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Swiss people in favour of early nuclear withdrawal

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Swiss people in favour of early nuclear withdrawal
Protesters near Beznau I, the oldest reactor in the world. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
09:14 CET+01:00
The majority of Swiss voters will back a plan timetabling the closure of the country’s nuclear power plants, according to a new survey.

Voters go to the polls on November 27th to vote on the popular initiative ‘For an orderly withdrawal from the nuclear energy programme’.

Backed by the Green Party, it sets out a timetable for the country’s withdrawal from nuclear power which would see three of Switzerland’s five reactors – Mühleberg and Beznau I and II, closed as early as next year. The remaining two would be decommissioned in 2024 and 2029.

Although it wishes to withdraw the country from nuclear power eventually, the federal government is not in favour of the plan, suggesting that the proposed dates are far too early and the country is not yet properly prepared to make up the reduction in electricity output through renewable sources.

However a new survey by publisher Tamedia suggests a majority will not heed the government’s advice.

Some 57 percent expressed their intention to vote ‘yes’ or ‘probably yes’ to the initiative, with 42 percent leaning towards voting against it, said newspaper 20 Minutes, published by Tamedia. One percent was undecided.

The survey is the third undertaken by Tamedia in the run up to November 27th and shows the ‘yes’ camp having strengthened by two percent since the first survey.

The results are interesting since support for popular initiatives normally declines in the run up to the vote, said 20 Minutes.

Support is highest in French-speaking Switzerland, at 63 percent. The Italian-speaking canton of Ticino and Swiss German regions are 54 percent in favour, according to the survey.

Some 15,462 people from all over Switzerland took part.

Another survey undertaken by Marketagent.com also put yes voters in the majority, though the percentage was lower, at 51.5 percent, reported the Swiss press on Sunday.

That’s in spite of the fact that 54.5 percent said they were not afraid of a nuclear catastrophe in Switzerland, as happened in Fukushima, Japan, in 2011.

It was in the aftermath of that disaster that the Swiss government started to work on plans to withdraw Switzerland from nuclear power.

Read more: Crucial or ‘chaotic’? Swiss debate nuclear withdrawal

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