Swiss to decommission all nuclear power plants

AP , Wednesday 25 May 2011

Swiss government responds to anti-nuclear mass protests by calling for the shutting down of plants

The Swiss Cabinet on Wednesday called for the decommissioning of the country's five nuclear power reactors and new energy sources to replace them.

The recommendation by the seven-member Federal Council will be debated in parliament, which is expected to make a final decision next month. If approved, the reactors would go offline between 2019 and 2034 after they reach their average lifespan of 50 years.

Switzerland has four nuclear power plants with a total of five reactors. Switzerland hopes to turn to entirely non-nuclear sources of power, Energy Minister Doris Leuthard and other Swiss energy officials said.

On Sunday, about 20,000 people took part in the biggest anti-nuclear protest in Switzerland in 25 years by people concerned about the continuing crisis at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Japan.

"It's basically what we asked them to do," said Christian Zeyer of Swiss Cleantech, a sustainable economic association. "We're looking for an economy that is sustainable as a whole." Zeyer said the nation can turn eventually turn to hydropower, wind energy, biomass and photovoltaics.

"We can get by just fine - not at the moment, not immediately - but as time goes on there will be enough opportunities to increase renewable energies," he said.

"The most important thing, however, is to take all chances in saving energy. There are tremendous possibilities there, and it's beneficial for the Swiss economy."

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