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
Julian Assange: ‘sweet’ victory soured by British and Swedish rejection
No release in sight despite UN panel deciding WikiLeaks founder is being arbitrarily detained at Ecuador embassy, Guardian, Esther Addley,Owen Bowcott,David Crouch in Gothenberg, and Jessica Elgot 5 Feb 16 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. Continue reading
|Upgrade and extension of radioactive waste management facilities at Lucas Heights House of Representatives, Parliament of Australia, 5 Feb 16|
|The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works today announced that it is conducting an inquiry into the upgrade and extension of radioactive waste management facilities for the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO).
ANSTO’s submission notes that current storage facilities will reach full capacity early in 2017 and although locations for a new facility are being considered, the new facility is not expected to be operational until 2020.
The inquiry will examine existing low and intermediate-level solid waste facilities at Lucas Heights that require extension and upgrade, with extension works for the low-level solid waste facilities expected to be completed by April 2017, and works for the intermediate-level facilities to be completed by June 2018.
In addition to upgrading and extending storage capacity, works will include upgrading ventilation and security systems, electrical infrastructure and surrounding roads.The estimated cost of the project is $22.3 million and it is anticipated that the Committee will conduct public and in-camera hearings for the inquiry in the near future.
Further information on the public hearing will be available soon on theCommittee’s website.
Submissions to the inquiry close on 10 March 2016.
NB the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works is neither involved in the tendering process nor the awarding of contracts. Enquiries on those matters should be addressed to ANSTO.
For media comment – Office of Senator Dean Smith (Chair of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works) (08) 9481 0349 Committee Secretariat (02) 6277 4636Full details on the project are available on the Committee’s website.
Queensland says ‘no’ to national radioactive dump plan February 3, 2016 Tony Moore brisbanetimes.com.au senior reporter The Palaszczuk government has ruled out supporting any plan to build a national radioactive waste storage facility anywhere in Queensland.
That includes Oman Ama, the small town on the Cunningham Highway between Inglewood and Warwick, where a private landowner had put forward his property as a potential radioactive waste site.
Information from the Australian government project confirms intermediate-level radioactive waste would be “temporarily” stored at the chosen facility for many years, while the majority of radioactive waste would be low-level.
The International Atomic Energy Agency says intermediate-level radioactive waste “contains higher radioactivity levels than low level waste. It requires shielding when handled. Intermediate level waste – generated during operation of a nuclear power plant – consists mostly of ion exchange resins used to clean the water circulating through the reactor.”
Queensland has now written to the Australian government and asked that all potential Queensland radioactive waste storage sites be removed from the Australian government’s shortlist of six potential sites.
This was revealed in a letter on January 25, 2016, written on behalf of State Development Minister Anthony Lynham, to one of the opponents of the proposed radioactive waste dump.
Private land holder Gordon Donovan – who owns land at Oman Oma, suggested his property as a radioactive dump. The federal government has offered $10 million for the community which is eventually chosen to accept the waste.
The January 25 2016 letter, from Dr Lynham’s policy advisor, says the Queensland government will not support “in any circumstances” a radioactive waste storage facility in Queensland.
I wish to advise that the Queensland government does not support, in any circumstances, anywhere in Queensland being utilised for radioactive waste storage,” the letter says.
“Minister Lynham has specifically written to the Honourable Josh Frydenberg MP, Minister Resources, Energy and Northern Australia, asking that he remove Queensland sites from the Australian government’s shortlist for the storage of radioactive waste.”
The decision was welcomed by Bob Morrish, from the lobby group Friends of Oman Ama which is effectively southern Darling Downs grazing land with a single service station.
“It is very heartening to us to see that the state government will back their legislation dating back to 2007; that’s their Prohibition of Nuclear Facilities Act,” Mr Morrish said……..http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/queensland-says-no-to-national-radioactive-dump-plan-20160203-gmky7j.html
Minister dismisses scare campaign, urges residents to embrace opportunity of nuclear waste dump, Courier Mail February 5, 2016 QUEENSLANDERS have been urged not to be scared of radioactive waste, but to embrace the opportunities a nuclear dump could bring.
Resources, Energy and Northern Australia Minister Josh Frydenberg said Queenslanders should not be panicked by nuclear because most fears were based on myth.
The Federal Government has moved to intervene in the debate after a protest campaign in the tiny locality of Oman Ama, near Inglewood, 250km southwest of Brisbane.
A property owner has offered his land to the Government for a mega low-waste nuclear dump and it is one of Mr Frydenberg’s six preferred sites across Australia.
Mr Frydenberg told The Courier-Mail community feedback was important and up to three sites would soon be short-listed.
“It is also important to remember the number of benefits that will flow to the final chosen community,” he said……..http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/minister-dismisses-scare-campaign-urges-residents-to-embrace-opportunity-of-nuclear-waste-dump/news-story/1689fe8fe1a64423cefb24806fa2c25f
Renewable energy is not only a tool to provide clean energy and control the emissions that are changing our climate. It is also a growth industry offering employment and revenue opportunities almost exclusively in regional and rural communities.
For many farming landowners, such as Peter, Leigh and David Watts, of Yeungroon, featured in The Weekly Times last week, lease payments from turbines are a way to drought-proof farms by ensuring ongoing income in tough times.
There is enormous potential to grow the partnerships between rural communities and renewable energy providers.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has signalled a new approach to renewable energy and this has given businesses such as energy company Acciona the confidence to make major investments in Australia.
Last month, it announced plans to progress the Mt Gellibrand wind farm proposal, which would provide clean power to more than 100,000 households. The project would create more than 100 jobs in the building phase, about 10 ongoing roles, and deliver substantial revenue for the life of the wind farm to landowners, council and the wider community.
Australia’s Renewable Energy Target has generated $18.5 billion of investment and, under the revised target, we expect to see at least another $10 billion by 2020.
Today the industry employs more people than the coal-generation sector in Australia. With stable policy settings, a clear direction on emissions targets and an understanding that Australia requires a more sophisticated approach to energy policy, the renewables sector is well placed to innovate and grow.
Improving technology in the wind sector means we can now generate more electricity from fewer turbines and maintain an income stream for landowners, councils and community organisations in regional and rural communities. It is my hope regional Australia and the renewables sector can grow together. Andrew Thomson is managing director of energy company Acciona
DP Energy seeks approval for big solar/wind project near Port Augusta as public urged to have say ABC News2 Feb 16 Port Augusta’s council is encouraging the public to share their views on a renewable energy park proposed to the south of the city, along the Augusta Highway.
DP Energy has submitted an application to the state Development Assessment Committee for the project, which contains up to 59 wind turbines and 1.6 million solar panels, to be built in stages south of Port Augusta.
Port Augusta Mayor Sam Johnson said the project fits in well in the region, which aims to be a centre for renewable energy.
“It’s been demonstrated in Port Augusta through Sundrop Farms using the technology which they’re using, in this case yes we know that wind turbines do exist around the world and around the countryside and in South Australia as well as solar PV [photovoltaic], but this one is the first of its kind in linking the two together,” he said.
The proposal is now out for public consultation and councillor Johnson is encouraging people to have a say……..http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-02/dp-energy-seeks-nod-for-solar-wind-project-near-port-augusta/7133076
Community shortlisted for nuclear waste site says consultation is driving community apart ABC Radio PM 1 Feb 16 “……..NATALIE WHITING: Three of the six sites shortlisted for Australia’s nuclear waste dump are in the federal seat of Grey in South Australia.
Two of those are in the small farming community of Kimba. Local farmer Peter Woolford says consultation about the proposal is taking its toll.
PETER WOOLFORD: The stress that’s there is quite evident, and the community is fractured…….
PETER WOOLFORD: They meet with groups, they meet with individuals, so to me it’s a pretty divisive thing doing it separately, and in small groups, but you know, that’s what they have to do. They say they’re trying to get word to everybody, and I guess that’s the consultation process.
NATALIE WHITING: The Federal Government has said the shortlist will be whittled down further in March. But across the border in New South Wales, a shortlisted community has already been told they won’t be getting the dump.
The Federal Member for Calare, John Cobb, assured a packed community meeting in Hill End on the weekend that it wouldn’t be the site. He said he had already spoken with the Minister, and it would be ruled out because of community opposition. That’s frustrated some people in Kimba……..
NATALIE WHITING: The Commonwealth process has been running alongside South Australia’s Royal Commission into the Nuclear Cycle.
The country’s chief scientist Alan Finkel told Radio National he looks forward to advising the Commonwealth when it responds to the findings.
ALAN FINKEL: The primary focus I anticipate from the report will be on storage: is there an opportunity for Australia, in particular South Australia, to have a role in a global nuclear fuel cycle by taking the role of long term storage.
NATALIE WHITING: That goes well beyond the waste plans currently being discussed by the Government……..http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2015/s4398054.htm
“The fact that Arena and the CEFC are still on the chopping block shows that the Liberals’ attacks on renewables hasn’t stopped under Malcolm Turnbull. Greg Hunt has confirmed that these two agencies will remain in the Turnbull Liberal government’s sites.”
Renewables agency stripped of members and run by bureaucrat http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/feb/02/australian-renewables-energy-agency-arena-board-terms-expire-bureaucrat
Board terms expire, leaving body tasked with investing in emerging technology in hands of department secretary for second time in two years. ll appointed board members of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency have had their terms expire and have not been replaced, leaving it governed by the secretary of the Department of the Environment, Guardian Australia has learned.
The same thing happened in 2014 while Tony Abbott was prime minister, and the move has now been criticised as an attempt by the Turnbull government to remove the independence of the agency.
According to legislation, the board must consist of the secretary of the Department of the Environment and up to six others appointed by the minister. The agency can operate with the secretary being the only board member, since it reaches quorum when a majority of the board members are present, which now occurs with one.
Parliament sits for the first time in 2016 on Tuesday, with bills abolishing both the renewable energy agency (Arena) and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation still before parliament, despite having been rejected by the Senate. Signs indicate the Turnbull government intends to keep them. Continue reading
Solar power station in Collinsville could be under construction this year, ABC News (includes Audio) 2 Feb 16 QLD Country Hour By David Sparkes Construction of a $100 million solar power station in Collinsville, North Queensland, could begin this year if a deal is struck for selling the electricity.
Ratch Australia plans to build the station on the site of the disused coal power station it purchased in 2011.
Business development executive general manager Anthony Yeates said the company had been short-listed in an tender process with Ergon Energy and, failing that, there were other potential clients for an off-take agreement.
“The bulk of the development activities are all completed, so it’s a fairly advanced project and it’s really just awaiting us to close out some of the important commercial arrangements,” he said………http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-02/ratch-australia-collinsville-solar-project-could-begin-this-year/7132424
The latest report shows that almost two-thirds of Australians want to be self-sufficient in meeting their energy needs and while battery systems will not give complete independence for most consumers, it does offer a bit more control.
Costs of battery storage systems have been falling at a rapid rate and forecasts are for this trend to continue as more and more households adopt them. It is expected that prices will halve again within the next five years.
Solar panels have also gotten cheaper, with the Climate Council reporting a 75 per cent drop in price over the past five years.
Companies such as Reposit, an ACT-based start-up, are using the grid’s infrastructure to allow people to trade their energy directly on the wholesale market, effectively acting like a mini power station in everybody’s backyard.
Explained: The Tesla Powerwall and what it means for Australia’s energy market, ABC News, 2 Feb 16, The Powerwall, a lithium-ion battery system designed to store electricity generated from rooftop solar panels, is widely considered to be a game-changer for the electricity industry. 7.30 has asked consumer group Choice to crunch the numbers. Here’s what they found.
Hill End nuclear waste dump ruled out due to community opposition, ABC News 29 Jan 16 By Nick Dole
A nuclear waste facility will not be built at Hill End in central-west New South Wales because community opposition to the proposal is so strong, the Federal Government has said.
The site at Hill End, north of Bathurst, was one of six being considered for a nuclear waste facility.
It was offered up by a local landowner, who could be paid four times the land’s market value.
At a packed public meeting on Saturday, dozens of residents spoke against the concept, telling representatives from the Federal Government that Hill End was a “totally inappropriate” location.
Many residents expressed concerns about potential water contamination or the risk of transporting radioactive material. Local resident Kerri Burns said Hill End should be removed from the selection process immediately.
“We’ve been polite, but if this goes further, the gloves are off,” she said.
The audience was told Hill End would remain on the shortlist for now, due to a legislated consultation process.
But the Member for Calare, John Cobb, said he had already communicated the community’s view to Minister Josh Frydenberg.
“I said, ‘We are not going to be building this at Hill End’ and he looked at me and I said ‘The community is against it and they are not going to change their mind’,” Mr Cobb said……..http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-01-30/hill-end-to-be-spared-nuclear-waste-dump/7127092
Mr McLachlan has appealed against the approval of the $700 million wind farm, to feature 114 turbines standing up to 165m high dotted along the ranges between Palmer, Tungkillo and Sanderston.
The appeal is listed against wind farm developers Trustpower, the Mid Murray Council, Environment Protection Agency, the Planning Department and the Environment Minister.
A preliminary conference is scheduled to be heard in the Environment, Resources and Development Court by Commissioner Lolita Mohyla at 3.30pm tomorrow.
Mr McLachlan’s is one of four appeals filed against the wind farm, which was approved by the Mid Murray Council’s development assessment panel on December 18. He yesterday declined to comment about the appeal.
In December, he submitted a video message to the development assessment panel opposing the wind farm being built.
Even if it were to be conclusively established wind farms do not produce health problems, it’s annoying and affects quality of life,” he said.
“I was frankly heartbroken that this land will be forever marred by enormous man-made structures.”
Green Light For Canberra’s Williamsdale Solar Farm http://www.energymatters.com.au/renewable-news/williamsdale-solar-farm-em5315/ February 1, 2016 Energy Matters
The proposal was “called in”, meaning the Minister assumed the role of assessment manager for the development application. The Minister is able to call in a project if a development is considered a major policy issue, has a major effect on government objectives and provides a substantial benefit.
“Once completed, the solar farm will power more than 2500 homes, contributing to the Territory’s renewable energy and greenhouse gas reduction targets,” said Minister Mick Gentleman.
“Under the Territory’s greenhouse gas reduction strategy, renewable energy will account for roughly 73 per cent of the emission reductions needed if the ACT is to reach its legislated 2020 target.”
The solar farm will be situated on farmland near the Monaro Highway and Angle Crossing Road in Tuggeranong, at a site just a couple of hundred metres from the ACT’s border with New South Wales. The new solar power station will be around 10 kilometres from the 24MW Royalla Solar Farm.
Minister Gentleman stated he has imposed strict conditions on the development as part of his decision, in order to address concerns raised in four submissions by members of the community. One of those conditions is that non-glare materials be used. Appropriate landscaping works will also be carried out and sufficient bushfire management measures put in place.
Even with the conditions imposed on the Williamsdale project, some still aren’t happy the project is going ahead and feel the consultation process was lacking.
The Williamsdale site wasn’t the first choice for the solar farm. It was originally proposed to be built adjacent to Uriarra Village. However, many Uriarra Village residents were strongly opposed to the project; primarily on the basis of aesthetics and what they stated was a lack of procedural fairness.
The ACT has a legislated target of 90% renewable energy by 2020; a goal it appears it will reach. In August, ACT Labor proposed an even more ambitious renewables target – 100% by 2025.
Those that support nuclear power because nuclear power somehow supports them; no matter what the health implications or other “costs” are for others.
The “other” reason is that the Nuclear Industry and their Utilities are desperate to create a radioactive waste dumping site for waste is that they are going to want to site Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) very soon, which companies like SD’s General Atomic are now working on. Since CA has a law that says no more nuclear reactors, until a waste site is developed, the lack of a disposal site is the biggest roadblock they face preventing them from deploying SMRs in CA.
I believe that most Utilities will want to phase out Nat. Gas fired Peaker plants and install SMR’s “because they don’t emit CO2.” That is, unless they are going to be making big money using nat. gas like SDG&E will be, since they already have a contract to import Nat. Gas from Mexico (which Sempra owns a share of, so they will be kind of buying Nat. Gas from themselves) for use in their two new state of the art Billion Dollar Peaker Plants that the CPUC just approved for them (despite the fact that the cost of Wind and Solar generation continues to drop almost monthly)!
SCE just had the CPUC decide against approving a Nat. Gas Peaker plant for them, so you can bet that they are now getting “very excited” about installing one or more SMR’s at San Onofre, since the grid wiring connection is already in place and they are going to be guarding that “nuclear waste” site for decades to come.
BTW: All waste facilities should be run by the Government, that way they will always be responsible for it, since Big Waste Corp.’s can go out of business any time they want as as everybody knows Radiation is FOREVER since 50 or more than 100 years is forever to everyone living today.