25.11.2016_No234 / News in Brief

Switzerland Goes To Polls In Referendum On Future Of Nuclear

Policies & Politics

25 Nov (NucNet): Switzerland will hold a referendum on Sunday on whether to speed up the country’s nuclear phaseout policy by setting a constitutional limit of 45 years on the operational lifetime of nuclear power units.

The vote, which latest polls say will be close, could result in the permanent shutdown of three nuclear units next year.

The popular initiative being voted on calls for Beznau-1 and -2 and Mühleberg to be closed in 2017, with the two remaining units, Gösgen and Leibstadt, to follow in 2024 and 2029.

Because the referendum could result in changes to the constitution, two majorities will be needed – a majority of all citizens voting and a majority of Switzerland’s 26 cantons.

Voting will end on Sunday at noon local time, with the first results known at around 13:00 and the official result by 19:00.

Last month, Swiss energy minister Doris Leuthard said the referendum was “premature” because it would leave Switzerland unable to replace power output with energy from renewables.

In October 2016, the Swiss parliament adopted a number of measures that form part of its 2050 energy strategy, including one that prevents the construction or replacement of nuclear power units.

However, the government earlier decided not to introduce legal limitations on the service life of existing nuclear power stations.

About 33% of Swiss electricity was generated from nuclear sources in 2015, data by the International Atomic Energy Agency show.

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Kamen Kraev

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