Switzerland votes nuclear out, renewables in

Switzerland has voted to phase out nuclear power in favour of renewable energy. A public referendum decided to adopt an energy plan that will eventually replace all nuclear energy with solar, wind and hydropower generation. […]

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By Jonny Bairstow

Switzerland has voted to phase out nuclear power in favour of renewable energy.

A public referendum decided to adopt an energy plan that will eventually replace all nuclear energy with solar, wind and hydropower generation.

Swiss voters passed the energy plan with a more than 58% majority in support.

There’s currently no timeframe for the nuclear shutdown but the process is expected to begin in January 2018, with a fourfold increase in solar and wind power planned for 2035.

According to media reports, solar and wind energy make up less than 5% of Switzerland’s current energy production, while hydropower accounts for 60% of energy output and nuclear for 35%.

The government first proposed the idea in 2011 as a response to the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Pro-nuclear campaigners said phasing it out would raise costs and reduce access to reliable power. They also expressed concern regarding the large areas of the landscape needed for solar panels and wind farms being spoiled.

The country’s five existing nuclear power plants are expected to remain operational for the rest of their lifetime, as long as safety standards continue to be met.

Argentina and Romania are to become full members of the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA).

The majority of voters in Connecticut oppose special support for the state’s only nuclear power plant.