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Japan Nuclear Disaster in 2011 Inspires Switzerland to be Nuclear-Power-Free

Nov 27, 2016 05:57 AM EST
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Swiss Greens and Social Democrats from Switzerland have been pushing for a vote toward the country's full exit from nuclear power since the Fukushima disaster in Japan more than five years ago. A national poll will be held on Sunday in which citizens can vote whether or not they agree that all nuclear power plants in the country be fully shut down faster than originally planned. 

The Swiss take pride in the fact that they have a hundred percent non-reliance on fossil fuel as a source of national energy. More than 60 percent of Switzerland's energy source is generated by hydroelectric power plants, but the remaining 30 percent is from nuclear plants. More than 20 terawatt hours of electricity are produced by nuclear power plants alone every year, and the full immediate closure of nuclear power plants in the country will significantly affect their economy.

However, according to reports, anti-nuclear power groups have been protesting since 2011 when they realized that disasters such as that of the Fukushima plant meltdown are too much of a price to pay if no action will be carried out. The federal authorities have agreed and decided in 2011 that they will gradually phase out nuclear power in the entire country. In 2013, one of the largest nuclear plant operators in the country, BKW, has closed all of its plants nationwide.

All other large plants are expected to be closed down in 2019, and Switzerland is expected to be nuclear-power-free by 2031. It is yet to be known whether or not the national poll results to an agreement for a full, immediate closure. Swissgrid, one of the network operators in Switzerland, has indicated that they are not ready to quickly modify their processes and infrastructure to handle immediate changes. Experts have indicated that the energy provided for more than 1.6 million households are going to be endangered in case the votes cast would be a "yes."  

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