Switzerland Votes to Phase Out Nuclear Power

Erik Hayden
May 25, 2011
Switzerland Votes to Phase Out Nuclear Power

This man pictured carrying a fake barrel of hazardous waste at an anti-nuclear protest in Switzerland is probably pleased. On Wednesday, the Swiss government voted in favor of eventually phasing out nuclear energy. The key word, it seems, is eventually: sometime between 2019 to 2040.

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Reuters pegged 2034 as the year the last reactor goes offline. The Wall Street Journal cites experts who say the "eventually" date is estimated at 2040. And the BBC had an optimistic prognostication of "somewhere between" 2019 and 2034 as a potential phase out date.

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Whenever the current nuclear facilities are scheduled to shut down, the Swiss won't build new ones and will instead rely on "alternative" solutions. "Existing nuclear power plants will be closed at the end of their operative life and not replaced by new nuclear power plants," the government said (via BBC News).

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In March, days after Japan's still-precarious Fukushima crisis began, Switzerland suspended approval for three new plants. The nation currently relies on these plants for 40 percent of its energy needs and becomes, as the Journal noted, the second European nation (after Germany) to ditch nuclear energy for now.