- Title: Swiss reject speedy exit from atomic power
- Date: 27th November 2016
- Summary: BERN, SWITZERLAND (NOVEMBER 27, 2016) (REUTERS) SWISS FLAG VIEW OF BERN / YES COMMITTEE MEETING PLACE SIGN IN FRONT OF ENTRANCE OF YES COMMITTEE MEETING PLACE ENTRANCE OF YES COMMITTEE MEETING PLACE VARIOUS OF PEOPLE INSIDE YES COMMITTEE MEETING PLACE TV WITH VOTE RESULTS PRELIMINARY RESULTS OF "YES" ON TV SCREEN / PRELIMINARY RESULTS OF "NO" ON TV SCREEN YES BANNER / PEOPLE AT MEETING PLACE YES SIGN AT ENTRANCE OF MEETING PLACE ENTRANCE OF YES COMMITTEE MEETING PLACE SWISS PARLIAMENT IN BERN SWISS ENERGY MINISTER, DORIS LEUTHARD ARRIVING AT NEWS CONFERENCE CAMERAWOMAN FILMING (SOUNDBITE) (German) SWISS ENERGY MINISTER, DORIS LEUTHARD, SAYING: "What Mr. Vice Chancellor has already said, we have today with 54.2 percent of the population's vote rejected the nuclear exit initiative. With that, the people and the status of the recommendation from the Bundesrat and parliament have followed. Twenty cantons have also rejected the initiative against all forecasts and predictions and surveys, so it happened rather differently (to what was expected)." PHOTOGRAPHER WORKING NEWS CONFERENCE IN PROGRESS (SOUNDBITE) (German) SWISS ENERGY MINISTER, DORIS LEUTHARD, SAYING: "I am relieved with this outcome, because it leaves us enough time for the rebuilding of the energy strategy, it also leaves enough time for developing a network. People obviously don't want to take any risks, no risks with network instability, no risks with loss compensation and also no red imports (prohibited items) from abroad." JOURNALIST READING VARIOUS OF NEWS CONFERENCE IN PROGRESS
- Embargoed: 12th December 2016 16:38
- Keywords: Swiss nuclear power Germany power plants
- Location: BERN, SWITZERLAND
- City: BERN, SWITZERLAND
- Country: Switzerland
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA0015A7YONB
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Swiss voters rejected a speedy exit from the nation's five nuclear power plants on Sunday (November 27), as concerns over losing energy independence outweighed the safety worries raised by the measure's proponents.
54.2 percent of voters rejected the initiative, with 45.7 percent favouring it in a vote that was part of the Swiss system of direct democracy giving citizens a final say on important issues.
Swiss reactors Muehleberg and Beznau I and II would be shuttered next year, followed by Goesgen in 2024 and Leibstadt in 2029, if the initiative was to go through.
The Swiss government and industry fought the initiative, saying it could lead to blackouts, higher costs and the loss of energy independence because the country would become more dependent on coal-fired power from neighbouring Germany.
Germany plans to shutter its remaining nuclear plants by 2022, a response to the 2011 disaster in Japan that also prompted the Swiss initiative.
Switzerland has a 2050 energy strategy in which it would gradually replace nuclear power that now supplies about a third of the country's electricity with renewables, including wind and solar. The strategy calls for eventual closure of the Swiss reactors, but without a deadline.
However, that plan is under threat with the Swiss People's Party, the largest in parliament, aiming to challenge it with a separate referendum on the grounds it is too expensive.
Swiss utility BKW AG already plans to shutter Muehleberg in 2019, citing the high costs of maintenance and operations.
Swiss Green Party is advocating a quicker atomic power exit citing worries about an ageing atomic capability, with Beznau I the oldest operating nuclear power station in the world, having been started in 1969.
That reactor and Leibstadt, the largest Swiss atomic power station, have been offline for months following maintenance issues, including the discovery of discolouration in eight cladding tubes used to encase Leibstadt's fuel rods.
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