Nuclear an 'important part' of Swiss energy solution

02 June 2008

Switzerland's President, Pascal Couchepin, speaking at the 50th meeting of the Swiss Nuclear Forum, said, "The issue of energy poses a huge challenge to our country. Nuclear power is not the only solution, but it is an important part of the solution." He said: "We must now conduct a rational public debate with all stakeholders." Bruno Pellaud, chairman of the Swiss Nuclear Forum expressed confidence that the Swiss people are aware of the advantages of nuclear energy for the security of energy supplies and the preservation of the environment and climate. He expects Switzerland will approve the construction of new nuclear power plants in conjunction with an expansion of renewable energy. According to Hans Schweickardt, president of Swisselectric, a combination of increased consumption, the closure of the country's three oldest nuclear power plants and the phasing out of electricity import contracts with France, will create in Switzerland an electricity deficit of 25 to 30 billion kilowatt hours by 2035 - half the current level of electricity production. He suggested that Switzerland could avoid this deficit by increasing the use of hydropower, renewables, gas-fired plants and nuclear power plants. Schweickardt called for nuclear power to constitute almost two-thirds of new generating capacity to become available by 2035. Switzerland has five nuclear reactors generating 40% of its electricity. The Swiss government announced early in 2007 that the existing five nuclear power reactors should be replaced in due course with new units.