Swiss vote in in favor of gradual nuclear phaseout

Swiss vote for gradual nuclear phaseout: preliminary results show

Swiss vote for gradual nuclear phaseout: preliminary results show

Over 58 percent of votes emerged Sunday, May 21, to favor the Energy Strategy program and ban new nuclear power plants, promote renewables, and lower energy consumption in the country.

Advance polling had suggested the new energy law would be approved in the binding referendum, but support had slipped in the run-up to the vote.

Energy Strategy 2050 mandates that general licenses provided for nuclear power plants (which presently provide 38% of the country's energy) will no longer be sold, beginning in 2019.

"This is a historic day for the country", Adele Thorens Goumaz, a Green Party parliamentarian, told public broadcaster RTS. Five Switzerland's nuclear power plants will continue to operate for 10-15 years more, but new NPPs will not be built.

Switzerland voted to phase out its use of nuclear power Sunday and largely replace it with energy from wind turbines and solar panels.

The referendum was held yesterday in Switzerland to vote on whether or not to overhaul the country's energy system. However, the Swiss People's Party (SVP), among others, opposed the revised energy policy and succeeded in calling for a referendum on its approval.

Meanwhile, an additional 450 million Swiss Francs will be gathered from an existing fossil fuel tax as part of a drive to cut energy use from buildings by 43 per cent by 2035, against 2000 levels.

"I'm very anxious about the future", SVP parliamentarian Celine Amaudruz told RTS as the referendum results ticked in.

Those who have been opposing the country's plans to move away from nuclear power have claimed that Switzerland will have to pay a lot more money on renewable sources while the landscape risks at losing its beauty.

In a previous referendum last November, 54.2 percent of Swiss voters rejected another plan to shut down the country's nuclear reactors.

Leuthard has said the package would cost the average family 40 francs more a year, based on a higher grid surcharge to fund renewable subsidies.

Hydro power now accounts for 60 percent of Switzerland's electricity generation, while nuclear power, provided by five reactors, now accounts for 35 percent.

Alpiq, BKW, AXPO and other utilities would share a 120 million franc annual subsidy to help close the gap between production costs and market prices.

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