Swiss to vote on government’s anti-nuclear energy strategy via The Local

The Swiss people will go to the polls on May 21st to decide whether the government’s ‘energy strategy 2050’ should go ahead.
The policy, which will instigate a gradual withdrawal from nuclear power in favour of renewable resources, is opposed by the right-wing Swiss People’s Party (SVP) which in October launched a campaign to gather enough signatures to force a referendum on the matter. 
On Tuesday the government confirmed that the SVP had gathered 68,390 valid signatures, well over the necessary threshold of 50,000, reported news agencies
Consequently, in May the Swiss people will get the chance to have their say on the government’s energy plans.
The Energy Strategy 2050 was devised following the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011 and is spearheaded by energy minister and current Swiss President Doris Leuthard.
Under the plans no new nuclear power plants will be built in Switzerland and the five that do exist – including the world’s oldest operating reactor, Beznau I – will be decommissioned at the end of their technically safe operating life. 
Last November the Swiss voted against a more extreme plan, backed by the Green Party but opposed by the government, which would have seen some of Switzerland’s nuclear power plants shut down as soon as this year. 
Currently around 39 percent of Switzerland’s electricity needs are met by nuclear power, while 56 percent is generated through hydropower – the country’s most important domestic source of energy. 
Historically that figure has been far higher; in the 1970s almost 90 percent of Swiss electricity was produced through hydropower, prior to the construction of most of the country’s nuclear power plants.
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