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Swedish Parliament Rejects Proposal to Halt Nuclear Shutdown

Swedish Parliament Rejects Proposal to Halt Nuclear Shutdown, Bloomberg,  By Niclas Rolander, January 23, 2020,

A majority in the Swedish parliament rejected a proposal from the nationalist Sweden Democrats to stop Vattenfall AB’s plans to close two nuclear reactors, in a victory for the Social Democrat-led government.

The Sweden Democrats had support from three parties but failed to secure a majority. Its proposal to give the state-owned utility instructions to reverse its plans to wind down the Ringhals 1 reactor and to restart another reactor that was shuttered Dec. 30 lost by a single vote on Wednesday afternoon.

Vattenfall has repeatedly said it isn’t economically viable to keep running the two reactors, which were commissioned in 1975 and 1976, respectively. The company also operates two newer reactors at the plant, which produces a sixth of Sweden’s electricity, and is owned jointly with Germany’s Uniper SE, which holds a 29.6% stake through a subsidiary. …….

January 23, 2020 Posted by | politics, Sweden | Leave a comment

Swedish accusations against Assange – always a political motive on behalf of USA

We need to ask ourselves why the focus is not on the crimes perpetrated by those involved in war crimes. Why is an Australian citizen being subjected to US espionage laws even though he was never on US soil? More importantly, why should an Australian citizen have allegiance to the US?

Australia and the Morrison government now face the stark choice. Do we defend an Australian citizen facing rendition and an effective death sentence, because of Trump – a President facing impeachment. Or do we abandon him?

The Swedish case against Assange was always political,,By Greg Barns and Alysia Brooks, November 20, 2019 It is almost a decade since Julian Assange woke to discover, on the front page of a Swedish newspaper, that Swedish authorities had decided to pursue him on allegations of sexual misconduct. Immediately, Julian presented himself to the police station to make a statement and clear his name. After speaking with prosecutors, he was told he could leave the country; so he did.

It was only after his arrival in London that an Interpol notice was issued for his arrest. In the meantime, Assange sought and was granted asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy on the grounds that he would be subjected to grave human rights abuses should he be extradited to the US. Despite years of his legal team requesting that Swedish authorities provide assurances that he would not be extradited onwards to the US, the opportunity for Assange to formally clear his name was never afforded to him. Nor was the right to the presumption of innocence. Many in the media still falsely claim that charges were laid. It was trial by media.
The political nature of the Swedish case became apparent from the beginning. As early as 2013, emails from the UK Crown Prosecution Service, released under Freedom of Information, demonstrated that the prosecutors wanted to drop the case. However, pressure was placed on them to keep it open – and they were told not to get “cold feet”. The London-based organisation Women Against Rape point out that the case was pursued with “unusual zeal” and concluded it was only  pursued for the simple fact that he has uncovered war crimes.
Let’s make one thing clear, any sexual misconduct allegations should be treated seriously. But, as Women Against Rape and the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture point out, this case was never about protecting the women involved; it was about ensuring the focus was kept off the war crimes that  WikiLeaks exposed, and assassinating Assange’s character.
The decision now to drop the investigation is welcome news for Assange and his legal team, and removes the possibility of extradition from Sweden to the US. However, the fact remains that an Australian citizen is being pursued by the Trump administration for political purposes and is facing serious human rights violations if extradited to the US.

Currently, Assange is held on remand in Belmarsh prison, in conditions that are exacerbating his already fragile health, and impeding his ability to prepare his defence. He is facing unprecedented charges under the US Espionage Act, for allegedly carrying out actions that journalists and publishers engage in as a part of their work. He is facing 175 years – an effective death sentence – for allegedly engaging in journalism.

And let’s not forget the material that was exposed by WikiLeaks. The releases included evidence of war crimes, including torture and unlawful killings, perpetrated during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and the Guantanamo files, which demonstrated that the majority of men, and children, were being held and tortured at the prison, even though they were innocent of any crime.

We need to ask ourselves why the focus is not on the crimes perpetrated by those involved in war crimes. Why is an Australian citizen being subjected to US espionage laws even though he was never on US soil? More importantly, why should an Australian citizen have allegiance to the US?

Australia and the Morrison government now face the stark choice. Do we defend an Australian citizen facing rendition and an effective death sentence, because of Trump – a President facing impeachment. Or do we abandon him?

Greg Barns is a barrister and adviser to the Australian Assange Campaign. Dr Alysia Brooks is a human rights and due process advocate.

November 21, 2019 Posted by | civil liberties, Legal, politics international, Sweden, UK | Leave a comment

Sweden’s wind power to surpass nuclear this year

Sweden’s wind power to surpass nuclear this year: lobby, Lefteris Karagiannopoulos, STOCKHOLM (Reuters) 35 Oct 19, – Sweden is set to have more wind power capability

Hydropower is Sweden’s top source of electricity, but for decades nuclear has held second place.

“Sweden has a unique opportunity to take the leadership role in the fight against climate change through the wind power expansion,” Svensk Vindenergi CEO Charlotte Unger Larson said in a statement.

The association makes quarterly forecasts based on data it collects from turbine manufacturers and project developers.

Its latest forecast for 2 GW growth was down from 2.2 GW previously.

Investment decisions corresponding to 686 MW of new wind power were made in the third quarter, it said, up from 114 MW in the second quarter. by Lefteris Karagiannopoulos; editing by Jason Neely

October 26, 2019 Posted by | renewable, Sweden | Leave a comment

Sweden says two aging nuclear reactors safe to run till 2028

Sweden says two aging nuclear reactors safe to run till 2028, OSLO (Reuters) 24 June 19 Vattenfall’s Forsmark 1 and 2 reactors in Sweden have safety clearance to operate for another decade, taking them beyond their initial 40-year planned lifetime, the Swedish radiation safety authority said on Monday……

June 25, 2019 Posted by | politics, Sweden | Leave a comment

Scandinavian farmers still impacted by radioactive fallout from Chernobyl nuclear disaster

Chernobyl: 33 Years On, Radioactive Fallout Still Impacts Scandinavian Farmers, David Nike 8 June 19

The smash-hit HBO series ‘Chernobyl’ has introduced an entire new generation to the nuclear disaster that shook the world in 1986. Initially covered up by Soviet authorities, the disaster only came to light when nuclear power stations in Sweden – hundreds of miles away – detected high levels of radiation and began to ask questions. 33 years later, radiation remains a problem in both Sweden and Norway especially for farmers.

“Who would have thought that a small northern Norwegian mountain village could be hit by a nuclear accident in Europe. Overnight we were powerless. The Chernobyl accident shows that our food production is vulnerable. It’s scary,” sheep farmer Laila Hoff from Hattfjelldal told Norwegian state broadcaster NRK. She said all meat had to be destroyed in the first year following the accident. But even now in 2019, animals in 37 Norwegian municipalities are subject to radiation testing and control before they can be slaughtered. One leading researcher says it will take “decades” for the controls to no longer be necessary.

How Chernobyl hit farming in Norway and Sweden

The radioactive substance cesium-137 takes many years to break down with an estimated half-life of 30 years. It still exists in the earth in the areas affected by the Chernobyl accident, including large parts of Norway and Sweden. The substance is taken up from the soil by plants and fungi, which in turn are eaten by sheep, reindeer and other grazing animals.

In the wake of the 1986 accident, cesium-137 spread over much of northern and central Scandinavia. The weather conditions were such that Norway and Sweden were two of the countries worst hit outside the Soviet Union. In Sweden, the areas around Uppsala, Gävle and Västerbotten were hardest hit, while in Norway the area between Trondheim and Bodø along with mountainous areas further south suffered, mainly because of rainfall.

The radiation impacted vegetation to varying degrees, but also led to radioactivity in grazing animals, primarily sheep and reindeer. In reindeer calf meat, up to 40,000 becquerels per kilogram (Bq/kg) were measured, with up to 10,000 Bq/kg in sheep meat. Norwegian authorities set the highest acceptable level in meat at just 60 Bq/kg, which led to the widespread feeding of animals with non-contaminated feed. This process of feeding livestock from contaminated pastures with non-radioactive feed for a period to reduce radioactivity in meat or milk is known as nedfôring.

June 10, 2019 Posted by | environment, Sweden | Leave a comment

Sweden’s Uppsala District Court rules against extraditing Assange to Sweden

4 June 19

Sweden’s Uppsala District Court has found in favour of Assange: the court ruled NOT to detain Assange in absentia. The preliminary investigation can proceed without Assange’s extradition to Sweden. This was always the case as Assange has always cooperated with the investigation.

Suzie Dawson on Julian Assange’s mistreatment #FreeAssange

June 4, 2019 Posted by | civil liberties, legal, Sweden | Leave a comment

Swedish court rejects effort to delay Assange hearing  29 May 19.   Stockholm: A Swedish court has rejected efforts to postpone a hearing relating to Julian Assange, a lawyer for the WikiLeaks founder says.

A Swedish prosecutor this month filed a request for Assange to be detained for a June 3 hearing about a rape allegation.

Defence lawyer Per Samuelson told Reuters he visited Assange in British custody on Friday before seeking to postpone the hearing.

“One of the reasons is that Assange’s health situation on Friday was such that it was not possible to conduct a normal conversation with him,” Samuelson said.

“I meant that it should be postponed until I had time to meet again and go through the issues in peace and quiet. I suggested no specific date and meant it should be postponed until everything was ready, but the district court has now decided that this won’t happen .

he Uppsala district court, where the hearing is due to take place, was not immediately available for comment. A prosecutors’ office spokesman declined to comment.

Sweden reopened the investigation into alleged rape, which Assange denies, in early May. It was begun in 2010 but dropped in 2017 while Assange was in refuge in Ecuador’s London embassy.

Assange was arrested in London last month after spending nearly seven years inside the embassy.

If the court order is granted, it would be the first step in a process to have Assange extradited from Britain, where he is serving a 50-week sentence for skipping bail.

US authorities are separately seeking to extradite Assange on charges relating to the public release by WikiLeaks of a cache of secret documents, and last week unveiled 17 new criminal charges against him, including espionage.

The British courts will have to rule on the two extradition requests, with the home secretary having the final say on which one takes precedence.

June 1, 2019 Posted by | civil liberties, Legal, Sweden | Leave a comment

Sweden: Vattenfall determined to close 2 aging nuclear reactors

A Tiny Hole at Sweden’s Oldest Atomic Plant Upends Nuclear Revival
Industry and lawmakers in Sweden want Vattenfall to reverse a decision to close two aging reactors.
Bloomberg, By Jesper Starn, May 20, 2019

A hole just a few millimeters deep at Sweden’s oldest nuclear plant is upending the debate about whether to revive the technology to ensure that the Nordic region’s biggest economy has enough power. 

Regulators assume such a small gap exists at the Ringhals-2 plant on the nation’s west coast because repairs to similar cavities were made earlier in the decade on about half of an area covering 700 square meters (7,535 square feet). The owner Vattenfall AB won’t carry out more costly repairs and its permit expires at the end of the year.

While the state-controlled power company doubts that further faults exist, it would rather scrap the plant than uproot the meter-thick slab of concrete surrounding the massive steel plates that make up the reactor containment……..

For the moment, Vattenfall isn’t budging on the decision it made in 2015 to wind down operations at the plant, which includes two reactors that  began operations in 1975 and 1976. Those reactors lack the independent core cooling systems required by the regulator for all nuclear plants to operate after 2020. Vattenfall invested 900 million kronor ($93 million) to upgrade two younger reactors at the site.

“I regard it as completely ruled out, both technically and financially,” to reverse the decision to close the Ringhals reactors, Torbjorn Wahlborg, the company’s head of generation, said in an interview.  “It would require such a big investment and long halts.”

At its peak, nuclear energy accounted for about half of the nation’s power. Hydroelectric plants covered the rest. Now it’s 40%  and wind parks being built in the north of the country are seen as a major future source. The problem is that the growth of wind has not been able to match the decline in capacity at reactors and  fossil-fuel plants and Sweden is already depending on imports to meet demand on cold winter days.

A Sifo poll from March show that two thirds of Swedes want to keep or build more reactors. 

 In 2016, five political parties formed a long-term energy agreement that lowered nuclear taxes enough to allow life-span extensions of six reactors built in the 1980s until the 2040s, while four older reactors would be shut. But the largest opposition party, the Moderates, is now threatening to abandon that agreement unless it’s renegotiated to be more supportive of nuclear power. It has the support of the Christian Democrats, which is also part of the accord.

The Liberals, which were not part of the deal, has also proposed to extend the lifespan of Ringhals 1 and 2, and may get support from the nationalist Sweden Democrats, which also wants to invest in nuclear. The Moderates and the Christian Democrats have called for a review to be made into the possibility to stop the closure of the two reactors.

Still, it would be an uphill battle to garner enough support for any new energy plan, as the remaining parties in the agreement together with the Left Party have a majority in parliament. It all hinges on the governing Social Democrats. It wants nuclear power to be gradually phased out, but is under pressure from Swedish industry to change its stance.

As Vattenfall is fully state-owned,  the government could adjust its directive to extend the life-span of the reactors. Lobby groups for the forest, metals, chemical and mining industry are calling for an investigation to see if this is possible. This would however be against the spirit of the original agreement, where market-based decisions was a key-part to get parties with opposing views to compromise on energy, according to the Swedish government. ……


May 21, 2019 Posted by | politics, Sweden | Leave a comment

Doubts on safety of Sweden’s copper canisters for radioactive wastes

MKG 4th April 2019 [Machine Translation] SKB speaks to the government on copper corrosion:
“Still no problem” The power industry’s nuclear waste company On April 4,
SKB expressed its opinion to the government with a supplement to, in the
first place, certain that the copper canister will function as intended in
the planned final repository for spent nuclear fuel in Forsmark.
Not surprisingly, the company will claim that there are no problems. This is
the same claim that the court rejected in its opinion to the government on
January 23, 2018. In a first analysis, the environmental organizations’
nuclear waste review has concluded that the compilation is very weak and
does not show that the court’s concerns are unfounded. It is now important
that the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority performs a renewed thorough and
unconditional review of both the old and the new data.

April 8, 2019 Posted by | safety, Sweden, wastes | Leave a comment

Swedish Environmental Court has concerns about speed of corrosion of copper nuclear waste canisters

GDF Watch 4th Nov 2018 , The company responsible for delivering Sweden’s deep geological repository, SKB, is planning to subject their research into copper
corrosion to international peer review in the new year. SKB believe this is
the most transparent and open way in which to address concerns about the
contentious issue, which has held up final decision-making on the Swedish
national repository for higher activity radioactive waste.
Earlier this year the Swedish Environmental Court largely approved SKB’s plans for a
geological disposal facility in Osthammar. However, the Court had concerns
about the speed at which copper canisters corrode and the potential
consequential environmental impact. Conflicting scientific evidence was
presented to the Court. The Court decided that this was something the
Swedish Government needed to consider further before any approval was given
to the planned radioactive waste disposal facility. The Swedish Government
asked SKB to provide additional information by 31 March 2019.

November 5, 2018 Posted by | safety, Sweden, wastes | Leave a comment

Sweden’s nuclear energy regulator wants nuclear reactor operators to produce plans for guarding against hot weather

Sweden calls for nuclear reactors to be shielded from hot weather, Business Times,  AUG 21, 2018 

A number of Swedish reactors had to shut down or reduce output as the summer heatwave sent temperatures to record highs in July, with the sea water that is used to cool them becoming much warmer than normal, exceeding safety levels. The last time that SSM, the Swedish radiation safety authority, asked operators to produce plans to modify their reactors was after Japan’s Fukushima disaster in 2011. The cost of those changes, which are due by 2020, was in the hundreds of millions of euros.

“We really have to take into consideration what happened this summer … We have asked them orally to come with suggestions. Of course there will be a cost. I do not know how much at this stage,” said SSM chief Mats Persson said.

The cost of post-Fukushima modifications to Swedish nuclear plants reached as much as 100 million euros (S$155 million) per reactor, Persson said……..

August 22, 2018 Posted by | climate change, Sweden | Leave a comment

Sweden’s Nuclear Code of Conduct under threat from populist political party

Populists May Rip Up Sweden’s Nuclear Code of Conduct, Bloomberg, By

  • Five party bi-partisan agreement from 2016 under threat
  • Energy system will be tested this winter after atomic closures

Sweden’s biggest ever cross-party energy deal was designed to provide stability for utilities for almost three decades, but the 2016 accord is now at risk of being ripped up after next month’s general election.

The Sweden Democrats, which some polls show could emerge as the biggest party, would revoke nuclear-plant closures central to the agreement if they came to power. The Christian Democrats, one of the accord’s co-signers, on Tuesday echoed that view and pressed for key parts of the deal to be renegotiated.

The agreement ended more than 30 years of bickering over nuclear power, extended support for renewable energy and stated that there should be zero emissions impacting the climate by 2045. It effectively boosted the lives of the nation’s six newest reactors until at least 2040, but didn’t address how the capacity of four older Vattenfall AB and EON SE units will be replaced. …….

August 17, 2018 Posted by | politics, Sweden | Leave a comment

Swedish nuclear reactor cuts output, due to sea water being too warm

Warm sea water limits capacity at Vattenfall’s Ringhals 2 reactor Reuters Staff, STOCKHOLM, July 31 (Reuters) – Swedish utility Vattenfall said its Ringhals 2 nuclear reactor was running at 49 percent capacity on Tuesday as the sea water used to cool it nears an upper temperature limit.

Water from the Baltic Sea is used to cool several nuclear reactors along Sweden’s coastline, but temperatures are unusually warm following a prolonged period of hot weather.

Vattenfall on Monday posted plans to take Ringhals 2 out of operation after water reached that reactor’s 25 degree Celsius limit

However Vattenfall spokesman Peter Stedt said on Tuesday it had opted to keep capacity at 49 percent after the sea water cooled to 24 degrees, while closely monitoring water temperatures as the warm weather continued.

The 865-megawatt (MW) pressurized water Ringhals 2 reactor is one of four reactors, which produce around 20 percent of Sweden’s electricity. While Ringhals 3 and 4 are still online, Ringhals 1 is shut for annual planned maintenance. (Reporting by Anna Ringstrom Editing by Alexander Smith)

August 1, 2018 Posted by | climate change, Sweden | 1 Comment

Arctic circle countries ravaged by wildfires – Sweden worst affected

Wildfires rage in Arctic Circle as Sweden calls for help, By Jonathan Watts, July 18, 2018

At least 11 wildfires are raging inside the Arctic Circle as the hot, dry summer turns an abnormally wide area of Europe into a tinderbox.

The worst affected country, Sweden, has called for emergency assistance from its partners in the European Union to help fight the blazes, which have broken out across a wide range of its territory and prompted the evacuations of four communities.

Tens of thousands of people have been warned to remain inside and close windows and vents to avoid smoke inhalation. Rail services have been disrupted.

The Copernicus Earth observation programme, which gives daily updates of fires in Europe, shows more than 60 fires burning across Sweden, with sites also ablaze in Norway, Finland and Russia, including in the Arctic Circle.

Norway has sent six fire-fighting helicopters in response to its neighbour’s request for assistance. Italy is sending two Canadair CL-415s – which can dump 6,000 litres of water on each run – to Örebro in central southern Sweden.

In western Sweden, fire-fighting operations were temporarily halted near an artillery training range near Älvdalen forest due to concernsthat unexploded ordnance might be detonated by the extreme heat.

Residents in Uppsala said they could see the plumes of smoke and have been banned from barbecuing in national parks, after 18 consecutive days without rain.

“This is definitely the worst year in recent times for forest fires. Whilst we get them every year, 2018 is shaping up to be excessive,” said Mike Peacock, a university researcher and local resident.

There have been huge fires in the past in Sweden, but not over such a wide area. This appears to be a trend as more and bigger blazes are reported in other far northern regions like Greenland, Alaska, Siberia and Canada.

The sparks come from a variety of sources: BBQs, cigarettes and increasingly lightning, which is becoming more frequent as the planet warms.

Swedish authorities say the risk of more fires in the days ahead is “extremely high” due to temperatures forecast in excess of 30C. Much of the northern hemisphere has sweltered in unusually hot weather in recent weeks, breaking records from Algeria to California and causing fires from Siberia to Yorkshire. Ukraine has been hit especially hard by wildfires.

The European Forest Fire Information System warned fire danger conditions were likely to be extreme across much of central and northern Europe in the coming weeks.

EU officials said many of this year’s fires are outside the traditional European fire zone of the Mediterranean, and are increasingly taking place at unexpected times of year. 2017 was the worst fire year in Europe’s history, causing destruction to thousands of hectares of forest and cropland in Portugal, Spain and Italy, as late as November. “There are clear trends of longer fire seasons and frequent critical periods in Europe that are leading to dangerous fire situations,” said a European commission official.

Climate scientists said the Arctic and other areas that were once relatively fire-free are likely to become more vulnerable.

“What we’re seeing with this global heatwave is that these areas of fire susceptibility are now broadening, with the moors in north-west England and now these Swedish fires a consequence of that,” said Vincent Gauci, professor of global change ecology at the Open University.

“Both these areas are typically mild and wet which allows forests and peatlands to develop quite large carbon stores,” he added. “When such carbon-dense ecosystems experience aridity and heat and there is a source of ignition – lightning or people – fires will happen.”

July 20, 2018 Posted by | ARCTIC, climate change, Sweden | Leave a comment

China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) acquires 75% stake in Swedish wind power project

Reuters 18th July 2018 , China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) has acquired a 75 percent
stake in a Swedish wind power project from Australia’s Macquarie Group
and GE Energy Financial Services, state news agency Xinhua reported on
Wednesday. The North Pole wind power project, located in Pitea, Sweden, is
expected to be operational by the end of 2019 with a capacity of 650,000
kilowatts, making it the single largest onshore wind power park in Europe,
Xinhua said.

July 20, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, China, renewable, Sweden | Leave a comment