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Swiss nuclear power is safe, but on way out

RobK(Photo: Photo Rack)

A checkup of Switzerland's nuclear energy facilities has found that the installations in the Alpine state are earthquake-proof. The Swiss government had ordered a survey of the country's four nuclear plants following the Fukushima earthquake and tsunami of last year, which triggered an environmental disaster in Japan.

Earthquakes of a strength that occur on average once every 10,000 years in Switzerland would not lead to a dangerous release of radioactivity, according to government experts. The cooling systems of the core and the nuclear fuels are guaranteed to go on functioning, the Swiss Federal Nuclear Inspection said.

Switzerland's parliament decided earlier that nuclear energy should be phased out completely by 2034. The Fukushima disaster led to similar moves in Germany and other countries which rely on nuclear energy generation. Eight nuclear plants in Germany were switched off for good after Fukushima. Critics of Berlin's policy change away from atomic power are warning, however, that a lack of investment will cause older nuclear power plants to remain in use for too long.

Advocates of alternative energy in Germany point out that the economic trend is favouring environment-friendly power plants. In 2011 the number of eco-friendly power generating installations built in Germany surpassed that of new coal-fuelled power plants. (directmatin.fr/schwarzwaelder-bote.de/derwesten.de)

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