Crikey Says

Oct 23, 2012

Crikey says: a yellowcake business in decline?

Is it the surplus we had to have, or just the one we deserve? Are the good people of the ACT going to get the government they deserve (or voted for)? Why aren't more women deserving of promotion in the Liberal Party? And does Hedley Thomas deserve all those Walkley nominations?

What's uranium worth to Queensland, now that Campbell Newman has made a snap decision to overturn a 23-year ban on mining in the state? The Premier reckons some $18 billion from the state's significant northern minerals basin, delivering royalties of $900 million. Sunshine State economist John Quiggin isn't so sure. As he reminded us today:
"The failure of the 'nuclear renaissance' in the US means that at most two to four new plants will be built there this decade, while older plants will close as plans for upgrades and license extensions are put on hold. In Europe and Japan, not only will there be little or no new construction, but the phase-out of existing plants is being accelerated. China's big expansion plans are still on hold after Fukushima, and the program as a whole is being scaled back in favour of renewables. In these circumstances, uranium exporters must accept lower prices, be less choosy about their customers, or both."
Of course, now there's India. Julia Gillard's recent trip to the sub-continent and decision to overturn an export ban sparked Newman to action (even though he told the Australian Conservation Foundation earlier this month the government had "no plans" to approve uranium mining development). Our new friends, as a result, are now in a considerably powerful bargaining position for Australian yellowcake. Even aside from the safety concerns -- Quiggin, for one, is miffed Labor is able to so easily overlook "India's contribution to nuclear proliferation and the limited progress that has been made in separating civilian and military programs and stockpiles" -- Newman's government is getting into a business with a fast-shallowing customer pool. Except for one which will now be able to throw its weight around. Miners may have been quick to endorse, but with a state budget under strain it's Newman making the biggest bet. *They're at it again, Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, in the third and final debate ahead of next month's poll. Guy Rundle is watching and will file for the Crikey website later today.

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7 thoughts on “Crikey says: a yellowcake business in decline?

  1. klewso

    One more “Newman lie” – will that record be played up in our media as they have Gillard’s?

  2. The Pav

    Without getting in the rights and wrongs of the Unranium mining issue I will be interested to see the reaction of the likes of News Ltd, Alan Jones, Tony Abbott who have been callking the Prime Minister a liar for introducing a Carbon Price.

    It is quite clear that Campbell Newman made a pre election conmmittment. There is even a letter to the ACF

    He has now gone back on this.

    If the aforementioned do not take Newman to task ( will we jhear him called Cambelliar) on the same basis they have attacked the PM thenwe are left with the conclusionthat not only are the hypocrits but that they are gender based in their attacks

    That is they are saying it is OK for a male politician to to “break an election committment” without being called a liar but not so for a female.

    I would love for a journalist to put this to the various abusers of the PM, I don’t think they will die of shame if their double standards are exposed. that would be too much to hope for

  3. zut alors

    A comparison of a conservative duo Ie:
    – when Mr Rabbott puts something in writing we can believe it (apparently, so he says – but not in writing!)
    – when Soup [email protected] commits in print it’s not worth the paper it’s written on.

  4. dazza

    There will be no yellow cake business under the government I lead!! Trust can-do on this, sure can.

  5. Mark Duffett

    Quiggin has long had an anti-nuclear streak a mile wide, and Crikey takes his word uncritically at its peril. China’s perfectly reasonable post-Fukushima review and suspension of new nuclear plans is about to end ( Too, there are dozens of countries from South Korea to Poland (which, last time I looked, was in Europe) that are forging ahead with nuclear plant construction.

  6. AR

    Leaving aside the danger of the stuff itself, it again gives rise the the adage, “if you’re so rich, how come you ain’t smart?”,recently so wonderfully demonstrated by Rhinohide et al with the vast, putative, investments in more & more holes for extracting more .. stuff.
    Assuming that the First Principle of the Dismal unScience remains the supply/demand ration = price then, with the drying up of demand and the greater supply, one must assume the price drop will be even greater.

  7. Mark Duffett

    The biggest cloud on the horizon for uranium prices is the Integral Fast Reactor: “…the IFR can change in a fundamental way the outlook for global energy on the necessary massive scale. These resource extension properties multiply the amount of usable fuel by a factor of over a hundred, allowing demand to be met for many centuries with fuel already at hand, by a technology that is known today, and whose properties are largely established.”

    (my emphasis)

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