implement nuclear power if we want to make major cuts to emissions.

There is a much larger group of people who believe that a carbon tax or ETS will cause deep cut in our emissions.

There is also a large group, pretty much the same as the first group, who believe renewable energy can replace fossil fuels and provide the deep emissions cuts.

The nuclear supporters are totally unfunded. The renewable energy supporters are massively funded by the tax payer and have been for over two decades.

The business groups who want a carbon tax see financial advantage for their business (such as the gas industry and the renewable energy industry and researchers).

I am far from convinced that we are moving to develop good energy policy. I agree with Ziggy Switkowski’s post today on Climate Spectator.


Peter: On Switkowski.

I was surprised at the 28 GW of solar, compared to 13 GW nukes in the Japan plan.

of course, the 28 GW is nameplate, but why build all that nameplate solar? I don’t really get it.

has anyone written anything here on solar and wind make more sense when coupled with nuclear?



Interesting. I didn’t pick up on the 28GW of solar. That would generate about 3 to 4GWy/y average power with little through the winter.


I am expecting to be told to stop posting on John Quiggins web stite, so I wrote this summary of where we’d go to:

Since the anti-nukes are now calling for an end to any further debate on nuclear on the John Quiggin web site, let’s summarise what has been established:

1. Nuclear is by far the least cost, low emissions electricity generation technology.

2. If we want to make major cuts (say 60% to 90%) to CO2 emissions as quickly as possible, and phase out most fossil fuel electricity generation by say 2040 or 2050, nuclear power will have to be the major player (probably the dominant technology).

3. If we want clean electricity to displace gas for heating and oil for land transport, as fast as possible, then we’ll need to make electricity as low cost as we can.

4. If we want the developing countries to adopt low emissions electricity and avoid, to the extent possible, going through the fossil fuel stage, then the developed countries will need to make clean electricity lower cost than coal. (we can do so; we just need to remove the irrational impediments that are preventing nuclear being lower cost than coal)

5. Nuclear power is about the safest of all the electricity generation technologies; it is some 10 to 100 times safer than coal generation

6. Nuclear power has by far the lowest environmental footprint: area required, mining area and volumes, shipping volumes, fresh water requirements compared with coal, fresh water for construction compared with solar (for concrete), materials mined, processed, manufactured, fabricated, constructed, decomissioned, disposed of and transported between all stages.

7. Once used nuclear fuel (or so called ‘nuclear waste’), is a trivial quantity and a trivial technical issue in comparison with the management of waste from fossil fuel power stations. Once used nuclear fuel should be stored for later use in Gen IV reactors when they are adopted some time in the future). We all recognise it is a highly emotive issue, thanks to the effective propoganda of the anti-nukes over the past 40 odd years.

more, but that will do for now.


@P. Lang.: the elephant in your particular room is that unlike your good friend DV28XL, you do not “follow the money” .

The problem was described some time ago in The Monthly (Melbourne); I referenced the article on BNC at the time. See also some BNC comments by John Newlands, as I recall.

AU, which has replaced Saudi Arabia as leading carbon exporter, and its politicians are corrupted with coal money. Look at the plight of farmers on the Darling Downs and how they stand at law when a coal mine approaches their properties. But for you, coal money in a politician’s pocket is just the wink-wink, nudge-nudge perks of office that go with being a superior elite person.

So that is the real explanation of what you and your neocon ilk describe as “the propaganda of the anti-nukes over the last 40 years”. 40 years takes us back to the abortive Jervis Bay NPP, at which time neither the USA nor GB wanted AU to get a nuclear deterrent, as it seems: BNC contains a link to an informative ABC podcast on that..

But that doesn’t fit your “capital loyalties” either.


I’m posting the article below to get your (BNC collective) sincere advice. I’m not interested in high handed criticisms of this guy as “ignorant,” etc., even though he may be seriously mistaken.

The person who posts this article is convinced that uranium (yellowcake I think) is “the yellow rock that kills.”

To suggest that uranium tailings are not very toxic (radiotoxic) puts you in the category of the “government” and opposed to what “everybody and his grandma knows,” that U is highly carcinogenic.

This wastewater may indeed have been highly toxic, either due to high concentrations in water (chemical toxicity) or due to agents in the wastewater different from the uranium tailings. any ideas for how to persuade activists who associate nuclear with illnesses and who to boot do not trust (Hunter is an older Native American man), and for generally good reasons, the government?

From other posts, Hunter, basically, does not trust science, and of course, science has been distorted by “material interests” in all sorts of ways, but there’s not only a lot of good science out there, but those who convincingly show how science is distorted by “special interests” are themselves scientists or doing science.

at any rate, this anti nuke stance is so visceral that arguments to the effect that opposition to nukes means support for fossil fuels, with the tens of thousands of deaths that entails, with astronomical potential deaths.

Here is the post from Hunter Bear.

Our family was living on the Navajo Nation when this all around tragedy — the Church Rock Spill — occurred in the summer of 1979. The extremely negative effects of this continue, as is the case with all of those spawned by uranium development generally. Subsequently, a fine documentary film, “River That Harms,” was made about the Church Rock disaster by people we know — well worth getting if one is concerned about “the yellow rock that kills.” [H]

Indian Country Today
Print this article

Uranium spill elicits traditional approach
Originally printed at

By Carol Berry, Today correspondent
October 19, 2010

CHURCH ROCK, N.M. – About 10 miles north of this predominantly Navajo community, Highway 566 transects Red Water Pond Road, which is blocked at the entrance to an abandoned United Nuclear Corp. mine site from which nearly 1 million gallons of toxic wastewater spilled into the nearby Puerco River 31 years ago.

Residents of this high desert mesa country of northwestern New Mexico remember the event they have designated the Church Rock Uranium Tailings Spill, caused when a dam was breached at a UNC/General Electric uranium mill tailings disposal pond and toxic wastewater and 1,100 tons of radioactive tailings poured into the river, which flows through Gallup, N.M. and on to Holbrook and Winslow, Ariz.

People still remember, in part because of lingering illnesses they attribute to the spill, and they have looked with some hope at a unique process being conducted by Phil Bluehouse, a member of the Diné Haatali, or Navajo Medicine Men Association, who is a former federal agent and now a practitioner of the Navajo Peacemaking Method, which uses tradition and philosophy to address contemporary concerns.

Over recent months, the Red Water Pond Road Community Association has participated in monthly Bluehouse-facilitated comprehensive planning workshops with representatives from the national Environmental Protection Agency, Navajo EPA, and UNC/GE, said Garrett Brennan Stewart, Diné, an assistant to Bluehouse.

The method draws on Navajo culture and tradition “going back to our creation narratives, based on the experiences of our people. The narratives detail prehistory from the time of creation to emergence onto the earth itself, and then our history from emergence to the present day,” Bluehouse said, adding that going into too much detail about the method as used in the current workshops would be inappropriate and “too esoteric.”

Instead of fostering anti-healing divide-and-conquer strategies of the kind in the criminal justice system, Navajo traditional justice “is completely different – it involves the psychological, spiritual and biophysical,” and the process in peacemaking follows the strategies told in the old narratives because they carry the power to heal, he said.

Bluehouse was dissatisfied with the limitations of the criminal and civil justice systems and in 1990 moved into the peacemaking system. He left law enforcement because he felt the system was too political and was not functioning as it should.

“He (Bluehouse) is a retainer of knowledge – an elder. He is a naat’aanii, or leader,” Stewart said. “He articulates ancient teachings in post-modern English. It’s not so much nostalgia as it is depth psychology.”

To commemorate the spill, in July the community association, with the Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment, Doodá Desert Rock, and a citizens’ group from Grand Junction, Colo. heard an early-morning, traditional invocation and then walked along Red Pond Water Road, where a former miner recalled the day it happened.

“This spill happened about three months after the Three Mile Island (Pennsylvania nuclear generating station partial meltdown) event,” recalled Larry King, of Church Rock and a former worker at the UNC mine.

“That got more coverage than this. People got compensated quickly at Three Mile Island – around here, I don’t think anyone got compensated for anything, and that’s what we’re still addressing to our legislature, our elected officials – that we need long-term water and soil sampling done in this area, as well as health studies of people who live along the wash.”

King and others are talking at the workshop meetings about an agreement on methods to remove present mine waste, restore and remediate the land, and relocate residents along the rural Red Water Pond Road, which follows the periphery of the abandoned mine.

“The public meetings have not been without a fair share of tension,” Stewart said, particularly when a former UNC employee was challenged on his contention that contaminated mine waste had been dumped at off-UNC property sites and that EPA had not been notified. The charge culminated in a “short but heated exchange,” and the employee in question was to be excluded from a tour of the alleged dump site because the Nuclear Regulatory Commission felt his presence “posed a threat.”

While Bluehouse’s facilitated meetings may yield results about remediation and restoration, at present “the talks have become kind of muddled – both sides are not really seeing each others’ interests, and both sides don’t seem to want to come to an accord,” said Stewart, who felt the community group’s requests may not have been clearly stated.

At the same time, the federal stance on the potential health effects of the spill is “wild – everybody and his grandma knows this stuff causes so much harm, but they keep saying it isn’t carcinogenic,” he said.

Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
and Ohkwari’


hey all:

g. cravens sent me a study of cancer incidence in areas where much u mining and milling took place between 1954-1990.

the study, just published, shows no increased incidence of cancer except for those who worked in unventilated u mines, who got expected cancers (lung) from high radon exposure.


@David B Benson, I looked askance at the NCAR projection of increasing drought for northern Australia, as this flies in the face of current runoff and soil moisture trends. However, apparently this is down to “increased evaporation is a major cause for the increased aridity”, apparently overriding the increased precipitation in northern Australia that is already evident, and also projected to increase.


(Smacks hand to forehead…)

isn’t that about as bad as walking out the front door in winter and yelling, “Sure is cold today. This global warming thing must be crap!”

Surely you *know* (but are now conveniently ignoring) that these models are talking about overall trends, but that they still allow for the Indian Dipol and Pacific El Nino to have their way with the climate? We are talking about 1 in 100 year rains. Wait till next year, or the year after, and even the monkey in you, the raw primitive ape, will have to admit… something’s up with the climate.


EN, I thought you knew me better than that. In any case, please consider what I wrote more carefully. Climate warming has been under way for decades, and accordingly its effects are present in observations over that time. Those observations show a long term (i.e. fifty years plus) increase in soil moisture and stream runoff in northern Australia, as the NCAR report itself shows (see figs. 5c and 7d).

What the report is saying that this trend, presumably driven at least in part by climate heating, is set to reverse – also driven by climate heating. Does this not strike you as curious?


Bryan Lovell
Chanllenged by Carbon: The Oil Industry and Climate Change
Cambridge Univeristy Press

This petroleum geologist states that CCS is technically feasable and hints that it would be rather expense until well into the so-called learning curve.


Finrod, and others who see this and are bloggin on John Quiggins site,

I see you and the others who are trying to answer the questions and recitfy the misunderstandings of the anti-nukes, have been drawn into a discussion that is ‘down in the weeds’. This is exactly what the anti-nukes want. It is their strategy to reduce the discussion to this level. They throw enough mud for long enough that some of it sticks. Worse still it muddys the watrers. Many lurkers will leave a discussion like this thinking “this all sounds a bit dangerous, despite what the nuclear proponents say”. That is the general impression that such a discussion leaves. And that is what the anti-nukes want.

That is why I stick with the high level like:

– cleanest
– safest
– least-cost, low-emissions generating technology on a properly comparable basis
– smaller footprint
– less mining
– less material processing, manufacturing, construction, decomissioning, waste disposal
– less transport involved in every step
– less fresh water
– more sustainable

If any of these claims are challenged I can back them up.


I’m a bit disappointed that the discussion thread on the Quiggins site seems to have been suddenly, abruptly closed down with no notice or explanation, and that further discussion of nuclear energy seems to be not welcome.

I’m also annoyed with the position of certain anti-nuclear posters over there, who are so dogmatic that they will even simply refuse to read any link or post which is hosted on the BNC site.

We’re talking about people who do not have a basic literacy in the science and technology relating to nuclear energy – specific arguments in defence of nuclear energy aren’t needed, but basic nuclear energy “literacy” is. And they’re so dogmatic that they refuse to go out and attempt to get that basic level of technical literacy.

If we look at the community of pro-nuclear people in the community, the regular commenters on BNC, I would estimate that only a minority of them have professional qualifications in physics or engineering, and very few if any have qualifications in nuclear engineering, since there is no nuclear engineering department at any Australian university.

My point is, everyone here has gone out there and put the effort in to teach themselves about nuclear energy.

Professor Brook, for example, is a climatologist, an ecologist – and yet Brook has gone out there and taken an interest in it, and taught himself the facts about the basic technology and science of nuclear energy. It’s not hard to do, and to be honest, if anti-nuclear activists expect to argue with us, it’s difficult to not tell them that I expect them to do the same.

It’s frustrating, sometimes.


I think Finrod’s final post on the John Quiggin thread before it was closed down was an appropriate note on which to end the discussion:

Clearly, John Quiggin is an anti-nuke. he has posted articles and commnets on the threads that demonstrate that. He has also started three threads and two sandpits specifically for discussion on nuclear and closed them all down when the irrational arguments when the antis position is getting shown up as total nonsense.

It’s pretty scary what such people really strand for.


I gave up on the Quiggin ‘discussion’ a while ago. The antinuke protaganonists place no value on intellectual integrity, and you can’t avoid the conclusion they are being consciously dishonest, and incredibly immature and childish at the same time. I gave up mainly because I started feeling .. soiled.


John Morgan,

I agree with your comment.

Bu you weren’t soiled. You avoided that.

From what I’ve seen, wherever you post, you maintain your professional and personal integrity. You display high EQ. (and IQ). Your handling of the discussion with JM on BNC was excellent (EQ, IQ and knowledge of fundamentals). Similarly with BilB and Stephen Gloor before (display of high EQ).


I interpret the thread shutdown as an exercise in damage control. Quiggin was starting to see how badly his anti-nuke attack dogs were being mauled after they made a series of particularly stupid gaffs, and this was not at all to his liking. In his introduction to the new ‘sandpit’ thread he specifically said “The nuclear v renewables debate is going along in its sandpit with plenty of sand being thrown and a good time had by all as far as I can see.” This isn’t the sort of thing yoy say if you’re about to close a thread off, surely. But shortly after that, Chris Warren tripped up after backpeddling on his LNT claims trying to pretend that he hadn’t meant things that he’d previously said, and got himself into an awful mess over the radwaste issue. He needed to be bailed out before he shot himself in the foot again.

I call this a victory.


I recall that a couple of times Quiggin has linked to Diesendorf’s ‘Baseload Fallacy’ article. I’d rename it the ‘40% of peak electrical demand can’t be ignored’ fallacy ie it can be ignored.


My view on NBN is that their $43 bn budget should be cut in half and the money spent on a couple of AP1000s. As in lent to an independent operator. I’ve mentioned that my neighbours and I were judged to live in a broadband blackspot so we got ipstar satellite subsidies for which we are grateful. Blow me down I now see fibre optic cables laid under sheep paddocks and tree plantations throughout the black spot area. The NBN evidently has more money than it knows what to do with.

David Benson a live link to the pro-CCS reasoning would be useful. I’m deeply suspicious of the line that making something big enough will improve the economics. Aussies will remember the solar updraft tower that was going to be built near Mildura.


John Newlands,

The point I was trying to make by linking the NBN article is that this is an example of what governments do when the lose the plot. That is the problem with allowing governments to run our critical infrastructure and destroying competition (as is the heavy hand of government in the NBN).

When governments run infrastructure it is nearly impossible to fix the problem. Ministers who are ignorant of the business are in control. They have little expertise for being at the head of a big and essential business. They have enormous egos and don’t know what they don’t know. They are driven by ideology and short term election cycles. If they become unpopulare the minister is changed by the business goes on. The new minister is no better. This can go on for decades. Add to this problem that unions can hold the industry to ransom (as has happened many time in the past and just recently when they prvented the NSW Labor government from privatising the NSW electricity industry).

The alternative is competition and private sector investment, ownership, operation and appropriate, light, government regulation. If a company is managed badly, the management is changed. If it vcontinues they are bought out or go bankrupt and another supply meets the demand. The private sector is much more responsive to changes in requirements, implementing new technologies and whatever it takes to maintain competitive advantage. That minimises costs over the long term and ensures security of supply over the long term. Public sector ownership cannot do that as well (over the long term). It could do it better once upon a time, but not any more (in the western democracies).

These posts are all part of my long standing plead with contributors to come together and work together to achieve what is most important – win broad support to bring least-cost clean electricity generation to Australia as soon as possible.

Our requirements should be defined by the outcome we are seeking.

We should not be trying to specify how it should be achieved.

However, of course, we need to make practical proposals (and options) as to how it can be achieved, but these should not detract from a focus on the required outcome.


Mark Diesendorf had his usual anti-nuke rant on The Science Show today. Same old nonsense, nothing new, except perhaps that he’s made more specific references to and criticisms of Gen IV than usual. As usual, it’s mostly lies, with the occasional misleading truth thrown in.

He’s spoken of the ‘decline’ of nuclear power throughout the decade, stating that at the begining it contributed 17% of global electricity supply, and now it only covers 13%. I guess there’s no reason to doubt this. China and other developing countries have expanded electricity production hugely, mainly with coal. Even with the various power uprates that have gone on, nuclear hasn’t been able to hold its share.


Hey Peter: I read the article. One article, PL, stands no chance of dislodging a “paradigm.”

I would never expect to send you one article about the dysfunctionality bred by cut throat competition and expect to persuade you.

at any rate:

it is obvious that public ownership is no guarantee of quality; neither is private ownership. Competition under certain circumstances may facilitate product quality or may not. Under many circumstances, it facilitates a race to the bottom in wages and toxic competition and distrust among workers.

[cooperative enterprises are not immune to toxic relations between workers either. ]

Humans are highly motivated to produce for the common good. What do you think we’re all doing here at BNC? Should I distrust your work on energy because it isn’t being quality controlled by a profit maximization imperative?

As far as protectionism versus competition, the irony is that without protectionism, a fledgling industry could never even get the chance to compete unless it was protected.

from your article (I know virtually nothing about the players), NBN sounds pretty dysfunctional. but your conclusion about public ownership doesn’t follow for people who don’t share your assumptions.


Luke Weston, on 23 October 2010 at 10:50 AM — Not all commenters here are from Oz; I greatly enjoyed my 6 month visit in the previous century.

John Newlands, on 23 October 2010 at 2:13 PM — Unfortunately I don’t have a link. I thought the book worth mentioning as Bryan Lovell is a professional geologist and was a BP insider for some time before moving on to the University of Cambridge.



Thanks for the link.

Slide 54 of 57 in the first link shows that the S-PRISM {prototype plant) should be half way through the Prototype Test phase, the fuel’s been loaded and it is approaching full power.

The Standard Plant should be nearing completion Detail Design certification.

So how is it doing compared with this schedule (from 2001).


A few comments about the NBN and the Australian’s war on the on the NBN..

Personally I would rather have seen some of the money spent on kick starting nuclear power in Aus, but that’s not going to happen anytime soon, so it’s not overly pertinent.

As to the the economics of the NBN and the constant banging on about “cost benefit analysis”, any modelling is going to be highly dependent on the underlying assumptions. When considering investment in infrastructure that will last many decades in the context of rapidly developing technologies that will utilize and depend on that infrastructure the future economics will always have considerable uncertainty. You can probably come up with whatever figures you like by fiddling your assumptions.

Let it be said that the NBN in technical and engineering terms with fibre to the node is by far and away the best way of implementing broadband internet for fixed services. No ifs and buts. ADSL, wireless, cable and satellite are all much inferior. Anybody that contends otherwise is talking nonsense. In a process that has being going on for decades communications services have been evolving to run over IP (Internet Protocol), at least to the end node. This trend is guaranteed to continue into the foreseeable future. This requires both increasing bandwidth and increasing reliability and has great benefits in terms of both functionality and cost. As always, the timescales are uncertain.

In engineering terms, there is nothing “dysfunctional” about the NBN.

The Australian, has for it’s own (political) reasons done it’s utmost to sow doubt and confusion about the NBN. Let us take a recent example – the scare mongering about, and the reality of, the costs of implementing a household LAN (Local Area Network) to fully utilize the increased bandwidth that the NBN will make available for internet access: NBN wiring could cost users up to $400 a room

The best way of implementing a household LAN is undoubtedly to wire every room with CAT6 cabling. That is the case with, or without, NBN. If you want to know the cost, get a quote from an electrician. But the implication that it will be mandatory to spend that kind of money to derive most or perhaps all of the benefits of NBN is just plain wrong. We will assume that the editors at the Australian are not complete idiots, and are doing this consciously in their campaign of “fear and doubt” against the NBN. Conroy is right to be outraged over this issue.

Let’s look at some of the alternatives to CAT6/Ethernet:

1. Wireless 802.11g. Most people using wireless currently are using this standard. Anybody using older stuff should throw it away and upgrade – it’s cheap. 802.11g has a raw bit speed of 54 mbits/sec and effective throughput of ~22 mbits/sec. It may be lower depending on distance and other factors, but that’s the nature of wireless. Most people with any form of broadband in Australia currently are getting nothing like 22 mbps, so NBN would give them an immediate improvement with their existing LAN. 802.11g will carry a single MPEG2 encoded video stream from current HDTV. With improved video encoding such as H.264, you might be able to squeeze two streams out of it. So no, you won’t get the full benefit of NBN with 802.11g wireless but you probably derive considerable benefit and can upgrade your LAN at your convenience. You can also do it piecemeal with a mix of technologies to the different nodes, thus reducing cost.

2. 802.11n wireless. This is the latest wireless standard. Raw bit speed is 300 mbps and range is better than 802.11g. Effective throughput varies, but is likely to be in the range 50 – 100 mbps per second. This is likely to be quite sufficient for the vast majority of internet access via NBN without compromise including IPTV. It’s quite cheap starting at about $45 per node and maybe $100-$200 for the wireless base station. It’s not optimal, but in many cases will be “good enough”.

3. Ethernet over power. Household mains 240V wiring is used for data. You plug adapters into unused power points, plug the ethernet cable into your PC. Speeds over 100 mbit/sec are very achievable and in most cases quite sufficient for NBN access without any compromise. Cost starts at around $60 per node. Installation is a snap and there is no installation cost. I use these things and they work very well.

If the Australian had any commitment to the truth and painting an accurate picture of the costs to consumers of NBN, they would have pointed these things out. They have chosen instead to paint a biased picture with an almost hysterical campaign whose purpose is “fear and doubt”. It is so reminiscent of their war on climate science.

I wrote an informative comment pointing out these household options in the comments section of the Oz’s pieces and how surprising, it wasn’t published.



I cannot believe the line you are taking on this. This sounds highly irresponsible. $43 billion is nearly half the total Federal government debt. To spend that without a proper cost benefit anaysis is highly irresponsible. We’ve had no end of wasteage from this government in three years. I cannot believe how anyone could stand up for this. No onder people are worried about what elest they will do (like CPRS Carbon tax and many other worries).

The department of Defenece si required to use Earned Value Performance Measurement on any defence procurement in excess of $100 million. NBN is $43 billion and there isn’t even a proper project plan. Unbelieveable. Totally indefencible.



I understand you support government cover ups?

I understand you feel that a Labor government should be able to tax spend and waste whatever it likes and there should be no scrutiny?

Quokka, you’ve been scammed. I get the impression you have ideological blinkers on. You seem to stand up for anything put up by Greens or Labor no matter what the cost. You seem to just believe whatever they say.


Peter Lang,

I believe the timeline in that PDF was a proposed timeline if the decision to go ahead with the S-PRISM went ahead. It did not, so we’re at year 0 right now. iirc, France wants to have a prototype running by 2020, but I haven’t seen much information on how that compares with the S-PRISM.



@Peter Lang

Quokka, you’ve been scammed. I get the impression you have ideological blinkers on. You seem to stand up for anything put up by Greens or Labor no matter what the cost. You seem to just believe whatever they say.

I have not been scammed, and phrasing debate about NBN in those terms is unhelpful.

I have a considerable experience in data communications and networking dealing with all sort of stuff such as voice work in call centre call routing, queuing and management, internet provisioning, access controls and security and lots of other older technologies. And I mean real nuts and bolts stuff such as writing protocol gateways right down to the bits and bytes level pouring over standards documents.

What I wrote above about home owner’s options in an NBN rollout is accurate and moreover will likely reflect the way things will happen. Every home will not be, nor need to be wired with CAT6 for NBN subscribers to receive benefit from the new network. In fact in most cases there will be perfectly workable temporary or even permanent cheap options that will for practical purposes do a more than adequate job. Having said that, I think it would be an excellent idea for new homes to, by law, be required to be wired with CAT6. It’s cheap to do during construction.

The Australian has chosen to obscure these facts and run a scare campaign about how home owners will have to fork out thousands of dollars for cabling to subscribe to NBN. It’s not true and what’s more the editors of the Australian know this.



you say:

I have a considerable experience in data communications and networking dealing with all sort of stuff

I respect that. And I respect a lot of the other knowledge you have and that makes your contributions on BNC and on Quiggins web site valuable and interesting.

But this point is not about data communications. The point is about the management of public finances.

And, yes, I repeat, we are being misled, scammed.

What the Oppostion and the parts of the media that are doing their job (proper investigative journalism) are trying to expose is that most of the $43 billion estimated cost of the NBN should be included in the Federal budget. It is not. That is a scam.

If the $43 billion was included in the Federal budget, the federal budget would be in deficit for many years longer than the Government is admitting. That is, our debt would keep rising for much longer and it wouldn’t be paid off for perhaps another decade beyond what the government is saying.

That is the point. That is why we are being scammed. What is happening is worse than what the Whitlam government did.

The relevance of this to policy on ETS and Carbon tax is that it demonstrates the government is incompetent, and cannot be trusted (due to either dishonesty or incompetence or a combination of these).

This contributes to the general feeling of distrust about the government’s and the Green’s plans for carbon taxes or ETS.


@ Quokka,
Never expect respect from Peter Lang if you support anything that smacks, even remotely, of left wing politics. If it’s not right, it’s not right. Peter said so. ;-)

The fact that Scientific American says the internet itself would never have been built without initial government help, well, Peter must just ignore that. Governments roll things out, and the marketplace responds. Sometimes those things are rolled out well, sometimes not. Bit like the private marketplace really. Human beings in big corporations try some things which succeed, some which fail, and some which are lukewarm. Same with governments. But don’t tell Peter that!


I get the impression you have ideological blinkers on.

Ha ha ha! Oh, Quokka, don’t you sometimes just have to gasp and stand back from the computer screen for a moment, and just shake one’s head at the sheer audacity of it? This from Mr Right is RIGHT! himself. Wow.


I still don`t get that article about the cables…

Who has/needs TV in every room? What for? Why should children need that much bandwidth to play Xbox?
Something is fundamentally wrong here.

Wlan is not too slow for streaming! The case in the article is useless…setting up a server is useless.
They are afraid of wireless for other reasons too. Where I live people set up wireless meshes and clouds all over the city. wireless g/n, UMTS, HSDPA, LTE…
The main use of all this is filesharing…;)
99% of all subscribers only need broadband for entertainment.
Does your government also pay for TV sets?

This is nice article about energy in Nature


Heavyweather, right now the vast majority of home users might put the vast majority of *their* bandwidth into entrainment. Yet building out a successful internet today is as important as the roads were to Rome. At stake is nothing less than well we can cope with the challenges of the decades ahead!

Bandwidth use is only going to increase as the graphical functions of all industries increase. Medical file sharing and imaging, robotic surgery across vast distances from the specialist, education, teleconferencing in a post-oil world so CEO’s don’t have to fly, these are just a few of the uses the future internet will increasingly have to cope with.

It is self evident. Just as the computer game pong failed to anticipate the complexities of modern computer games like Halo or World of Warcraft, today’s internet builders have to try and anticipate the requirements of the next generation of computer functionality.

I just hope they *overbuild* it ENOUGH!


EN very futuristic view.
I doubt that medical data streams or any relevant communication will ever catch up with any entertainment use.
There is about more traffic generated by porn than by medical imaging…

I would not want tele surgerie…I would be glad if my surgeon would have his worktime limited to 5h.
My girl is cutting people open after 18h of work with toothpicks holding her eyes open.
I`d rather have some well rested doctor on site.

Customer support did not get better with indian callcenters either….

Pong to WoW…nothing hast changed only the time and computer time ressources wastet wordwide.
Including use of bandwidth.


My father in law was a surgeon back in the day. He did *ridiculous* hours, back before relatively recent medical reforms (recent as in gradual reforms over the last 20 or so years).

So I completely empathise with your concerns about exhausted surgeons. However, I think it is a bit of a false dichotomy. With the right equipment around the place, it might give rural folk more access to super-specialists in various kinds of medical emergency.

I`d rather have some well rested doctor on site.

Or you might have some jet-lagged doctor straight off the plane, or stressed doctor trying to fit you in between his flights.

This technology is not about medical shifts so much as medical omnipresence.

And as I was trying to indicate in the above post, that’s just medicine. Every trend in every industry is increased bandwidth. Just think about the worldwide access to reforms in education. Video technology is starting to completely reform education. We are a first world country. Why can’t we have access to the best of everything, at our fingertips, immediately? Not mediocre low res versions that take an hour or so to download. That’s ridiculous!

Maybe your wireless recommendations should be adopted in Africa and other developing areas that need access to the net. Give an African kid a cheap wireless laptop connection to the net, and you’re handing him access to the sum total of human knowledge. With video tutorials that are growing online, you’re even giving it to him in an accessible package he or she might be able to understand a lot earlier and lot faster!

But I’m afraid that anything less and an industrial strength broadband in Australia just sounds Luddite.


I still don`t get it. Any research lab could proof them wrong/falsify the resultsof their experiments.
Instead they license their “technology” and aquire more capital.
Are private investors that stupid?
They also seem to get loads of money from the government.


I still don`t get it. Any research lab could proof them wrong/falsify the resultsof their experiments.
Instead they license their “technology” and aquire more capital.
Are private investors that stupid?


On the Australian radiometric maps, a word of caution – note the lack of a z-scale i.e. a key relating colour to concentration. In these cases, it’s not a linear relationship. In particular, there could be orders of magnitude difference in radioisotope concentrations within the apparently ‘high’ areas. John Newlands’ link is essential background reading for this stuff.

On another thread, Barry Brook described me as ‘BNC’s resident mining geologist’. That’s flattering me a bit – this (radiometric) sort of thing is much more my bag.


Mark Duffett,

I understand Geoscience Australia is identifying uranium deposit targets at down to 400m depth in one place and 1000m depth in another using electromagnetic geophysics methods. Can you elaborate?


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