Swiss to vote on new proposal for phase out

18 January 2013

A Green-led initiative to phase out the use of nuclear energy in Switzerland by 2029 has secured enough support for a national referendum on the issue to be held. A date for the vote has yet to be announced.

The Swiss Federal Chancellery announced that the initiative, filed on 16 November 2012, has now formally ended. It said that it had validated 107,533 of the 108,227 signatures submitted, noting that this exceeds the 100,000 needed for an initiative to be put to a referendum.

Switzerland's federal government has already decided to phase out the five nuclear reactors which generate 40% of the country's electricity by not replacing them with new nuclear capacity at the end of their anticipated working lives. The decision came in response to the March 2011 accident at Fukushima Daiichi and would effectively see all of Switzerland's nuclear power plants shut by 2035. However, legislation to formalise that phase-out decision is still outstanding, as is an energy policy that accommodates the loss of capacity.

The initiative for an earlier phase out was put forward by an alliance of environmental groups, political parties, anti-nuclear organisations and trade unions including the Green Party and Greenpeace Switzerland. It seeks to impose a statutory limit of 45 years on the operating lives of the country's nuclear power plants and a ban on new construction, which would result in Swiss nuclear power being phased out slightly earler than the government plan, in 2029.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News