Switzerland’s nuclear shutdown

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Switzerland already had plans to close all of its nuclear power plants by 2035. However, a group of environmentalists, including Greenpeace, have succeeded in getting sufficient signatures to force a referendum on bringing the shutdown earlier to 2029. Good sense is clearly now being completely tossed out the window by greens in Switzerland.

The referendum, if successful, would result in nuclear plant lifetimes being shortened from the expected 50 to 45 years, with the total percentage of electricity from nuclear going from 43 to 0%. No matter how these plants are replaced Switzerland will be massively increasing the costs of electricity for precisely zero emissions reductions. It is also unclear how the Swiss nuclear industry will respond to this. As far as I understand it, they currently have licenses to run for 50 years, and are likely to demand financial redress for the early shutdown.

The UK is currently debating whether to have a legally binding goal of having a carbon intensity of electricity generation at below 50 gCO2e/kWh by 2030. Switzerland, on the other hand, is already there. It’s carbon intensity is 13.5gCO2e/kWh. The shift away from nuclear is inevitably going to result in an increase in fossil fuel use, and to pointlessly shift funds away from decarbonising other sectors of the economy.

The needless shifts from nuclear in countries such as Germany and France are costing us vital years in the fight against climate change, years we do not have.


2 thoughts on “Switzerland’s nuclear shutdown

    Fabian said:
    November 19, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    “a legally binding *c*oal of having a carbon intensity of electricity generation at below 50 gCO2e/kWh by 2030.”
    🙂 Spot-on Freudian typo!

    Nice article, “needless shift from nuclear in Germany” hits the nail on the head. Sad fact, most Germans seem to buy the “Energiewende”-nonsense our politicians keep pushing, it’s become sort of a national dogma that a densely populated European industrial country can be powered 100% from domestic(!) renewables. It’d be sorta funny if it wasn’t sad :/
    Pro-nuclear people in Germany get looked at like Scientologists or Neo-Nazis or something… it’s frustrating!


    Robert Wilson said:
    November 19, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    Thanks Fabian,

    I just fixed the typo. Unfortunately many outside Germany buy the dogma as well. Big risk is that Germany is viewed as a model country, and other countries trying copying it. Pretty much the worst idea imaginable if you actually want to reduce emissions cost effectively.


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