Switzerland: ‘Stop the Blackouts’ Initiative Calls for Nuclear Renaissance

A group of Swiss lawmakers and business leaders has launched a popular initiative for a return to nuclear energy, under the headline “Stop The Blackouts.” “We cannot do without nuclear power plants,” Vanessa Meury, president of the Stop The Blackouts committee and the only member who is not a politician, told the Swiss newspaper SonntagsZeitung. The committee calls for lifting the ban on permits for new nuclear plants.

Five of the group’s six committee members are lawmakers from the Swiss People’s Party (SVP) and the Liberals (FDP). The change of constitution sought by the group would make Bern officially responsible for guaranteeing energy supply, using “any form of climate-friendly electricity generation”. “The Federal Council [the executive branch], the Parliament, the federal administration and the electric energy industry are not able to guarantee electricity supply in Switzerland at all times”, the Initiative writes on its website. “The Energy Club Switzerland has therefore launched the federal popular initiative ‘Electricity at All Times for Everybody (Stop the Blackouts)’

“The popular initiative must anchor the following objectives in the Constitution: The Confederation defines the responsibilities for guaranteeing all all times a secure electricity supply for our country. It is necessary to implement measures that guarantee sufficient productive capacities, respectful of the climate and environment and which do not further increase foreign dependency. In order to guarantee supplies of electric energy, including in winter, no ban on technologies and authorizations may be formulated.” https://blackout-stoppen.ch/

Popular referendums (initiatives) are a common tool of the Swiss political system. Once 100,000 signatures have been collected within 18 months, a popular vote on any initiative can be organized.

Following a referendum in 2017, the construction of new nuclear plants is banned, and the four plants still operating are scheduled to shut down soon. But some argue for an extension of their lifetime. Reporting on the “Stop The Blackouts” initiative, Zero Hedge commented: “First Japan folded, now the Swiss, when will Germany fully capitulate to the reality that ‘renewables’ just won’t cut [it] in the real world … and what happens to all the ‘green’ narratives then…?”

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