In a referendum this weekend, Swiss voters have approved the government’s plan to move from nuclear power to renewables.
Switzerland held a referendum on Sunday (May 21) on the government’s planned transition from the nuclear power provided by the country’s aging reactors to renewable energy sources.
Provisional results suggested that a majority of voters supported the shift, with 58 % voting in favour of the referendum. Final results are expected to be published by late afternoon.
The Swiss government decided to gradually phase out nuclear power after the disaster in Fukushima, Japan, in 2011, where there were three nuclear meltdowns at a plant after a tsunami caused by an earthquake. Berlin took a similar step after the disaster by announcing the phasing out of nuclear power in Germany.
Switzerland’s Energy Strategy 2050, spearheaded by Energy Minister Doris Leuthard, who is also the current Swiss president, involves decommissioning Switzerland’s five ageing reactors as they reach the end of their safe operational life. Currently, they produce around a third of the country’s electricity.
Although the plan does not lay down a clear timetable for phasing out the plants, it does envisage increasing reliance on hydraulic power and solar, wind, geothermal and biomass energy sources, as well as reducing energy consumption and improving energy efficiency.
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