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Switzerland follows Japan in killing Nuclear Energy bowing to huge public protests against Nuclear Power

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Switzerland has voted to not build any new nuclear reactors and not to extend the life of the existing nuclear plants once their expected life ends.The oldest nuclear reactor will be shut down by 2019 and the newest by 2034 which means that Switzerland will become nuclear free by 2034.Switzerland saw huge protests with 20,000 people rallying against nuclear power which was the biggest in the last 30 years.Germany too has seen hundreds of thousands protesting nuclear power.Note Japan too had earlier decided not to build new nuclear reactors which would have increased nuclear power capacity to 50% by 2030 of the total electricity capacity up from 30% at present.The Fukushima nuclear accident has forced a major rethink in major world capitals as it follows the Three Mile and Chernobyl accidents in the last 50 years.Nuclear Energy forms a substantial chunk of the world’s power capacity but the catastrophic tails risks of nuclear power is the biggest con of nuclear energy.

Swiss cabinet agrees to phase out nuclear power

The Swiss government decided on Wednesday to phase out nuclear power by 2034 after the Japan disaster shook public confidence in the industry, but said it will not shut any existing power plants prematurely.The Swiss government suspended the approvals process for three new nuclear power stations in March pending a review into safety after the disaster at Japan’s Fukushima plant.Last weekend 20,000 people rallied against nuclear power — the largest demonstration of its kind since the 1980s.

“Existing nuclear power plants will be closed at the end of their operative life and not replaced by new nuclear power plants,” the government said in a statement.The decision is likely to please business groups who had warned that a premature shut down of Switzerland’s nuclear reactors could lead to higher electricity costs and negatively impact the country’s energy-hungry manufacturing sector.But the delay will anger the Greens and the Social Democrats (SP) who had called for nuclear reactors to be closed earlier.Swiss utility companies Axpo, Alpiq and BKW had expressed an interest in building new nuclear plants and decisions on sites had been expected in mid-2012

Germany too has seen huge protests leading to an abrupt shutdown of nuclear reactors in the country.With the Green party in Germany winning elections,the politicians there are sensing the hugely anti-nuclear mood amongst the citizenry and are expected to kill new nuclear energy as well.Japan has decided to concentrate its investment into renewable energy like solar,wind energy.Switzerland with 5 nuclear reactors too would have little option but to go to green energy option as well.Note India and China continue to pursue nuclear energy despite progressive government in the West shutting down nuclear energy.Note nuclear power costs are no longer cheap enough with massive cost escalation being seen in Finland and some nuclear reactor plans being canceled in US because of massive economic risks.It remains to be seen whether India gets its act together as massive public protests have started gathering against nuclear energy (Jaitapur) as well.Nuclear Energy has huge risks as Nuclear Accidents keep happening and there is no simple solution to dangerously radioactive Nuclear Waste Storage.Japan and USA have come under strong criticism for trying to dump their nuclear waste into poor Mongolia

PG

Abhishek Shah

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