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Switzerland says considering nuclear shutdown

Published on 11/04/2011

Switzerland is considering abandoning nuclear power, President Micheline Calmy-Rey said Monday following talks with her Austrian counterpart Heinz Fischer in Vienna.

“We are examining several scenarios, including exit scenarios,” she said, without elaborating.

Fischer, whose country renounced nuclear energy in a referendum in 1978, welcomed the news, saying Switzerland “would do anything … to ensure maximum safety” for its people.

Switzerland announced last month that it was suspending nuclear plant upgrades amid fears of a disaster at Japan’s earthquake and tsunami-hit Fukushima nuclear plant.

Comprehensive safety tests were also being conducted on the country’s five nuclear plants, Calmy-Rey said, adding that Bern did not want to wait for the European Union to set parameters for planned stress tests on the bloc’s 143 reactors.

Switzerland has five nuclear power plants in operation and had recently been holding consultative polls on whether it should renew three of them.

Calmy-Rey also met Monday with the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Yukiya Amano, and with Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann.