Australia should move quickly to export more uranium and could generate significant environmental benefits by developing a greenhouse-friendly nuclear power industry, a report for the Federal Government says.

The Prime Minister is expected to make public today the final report from a taskforce that has been examining whether Australia should move further into the nuclear fuel cycle.

The taskforce, headed by the former Telstra chief executive Ziggy Switkowski, issued a draft report in November calling for a major expansion of uranium mining in Australia while offering more qualified backing for domestic uranium processing and nuclear power.

It is understood the final version of the report, which was handed to John Howard last week, confirms most of the conclusions from the earlier draft while including considerably more material to support its findings.

Mr Howard will use the report to continue his campaign to persuade state Labor governments to remove restrictions on approving new uranium mines under the ALP's no-new-mines policy.

Mr Howard says there should be a community debate over expanding the uranium industry and has suggested nuclear power generation would have environmental benefits by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The Labor leader, Kevin Rudd, has pledged to push for a change in the ALP policy against expanding uranium mining but will face opposition from the party's Left. However, Labor's factions are united in opposing nuclear power, and the Opposition has said it will campaign against the Government on the issue at the next federal election.

Today's report will give Mr Howard ammunition for this debate. It is understood to estimate that Australia could double its earnings from exporting uranium oxide to more than $1 billion a year by the end of the decade.

Production in Australia is set to rise from the record 12,360 tonnes of yellowcake last year to more than 20,000 tonnes by 2014-15.

The report says growth in global demand for uranium to fuel nuclear power industries provides Australia with a timely opportunity to expand the mining if barriers such as skills shortages and state government restrictions were removed.

It points to a strong increase in exploration activity in Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory and concludes that there are many areas with the potential to yield uranium in coming years.

On the issue of whether Australia should allow local uranium conversion, enrichment and fuel fabrication, the report says this could more than quadruple the value of locally mined uranium.

But the report expresses doubts about the feasibility of a full-blown uranium processing industry in Australia, saying access to enrichment technology would be a big barrier.

It is more positive about the feasibility of a local nuclear power industry, saying that if regulatory barriers were surmounted nuclear reactors could be generating electricity in Australia within 15 years.

RFID Tags Used To Deliver Ads And Information

Stores in central Tokyo are set to beam news of special offers, menus and coupons to passers-by in a trial run of a radio-tagging system.

The Tokyo Ubiquitous Network Project, which launches in the glitzy Ginza district next month, sends shoppers information from nearby shops via a network of radio-frequency identification tags (RFID), infrared and wireless transmitters, according to the project's Web site.

Shoppers can either rent a prototype reader or get messages on their cell phones. The tags and transmitters identify a reader or phone's location and match it to information provided by shops.

RFID uses a tiny computer chip to store data, which are transmitted wirelessly by a tiny antenna to a receiver - in this case, the reader or the phone.

The technology has raised concerns about the erosion of privacy in society.

Researchers, for instance, have suggested that a sensor designed by Nike Inc. and Apple Computer Inc. to keep track of running distances could also be used to track runners' whereabouts - such as by installing readers along running paths. Others worry that tags embedded in clothing could give a retailer valuable details on how long a consumer spends trying on sweaters.

But RFID also offers benefits. The chips, embedded in tags, now track pallets in warehouses and let drivers pass toll booths without stopping. Some Japanese schools have installed it to log when students enter and leave - serving as a warning system for children who skip class.

At Ginza, visitors can access maps and tourist information in five languages by bringing the reader close to radio tags on street lamps, according to project official Hiroaki Hajota.

"There has been a lot of interest from Ginza's stores," Hajota said. "In the future, we hope the system will be able to target specific types of users with tailored information."

The trial, supported by the city of Tokyo and the Transport Ministry, is scheduled to run from Jan. 21 to March 10.
Gaming Partners International Corporation (GPI), the gaming industry's leading manufacturer and supplier of casino chips and other table game supplies, today announced that the Company will present chips and plaques available in 125 KHz or 13.56 MHz frequencies, both proven and readily available technologies, at the International Casino Exhibition (ICE) in London January 23 - 25, 2007.

During the Exhibition, GPI will introduce its innovative, RFID-based Electronic Chip Surveillance (ECS) system utilizing 125 KHz RFID tags embedded in the chips which trigger an alarm when stolen casino chips are taken through electronic sensor gates. This combines the operational benefits of the 125 KHz frequency casino currency control with increased security protection against employee theft.

In addition to the launch of the ECS system, GPI's booth will feature live demonstrations of all its lines of RFID chips and readers with various casino currency control and table management applications. GPI's poker table display will feature an embedded reader capable of instantly counting up to 800 chips and calculating both the total value of the pot and the operator's commission.

Arising out of GPI's recently announced strategic alliance with Progressive Gaming International Corporation, the companies will be jointly demonstrating a complete blackjack table utilizing the Table iD(TM) System, developed by Progressive Gaming International, IGT and Shuffle Master, with GPI's 13.56 MHz RFID-embedded casino currency.
Sirit Inc., a provider of RFID and NFC technologies, has announced a new relationship with Microsoft, through which Microsoft's BizTalk RFID platform will offer native support for Sirit's RFID readers, enabling out-of-the-box integration and operation when using the company's hardware. By integrating support for Sirit's Plug-n-Play and INfinity readers with BizTalk RFID, end users have a simplified platform with which to connect applications, processes, and device data. Sirit's readers support a wide range of frequencies (both HF and UHF) and protocols, allowing the platform's users to deploy solutions in various industries and geographical locations.
IBM has announced the launch of a new software suite to make RFID data more coherent.

Subject to the completion of a number of pilot programmes - within the pharmaceutical distribution sector, ITAID, an EU electronic customs initiative and by Unilever - the new software will be able to collate and sort information from RFID data-streams.

According to IBM, the new software will function with both ultra and high-frequency radio tags, while utilising EPC Information Services technology.

"A lot of the problem with RFID to date was that there weren't enough standards to exchange data," said Christian Clauss, a representative from IBM.

"[Previously, the industry] focused on collecting the data, now we are focusing on software and infrastructure," added Michael J Liard, a research director at IBM.

In related news, RFID tags are expected to enter the mainstream in 2007, with the technology becoming increasingly visible in the public consciousness, according to Mr Laird.
Prospective RFID users are plunging ahead with wireless radio ID technology in the wake of retail and government mandates, a new report says.

AMR Research said 69 percent of the 500 companies it surveyed plan to evaluate, pilot or implement RFID this year. “RFID is still in its formative years,” said Dennis Gaughan, AMR Research’s research director, in a statement. “The market will be hotly contested across all technology segments from tags and readers through middleware and enterprise applications.”

The market research firm predicted healthy growth for RFID, too, forecasting the average corporate budget for the new technology will increase from $548, 000 to $771.000 by 2007. AMR said compliance issues are the key factor prompting most respondents to move towards RFID. And, many respondents cited concerns over attempting to justify RFID in terms of return on investment as an obstacle in moving to the emerging technology.

AMR noted that no single vendor has been able to establish a dominant position in RFID.

Although 69 percent of the surveyed companies plan to implement the technology this year, 18 percent said they have no plans at all to use RFID.

Early adopters already in full RFID deployment represent some 8 percent of the polled firms while another 23 percent are in pilot use, AMR said in the report.
RFID stands for radio frequency identification, a new method of tagging shipments in ways that make bar-code scanning old-fashioned. Brighton-based Lowry Computer Products Inc., which has made bar-coding systems its mainstay, now sees a bright future in RFID.

In addition to its bar-code technology, Lowry Computer is now offering the RFID systems to major military and retail customers. Given simultaneous pushes by Wal-Mart and the military toward radio-wave technology, the days of bar codes may be numbered.

"I think you're going to see RFID become as ubiquitous as bar codes," said Michael Lowry, president and CEO of Lowry Computer.

After tinkering with RFID for about a decade, the company now is working with 30 different customers on RFID initiatives. It's still a small portion compared to its 3,500 bar-code customers, but it's growing rapidly.

"I used to think a label was just a label," Lowry said.

In fact, every RFID label is made of two main parts: the microchip and the antenna. The microchip contains all the information about a shipment's history - where it has been, how to handle it, its age, how to stock it and other details. The copper wire antenna beams a signal with that information to nearby receivers.

In supply chain logistics, Lowry's bar-coded labels are used from the early packaging stages to the time a shipment arrives at a retailer. But Lowry said RFID allows that process to run much more smoothly. Fixed scanners at regional distribution centers and at the retail stores themselves can pick up signals from RFID tags, helping to alleviate a bottleneck of trucks at distribution centers and stores.

Lowry's automation systems that create the RFID labels, use various chips made by a range of suppliers, including some made by Texas Instruments Inc.

The company is focused on makers of retail consumer goods, including Procter & Gamble and General Mills, but also has an eye on electronics, auto supplies and military and aerospace materials.

Tracking anything from casino chips to frozen turkeys, technology companies are taking baby steps to implement RFID. But the biggest impetus for adoption of RFID is Wal-Mart. The world's largest retailer, Wal-Mart is pressing its suppliers to change to an RFID mode in the next few years.

Beyond managing supply chains, there are too many possible applications for RFID technology to count. Many uses - including smart toll booths that scan passing vehicles with paid-toll tags, and systems to keep luggage from being lost in transit - are already being tested in various parts of the country.

But with all of those possible uses, and because of the small size of RFID chips, some advocates are concerned about the technology's impact on privacy. Lowry, a board member of the Automatic Identification Manufacturers Association, said that group is investigating ways to prevent breeches in privacy and security.

For now, the company is making tags only for large containers and palettes. Eventually, RFID producers will design the tags to track individual products. By that time, Lowry expects stronger privacy standards will be in place.

"Our industry is very cognizant of that issue and very respectful of those issues," he said.

In the meantime, Lowry Computer is in growth mode. The company recently completed a $2 million renovation at its manufacturing facility in White Bear Lake, Minn., just outside Minneapolis. Next month, the firm plans to expand into another 10,000 square feet in the building it currently leases in Brighton, and hopes to establish an RFID product development center to explore new uses for the technology.

The company employs 225 workers, with a third in Michigan, a third in Minnesota and another third in outside sales and service technician positions. The company is looking into hiring additional local engineers and technical staff, Lowry said, and plans to remain headquartered in Brighton.

The 30-year-old privately held company is reeling in between $50 million and $60 million in annual revenues, and grew during the 1990s with four acquisitions, Lowry said.
The EU Radio Spectrum Committee (RSC) has agreed that frequencies for radio frequency identification (RFID) and short-range wireless items are to be harmonised across the continent.

As part of the decision, radio frequency bands used by devices such as baby monitors and microphones will be harmonised, meaning that any EU member state can manufacture products for an entire market.

This, in turn, could lead to lower production costs and encourage their use throughout Europe.

In addition, RFID technology is intended to be better facilitated across the continent. It has been widely spectulated that the RFID equipment and services sector could be worth up to €4 billion (£2.69 billion) in the next four years.

The committee's decision is also aimed at easing the incorporation of new technology which may enter the market.

Radio spectrum policy is a key issue maintained by the RSC, which held its 18th annual meeting in Brussels on December 4th and 5th.

TUV Product Service, part of the TÜV SÜD Group of companies with 1bn Euros turnover, in excess of 9,500 employees and 500 locations worldwide, is a leading producer of Compliance and Assurance Solutions for the RFID sector. Please contact us ( for further information.

Achieving Total Supply Chain Visibility with RFID

As the cost of tags and readers continues to fall, system integration and data analytics are emerging as the top challenges in achieving total supply chain visibility with RFID

A new Aberdeen Group report that dissects the supply chain finds that the objectives, opportunities, and best-in-class RFID solutions change as product travels from one organization to the next in the chain. This creates disparity among partner organizations and the danger that individuals will develop solutions that do not lend themselves to collaborative leveraging of the technology across enterprises. It also creates an opportunity for a new class of vendor who provides solutions suitable to every stage of the supply chain.

In "Total Supply Chain Visibility," Aberdeen Group reveals that RFID costs a distribution company nearly 30% more than it costs a manufacturer and more than twice what the average retailer spends. It is a rare technology that can address the myriad objectives and constraints of a cross-enterprise RFID initiative. However, the right flavor of the technology to address each of the business challenges, collecting data at key choke points, making use of that data to enable visibility, and informing business analytics applications, can make collaboration among organizations seamless.

According to the report, each supply chain company approaches the challenge with a different set of primary objectives, and each has its own expectations for the time it takes to realize positive ROI. Individual companies looking to multiple sources for ROI will find the time to positive ROI shorter, and the same is true across enterprises. When partners collaborate to develop compatible and complementary solution sets, everyone in the chain achieves positive ROI in less time.

"Achieving total supply chain visibility is still an elusive goal for most enterprises, even those with mature RFID initiatives," says Russ Klein, Research Director for Aberdeen Group's Enabling Technology practice. "The report finds firms that involve partners in design and implementation encounter fewer roadblocks on their way to total visibility."