Swiss government begins debate on future of nuclear reactors

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The Swiss government began Wednesday a debate on the future of the country's nuclear reactors, amid growing public resistance against atomic energy after Japan's Fukushima plant accident.

"The government has began the session" which is to last until early afternoon, said a spokesman, adding that their decision will be made public on Thursday morning.

Switzerland became the first country to suspend plans to replace its ageing nuclear plants after the Fukushima accident.

On Wednesday, the government will be relooking at the country's atomic energy programme and exploring three scenarios: keeping current reactors and renewing ageing ones; not replacing the oldest reactors when they reach the end of their life span; or halting the reactors before the end of their life span.

According to Swiss press, the government will recommend that the oldest reactors should not be replaced.

This would mean that the Muehleberg and Beznau reactors will end their service at 2020. Goesgen and Leibstadt reactors will follow in 2040, according to Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger.

The government's recommendation will then go to parliament, which is due to make a final decision mid-June.

© 2011 AFP

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