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Swiss parliament approves nuclear plant phase out

The Swiss parliament on Wednesday voted to phase out the country’s nuclear plants, about six months after the Fukushima accident in Japan.

Switzerland’s upper chamber on Wednesday voted for government proposals to halt nuclear stations by 2034, in line with the lower house which had approved the proposal on June 8.

In the wake of Japan’s disaster, the Swiss government decided to suspend plans to replace its nuclear power stations and recommended their phase out.

Under the government’s recommendation, the first plant to be shut down would be Beznau I in 2019, followed by Beznau II and Muehleberg in 2022, Goegen in 2029 and Leibstadt in 2034.

The government predicted that a programmed exit from nuclear energy would favour businesses involved in green technology, boost employment and help Switzerland deal with expected rising electricity prices in Europe.

Initial calculations estimate that the cost of reshaping the country’s energy resources, offset by measures to cut consumption, would cost the country between 0.4 percent and 0.7 percent of gross domestic product per year.