A Pro Nuclear Coalition in the Making in Switzerland

A government report released late last year warned that the lights could go out in Switzerland by 2025, as the amount of electricity produced by renewables, solar, wind and even hydro-power will not make up for the loss of shutting down all nuclear power stations by 2035. Prospects also look dim on further imports from the European Union, due to the lack of an agreement with Brussels. In addition, the Swiss Green Party is demanding that the Beznau nuclear power station, built in 1969, be closed down immediately.

Given the tremendous energy insecurity, the leadership of the liberal party (FDP), the fourth largest in the country, just adopted a resolution to reverse the current ban on the construction of new nuclear plants. The executive council of the party has not yet approved the proposal. If it should come to a vote in the Swiss parliament (National Council), the FDP would likely have the support of the conservative Swiss People’s Party (SVP), the country’s largest, but to reach a majority, it would need a third party, which could be the conservative Center Party, the third largest. A debate is expected to take place this summer in the National Council, and possibly a vote as well.

Moreover, a new political initiative, The Swiss Energy Club, has been mobilizing to collect the 100,000 signatures necesssary to held a national referendum on overturning the ban on construction of new nuclear power plants.The Club’s President, SVP politician Vanessa Meury, announced that the request is already at the Federal Chancellery for preliminary examination.

In a national referendum held last year, Switzerland became the first country in Europe to overturn the government’s climate change law, that was modeled on that of the European Union. A similar procedure could also allow the Swiss to create a precedent by being the first to reject anti-nuclear laws, such as those in Austria, Germany, Italy, Spain and Sweden.

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