The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Arbitrary detention of Julian Assange – United Nations finding

Julian Assange arbitrarily detained by Sweden and the UK, UN expert panel finds United Nations Human Rights Office GENEVA (5 February 2016) – WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been arbitrarily detained by Sweden and the United Kingdom since his arrest in London on 7 December 2010, as a result of the legal action against him by both Governments, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention said today.

In a public statement, the expert panel called on the Swedish and British authorities to end Mr. Assange’s deprivation of liberty, respect his physical integrity and freedom of movement, and afford him the right to compensation (Check the statement:

Mr. Assange, detained first in prison then under house arrest, took refuge in Ecuador’s London embassy in 2012 after losing his appeal to the UK’s Supreme Court against extradition to Sweden, where a judicial investigation was initiated against him in connection with allegations of sexual misconduct. However, he was not formally charged.

“The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention considers that the various forms of deprivation of liberty to which Julian Assange has been subjected constitute a form of arbitrary detention,” said Seong-Phil Hong, who currently heads the expert panel.

– See more at:

“The Working Group maintains that the arbitrary detention of Mr. Assange should be brought to an end, that his physical integrity and freedom of movement be respected, and that he should be entitled to an enforceable right to compensation,” Mr. Hong added.In its official Opinion, the Working Group considered that Mr. Assange had been subjected to different forms of deprivation of liberty: initial detention in Wandsworth Prison in London, followed by house arrest and then confinement at the Ecuadorean Embassy.

The experts also found that the detention was arbitrary because Mr. Assange was held in isolation at Wandsworth Prison, and because a lack of diligence by the Swedish Prosecutor’s Office in its investigations resulted in his lengthy loss of liberty.

The Working Group established that this detention violates Articles 9 and 10 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, and Articles 7, 9(1), 9(3), 9(4), 10 and 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Check the Working Group’s Opinion on Julian Assange’s case (No. 54/2015), adopted in December:

The Opinions of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention are legally-binding to the extent that they are based on binding international human rights law, such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The WGAD has a mandate to investigate allegations of individuals being deprived of their liberty in an arbitrary way or inconsistently with international human rights standards, and to recommend remedies such as release from detention and compensation, when appropriate.
The binding nature of its opinions derives from the collaboration by States in the procedure, the adversarial nature of is findings and also by the authority given to the WGAD by the UN Human Rights Council. The Opinions of the WGAD are also considered as authoritative by prominent international and regional judicial institutions, including the European Court of Human Rights.


February 12, 2016 Posted by | civil liberties, Sweden, UK | Leave a comment

Britaion and Sweden rejecting UN panel’s finding on Julian Assange

 Assange,-Julian-1No release in sight despite UN panel decision. Julian Assange: ‘sweet’ victory soured by British and Swedish rejection  Founding WikiLeaks founder is being arbitrarily detained at Ecuador embassy, Guardian, ,, in Gothenberg, and  A UN panel may have found that Julian Assange is subject to “arbitrary detention” and called for him to be allowed to walk free, but the WikiLeaks founder remains exactly where he has been for the past 44 months – inside Ecuador’s London embassy and locked in a three-nation war of words.

Britain and Sweden immediately rejected the UN report, which declared that Assange had been “arbitrarily detained” since his arrest in 2010 and during his lengthy stay in the embassy, where he sought asylum in June 2012. The British foreign secretary, Philip Hammond, described the findings as “ridiculous” and the Australian as a “fugitive from justice”.

However, the panel’s findings, leaked on Thursday and published in full on Friday morning, were a welcome victory for Assange, and a moment he intended to savour fully. At 4.01pm he emerged on to the balcony of the west Londonembassy to greet a crowd of several hundred supporters and journalists, pausing first, just briefly, to glance at the sky he has rarely seen for more than three years.

“How sweet it is,” said Assange, holding aloft a copy of the UN report while supporters shouted: “We love you, Julian!” It had been, he said, “a victory of historical importance”, and a decision reached after a process to which both Britain and Sweden had made submissions. “They lost. UK lost; Sweden lost.”

The Swedish government, however, has insisted the report changes nothing, and that it cannot interfere in an independent prosecutor’s ongoing attempt to extradite Assange for questioning over an allegation of rape dating from 2010, which he denies.

Meanwhile, for Ecuador – the Australian’s (mostly) willing host – the findings meant it was time for the two countries to allow Assange to walk free, and to compensate both him and them for the lengthy period he has been holed up in one of its few rooms……

After exhausting all his legal options in the UK and Sweden some time ago, there is no question that the report represents a boost for Assange’s legal team.

Reaching their conclusion by a three-to-one majority after a fifth member recused herself, the panel called on the Swedish and British authorities to end Assange’s “deprivation of liberty”, respect his physical integrity and freedom of movement, and offer him compensation.

Assange, they found, had been unable “to access the full-intended benefit” of the asylum status granted by Ecuador, and “the continuing and disproportionate denial to him of such access … had become cumulatively harsh and disproportionate”.

In particular, the panel offered an excoriating critique of Sweden’s prosecution process, which they said had been in a state of “indefinite procrastination”. With Quito and Stockholm still unable to agree on arrangements to allow Swedish prosecutors access to the London embassy, Assange has yet to be interviewed over the alleged offences. Britain said on Thursday it was “deeply frustrated” by the deadlock.

But for all Assange’s jubilation, he remains in the embassy, the extradition warrant still stands, and Britain and Sweden remain adamant that the report changes nothing.

Assange also remains fearful of a potential future extradition to the US, where a secret grand jury has been looking into whether to prosecute him over WikiLeak’s publishing activities……..

the former chair of the UN working group, Mads Andenas, defended its finding, saying: “There is no doubt that the normal course of action for the Swedish authorities would have been to interview Assange in London. The extradition request was disproportionate…….

February 8, 2016 Posted by | civil liberties, Sweden, UK | Leave a comment

Nuclear utility Vattenfall in crisis – third consecutive annual loss

doom and gloomNuclear tax and low prices continue to impact Vattenfall, World Nuclear News, 04 February 2016 Swedish utility Vattenfall has announced a loss of SEK19.8 billion ($2.4 billion) in 2015, its third consecutive annual loss. It attributed this partly to continued low electricity prices and unprofitable Swedish nuclear power reactors…….

Vattenfall CEO Magnus Hall said, “The major challenge in 2015 continued to be the impact that today’s very low electricity prices have on Vattenfall’s profitability and the valuation of our assets. Unfortunately, combined with new regulatory requirements, this led to further write-downs, mainly on the values of Swedish nuclear power and German lignite in the summer.”

He added, “Continued falling prices and a nuclear tax corresponding to SEK0.07 per kilowatt-hour have put Swedish nuclear power in a critical situation…….

February 8, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, Sweden | Leave a comment

Sweden shutting down 2 nuclear reactors

flag-SwedenSweden’s Oskarshamn 1 and 2 reactor units to close World Nuclear News, 14 October 2015 German utility Eon has decided that units 1 and 2 of the Oskarshamn nuclear power plant in Sweden will be shut down permanently. Unit 3 is unaffected by the decision, which was announced today by OKG AB, of which the EOn group is the major shareholder…..The announcement followed an extraordinary shareholders’ meeting held earlier today and is in line with the “policy decision” EOn communicated in July. According to that policy, EOn said unit 1 would close between 2017 and 2019 and unit 2 by 2020……

There will be no future investments at unit 2 and the reactor will not be restarted. Operation of unit 1 will proceed in accordance with the established plan, meaning a decision on its shutdown will be made when the time schedule for the decommissioning phase has been prepared. The exact date when the unit will be permanently shut down is thus not yet established……

Earlier this month, the European Court of Justice ruled that Sweden can continue to tax nuclear power production, deciding that the levy does not fall within the scope of two European Council Directives and is therefore a national, rather than European Commission, matter. OKG AB had first contested the tax in 2009 in the Swedish courts….

October 16, 2015 Posted by | politics, Sweden | Leave a comment

European court upholds Sweden’s right to tax nuclear power stations

judge-1flag-EUCourt leaves Swedish nuclear tax unchanged, World Nuclear News, 1 Oct 15  Sweden can continue to tax nuclear power production following a ruling in the government’s favour by Europe’s highest court. The European Court of Justice’s seventh chamber decided that the tax does not fall within the scope of two European Council Directives and is therefore a national, rather than European Commission, matter.

OKG AB first contested the levy in 2009 in the Swedish courts, which in October 2013 sought the EU’s preliminary ruling. The company, which turns 50 this year, owns and operates three nuclear power units – Oskarshamn 1, 2 and 3 – which together account for 10% of total electricity generation in Sweden.

The company announced yesterday that it will hold an extraordinary shareholders’ meeting on 14 October to reach a decision on closing units 1 and 2. German EOn and Finnish Fortum own, respectively, 54.5% and 45.5% of the shares in OKG.

According to lobby group Swedenergy, a ruling in the company’s favour could have removed an annual cost of about 4.6 billion kronor ($540 million) for the country’s nuclear industry since the Swedish government increased the tax by 17% from 1 August.

The court document, published today on its website, says that levying a tax on the thermal power of nuclear reactors is not within the scope of Council Directive 2003/96/EC of 27 October 2003 that restructures the Community framework for the taxation of energy products and electricity. Nor is the tax an excise duty for the purposes of Council Directive 92/12/EEC of 25 February 1992 on general arrangements for, and the holding and movement of, products subject to excise duty……

October 2, 2015 Posted by | EUROPE, Legal, Sweden | Leave a comment

Sweden tightens rules on drones flying near nuclear stations

drone-near-nuclear-plantFlouting Nuclear Drone Ban in Sweden Will Land You in Jail, Bloomberg,  , 18 Sep 15,

    • No-fly zones start Oct. 15 to protect national security
    • Swedish police focus on tackling pilots on the ground
If you’re planning a drone fly-by at any of Sweden’s reactors, think again.

The Nordic region’s biggest producer of atomic energy will from Oct. 15 add nuclear plants to a list of sites including airports and hospitals with no-fly zones in an effort to preserve national security. If caught, drone pilots face as long as 6 months behind bars, according to the Swedish police.

Sweden is tightening its rules amid growing international concern about the security threat posed by drones, which have buzzed French nuclear reactors, landed on the White House lawn and even crashed into the stands at this month’s U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York. While France is backing research into tracking and destroying illegal unmanned craft, Sweden is opting to pursue the pilots on the ground……

Greenpeace flew a piloted paraglider over Ringhals in 2013, dropping balloons on the roof of one of the reactor buildings, according to Vattenfall.
While environmental activists have parasailed, hurdled fences and climbed buildings at Swedish nuclear plants in attempts to demonstrate poor security, seaweed and jellyfish have been more effective in cutting output by blocking flows of cooling water.

 For Ringhals, the main concern is drones taking photos illegally or accidentally injuring staff rather than halting the reactors, Staalnacke said.
  • Flying a drone over banned areas would void any form of insurance to cover damages caused by the craft, according to Claes Wahlund, the chairman of the Swedish Model Airplane Association.“Flying over a nuclear power plant is not a hobby,” he said by phone on Thursday. “Without insurance, pilots could really be in deep trouble.”Illegal drone flights near Swedish airports forced air traffic to halt at least 10 times this year, Ulf Wallin, spokesman for Swedavia AB, the manager of 10 of the nation’s airports, said Thursday by phone. Two Lithuanian men that flew a drone over a military airport in Lidkoeping, Sweden, in May were fined 2,000 kronor ($240) each, Swedish news service TT reported.
  • While Ringhals views any breach of the no-fly zone as a police matter, it’s still assessing ways of detecting drones, Staalnacke said, without being more specific.Under existing law, anyone who destroys a drone, even the police, would be liable to pay the owner to replace it, police spokesman Fuxborg said.Ringhals and Forsmark, another plant owned by Vattenfall on Sweden’s east coast, were granted a temporary flight ban from Sept. 7 until the permanent no-fly zone takes effect Oct. 15. EON SE’s Oskarshamn reactor in the southeast also gets the permanent ban from Oct. 15, Emmy Davidsson, a spokeswoman for the plant, said Tuesday by phone.


September 19, 2015 Posted by | safety, Sweden | Leave a comment

Investors flee Nordic nuclear company Vattenfall

graph-down-uraniumNuclear Shutdowns Are Leaving Vattenfall’s Bond Investors  Cold , Bloomberg,  , 21 May 15 A jump in power prices hasn’t been able to lift Vattenfall AB bonds as investors worry the Swedish utility will write down more nuclear assets.

While Nordic power prices have risen from record lows after Vattenfall said it would close its two oldest reactors, yield spreads on the utility’s bonds are little changed. The closing plans instead directed attention to the poor Nordic market outlook for investors who had focused on Vattenfall’s woes in Germany, according to Ebba Lindahl, an SEB AB analyst.

“We see an increased risk of smaller cash flows from nuclear generation in the future and further write downs of assets that will not be fully compensated by the increase in power prices,” she said in a phone interview…….

A surge in renewable energy output in Nordic region, coupled with demand still below 2008-levels, has pushed power prices so low that the once-steady cash cow of nuclear production has become a liability.

The company is majority owner of seven reactors in Sweden and also owns thermal coal, lignite and gas units in Germany, which are poorly suited to the European Union’s aim for a transition to low-emission energy systems, according to Ingvar Mattsson, a senior analyst at Swedbank AB.

Vattenfall’s plans to close the two reactors early “reflects a tough market situation with low power prices, and thus a lower valuation of nuclear assets,” he said by phone. “Vattenfall is also obviously exposed to political risks in both Germany and Sweden.”

May 22, 2015 Posted by | business and costs, Sweden | Leave a comment

Big nuclear company not interested in new nuclear power

Vattenfall: We are not interested in new nuclear power lördag 2 maj kl 15Vattenfall’s new President and CEO, Magnus Hall, a former lobbyist for the nuclear power industry, says it is no longer possible to build new nuclear power stations in Sweden, unless the state pays.

“I believe that the risk taking is so large that private investors will not want to consider it, in my opinion,” Magnus Hall tells Swedish Radio News.

The business community in Sweden is no longer interested in building new nuclear power. At least not if it has to pay, thinks Magnus Hall. The ongoing nuclear projects in Finland and the UK have cracked all his calculations and the Vattenfall chief does not believe there is not sufficient profitability in new reactors without state support.

Magnus Hall, who was formerly chairman of Industrial Power, a lobby organization that wanted to build new nuclear power for electricity-intensive industries, has thus changed his position today.

“Yes, I have enough, actually, because I think it has become so clear that it is the state that dictates the terms for nuclear power. Therefore, the state also take responsibility for it, and it is also linked to the infrastructure of a country, says Hall to Swedish Radio News.

Last week, the Swedish state-owned energy company announced it will cut 1,000 jobs and close two of its reactors earlier than expected due to a fall in profits. Lower energy prices and lower production levels have affected Vattenfall’s results.

May 6, 2015 Posted by | business and costs, Sweden | Leave a comment

Sweden accelerates its closure of its uneconomic nuclear industry

nuclear-costs3Sweden to speed up nuclear reactors closure The Local, 28 Apr 2015   Sweden’s state-owned energy group Vattenfall on Tuesday said it planned to shut down two nuclear reactors in 2018 and 2010, up to seven years earlier than expected. Vattenfall said reactors 1 and 2 at the Ringhals plant in south-west Sweden were too costly to keep in production until 2025 as previously planned.

“Ringhals 1 and 2 may be closed down between the years 2018 and 2020 instead of, as previously announced, around 2025,” Vattenfall said in a statement.

“The reason is declining profitability and increased costs,” it said……The Swedish group has been struggling to improve profits for several years, suffering from weak demand and plunging electricity prices………

April 30, 2015 Posted by | politics, Sweden | Leave a comment

Renewable Energy Target to be raised in Norway and Sweden

Norway and Sweden agree to raise renewable energy target Fri Mar 13, 2015  OSLO,  (Reuters) – Norway and Sweden agreed on Friday to increase a joint 2020 renewable energy target by almost 8 percent under a subsidy scheme which could lead to higher energy prices for consumers.

Under the new target, the two Nordic countries aim to raise the amount of electricity they produce in total from renewable energy sources such as wind, hydro or biomass to 28.4 terawatt-hours (TWh) per year by 2020 from 26.4 TWh.

The changes to the common support scheme need to be approved by lawmakers in both countries before it comes into effect.

Norway and Sweden launched the first cross-border renewable support scheme in the world in 2012. Producers receive electricity certificates depending on how much green power they produce, which they can sell on the market for profit.

However, the system is financed by electricity end-users, as the costs of the certificates are added to electricity bills, meaning consumers in Norway and Sweden contribute to paying for rises in renewable energy production.

Higher renewables output could also increase pressure on already low Nordic power prices, hurting revenues of such power producers as Vattenfall or Statkraft.

Nordic spot power prices fell to 29.61 euros per megawatt-hour (MWh) in 2014, the lowest since 2007, partly due to more renewable power being added, sluggish demand and warm weather.

However, the wind power industry welcomed the news.

“It’s a big boost for the Nordic electricity certificate market. There will be additional 2 TWh to fight for,” said Andreas Thon Aasheim, an advisor at Norwegian wind power association Norwea, referring to the additional renewable output agreed by the two countries.

Norway lags Sweden on wind power production, but the Norwegian government has agreed to harmonise depreciation rules for wind power projects to bring them into line with Sweden. (Reporting by Nerijus Adomaitis; editing by Nina Chestney and David Evans)

March 14, 2015 Posted by | renewable, Sweden | Leave a comment

Renewable energy powers municipalities in Sweden

Municipalities in Sweden powering cities from renewable energy sources Phys Org, 13 Jan 15 By relying on district heating combined with heat and power production, municipalities in Sweden power their cities from renewable energy sources. Nordic countries have achieved a great independence from fossils because of their widespread district heating systems. District heating is a smart way to avoid using  to heat buildings. It is typically based on wood, peat and other biofuels, or household waste. But other non-fossil fuel sources, such as deep thermal heat—sourced from between 100 to 500 meters below the ground—or recycled heat from industries can be used as well.

Two Swedish experts talk to about ways of removing carbon-based fuels from the heating equation, and what other municipalities can learn from their experience. One of them is Karin Ericsson, a senior lecturer at the Department of Environmental and Energy Systems of Lund’s University. Her research field is energy system analysis and bioenergy in Europe. The other is Mats Didriksson, who is director for the business area energy of Kraftringen, an energy company owned by four municipalities in Southern Sweden near the city of Lund.

What is the history of the development of district heating in Sweden?………

What can cities in other countries learn from Sweden’s experiences?………..

January 14, 2015 Posted by | decentralised, Sweden | Leave a comment

Waste fees for nuclear plant operates getting more costly- Sweden

flag-SwedenSweden doubles waste fee for nuclear power plant operators  Sweden’s government has decided to almost double a fee nuclear power plant operators pay to the nuclear waste fund, in order to help it cover the rising costs of decommissioning, the environment ministry said on Thursday.

Sweden’s state-owned utility Vattenfall [VATN.UL] operates Forsmark and Ringhals power plants, and Germany’s E.ON operates Oskarshamn plant. Finnish utility Fortum, which operates Loviisa power plant, also has stakes in Forsmark and Oskarshamn.

The nuclear industry will have to pay 0.04 Swedish crowns per kilowatt-hour from 2015-2017, up from 0.022 crowns today, the government decided. In 2013 the fees to the waste fund, a government authority, amounted to 2.5 billion Swedish crowns ($324.41 million). “Nuclear power must bear its own costs and the government’s decision to increase the nuclear waste fee makes this possible,” said Climate and Environment Minister Asa Romson.

Nuclear power has come under increased pressure in Sweden after general elections in September when the Social Democrats and the Green Party formed a minority cabinet. The coalition fell in a budget vote earlier this month, and a snap election is due in March.

The industry has warned that a combination of rising taxes and extra costs for new safety measures could lead to earlier shutdown of older plants, and potentially higher power prices.

(Reporting by Nerijus Adomaitis; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)

December 19, 2014 Posted by | business and costs, Sweden | Leave a comment

Swedish petition to Finland, opposing Fennovoima nuclear facility

flag-Swedenlogo-NO-nuclear-SmSwedish NGO delivers anti-Fennovoima petition toFinland Radio Sweden

Members of a Swedish civic organisation collected and delivered more than 20,000 signatures from individuals protesting the proposed construction of a nuclear power plant in northwest Finland by the power consortium Fennovoima.

The delegation from the Swedish NGO Nuclear-free Gulf of Bothnia (Kärnkraftsfritt Bottenviken) visited the Finnish parliament Tuesday morning to hand over the petition on behalf of more than 170,000 residents of seven municipalities that lie close to the proposed construction site of the Pyhäjoki nuclear power plant. The site in northwest Finland lies just 155 kilometres from the Swedish coast.

“Because of the natural environment Hanhikivi is an extremely poor choice to locate a nuclear power plant,” activist Kristina Berg told lawmakers in Helsinki.

Earlier this year, demonstrators gathered in the centre of the Swedish coastal city of Luleå ahead of a public hearing on the proposed plant in Pyhäjoki, near Raahe.

Environmental impact on Sweden?

The protesters have long been worried about the potential environmental impact of the nuclear facility on the Swedish side of the Gulf of Bothnia. Many have demanded a fundamental re-think of the project and have also called for a system of sustainable energy that is not based on continuous growth.

Residents of the Swedish communities have also pointed to the strong role of the Russian state-owned nuclear contractor Rosatom in the proposed project, even charging that Finland is outsourcing its energy needs to Russia.

The petition was delivered as Finland’s largest power producer Fortum announced plans to buy a stake in the Fennovoima nuclear power plant, taking it one step closer to reality.

The cabinet had previously dictated that the plant should be at least 60 percent domestic or European-owned as a prerequisite for a final go-ahead. Fortum’s investment would take Finnish ownership to 66 percent, helping the project meet the government’s criterion.

December 3, 2014 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, Sweden | Leave a comment

A nuclear-free future on the cards for Sweden

flag-SwedenSweden faces future without nuclear, World Nuclear news,  01 October 2014 Sweden may be facing the phase out of nuclear power following agreement by the country’s Social Democrats and their junior coalition partner, the Green Party, to set up an energy commission tasked with achieving a 100% renewable electricity system. ………Social Democrat leader Stefan Lofven  said in a statement today: “Sweden has very good potential to expand renewable energy through our good access to water, wind and forests. In time, Sweden will have an energy system with 100% renewable energy.”….

The parties said in separate, but identical statements that nuclear power should be replaced with renewable energy and energy efficiency. The goal, they said, should be at least 30 TWh of electricity from renewable energy sources by 2020. A goal for 2030 has yet to be set, they added. Support for offshore wind and solar power are needed “in addition”, they said.

Nuclear power “should bear a greater share of its economic cost”, they said. “Safety requirements should be strengthened and the nuclear waste fee increased.”

October 11, 2014 Posted by | politics, Sweden | Leave a comment

Hot weather forcing Sweden to cut nuclear reactors’ output

nuke-hotflag-SwedenSweden’s nuclear plants forced to cut output due to warm weather Planet Ark,  24-Jul-14  Balazs Koranyi Sweden’s top nuclear power generators have been forced to cut output because of exceptionally warm weather in Scandinavia, and their output could be reduced for over a week, their operators said on Wednesday.

Oskarshamn, part of Germany’s E.ON and Forsmark, operated by Swedish utility Vattenfall have both cut output because warm sea water temperatures are limiting their ability to cool down.

“For each degree above 23 decrees Celsius in the cooling water, each unit has to decrease power by 3 percent,” Forsmark said in a market message. “It is uncertain how long this will last, but according to meteorologists, the warm weather will last for at least 11 more days.”

Temperatures exceeded 30 degrees in the southern part of Scandinavia this week, hitting their highest level in years…….

July 26, 2014 Posted by | climate change, Sweden | Leave a comment


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,341 other followers