Switzerland extends operation of nuclear power plants


Switzerland has voted in favour of allowing nuclear power reactors to operate for longer than 45 years.

Currently, five nuclear plants are operating in the country, which account for 40% of Switzerland's electricity.

The Swiss Government had planned to move to renewable sources for energy production and gradually decrease reliance on nuclear power, following the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan.

If finalised, this proposal would have seen three of Switzerland's five nuclear plants being closed in 2017, with the last facility in 2029.

However, with the referendum result, it is expected that the Swiss nuclear plants will generate electricity for around 60 years, with the first unit closing in the 2030s.

"It sends a message to the world that they do not want to follow their German neighbour’s floundering energiewende example."

World Nuclear Association director general Agneta Rising said: “The Swiss people have chosen to use their existing nuclear energy assets more wisely and to preserve their wonderful clean electricity system.

“Relying on a balanced mix of hydro power and nuclear, their energy mix is one of the cleanest in the world and it provides a successful model for other countries that are seeking to decarbonise.

“The Swiss nuclear vote is as clear an example of energy democracy as one could ask for. It sends a message to the world that they do not want to follow their German neighbour’s floundering energiewende example.”