Will Swiss voters opt for a sunset on all nuclear power plants in their Alpine republic?
We’ll know the answer soon as voters head to the polls Sunday to decide on a measure which would set an end date for the shutdown of the nation’s nuclear power plants.
Swiss voters will head to the polls on Sunday to decide whether or not to speed up the process of phasing out the country’s nuclear power plants. Switzerland has already vowed to do so but a “yes” vote would force three of its five reactors to close next year.
Just a few months after Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant was wrecked in the March 2011 tsunami disaster, Switzerland decided to gradually close its nuclear plants, but without setting a clear timeline.
The government’s plan was to decommission Switzerland’s five ageing reactors, which today produce around a third of the country’s electricity, as they reached the end of their safe operational lifespan.
But all of Switzerland’s nuclear plants have open-ended operating licences, meaning they can continue operating as long as they are deemed safe. That was not good enough for Switzerland’s Green Party, which five years
ago launched the initiative that comprises Sunday’s vote, calling for the reactors to run no longer than 45 years.
Without a clear time limit, “you have to wait until there is a breakdown or an incident before you can close the nuclear plants”, spokesman for the initiative Mathias Schlegel told AFP in an email.