Switzerland opposes building further nuclear power plants

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The Swiss government on Wednesday recommended to parliament that the country's five nuclear power plants should not be replaced as they age, leaving them to be phased out by 2034.

"The federal council wishes to continue guaranteeing high security for energy supply in Switzerland, but without nuclear in the medium term," an official statement said after the meeting of the seven-member cabinet.

"The current nuclear power plants will be shut down at the end of their working lives and will not be replaced," it said, adding that the phasing-out process was both technically possible and economically sustainable.

The first plant to be shut down would be Beznau I in 2019, following by Beznau II and Muehleberg in 2022, Goesgen in 2029 and Leibstadt in 2034.

Parliament, which generally follows government recommendations, is to begin debating draft legislation on June 8, and a final decision is expected around the middle of the month.

Switzerland was the first country to suspend plans to replace its ageing nuclear plants after the Fukushima accident in Japan in April. The ministers were faced Wednesday with the choice between the decision they took, replacing current reactors as they aged or halting the reactors before the end of their lifespans.

© 2011 AFP

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