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Swiss To End Use of Nuclear Power 470

Posted by samzenpus
from the no-nukes-for-you dept.
mdsolar writes "Energy minister Doris Leuthard is set to propose Switzerland gradually exits nuclear power, two Swiss newspapers reported on Sunday, citing sources close to the government. The multi-party Swiss government was expected to make an announcement on nuclear policy on Wednesday and may recommend an exit. Switzerland's five nuclear reactors generate about 40 percent of the country's electricity."
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Swiss To End Use of Nuclear Power

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  • by siddesu (698447) on Sunday May 22, 2011 @11:10AM (#36208712)

    You could have read the TFA, it wasn't that long:

    The two papers reported Leuthard backed continuing to use current nuclear plants until the end of their lifespans, not building any new ones, and expanding alternative energy sources such as water power.

  • Headline Misleading (Score:5, Informative)

    by Frosty Piss (770223) * on Sunday May 22, 2011 @11:11AM (#36208722)
    The Slashdot headline is (predictably?) not accurate. The Swiss *ARE NOT* ending nuclear power. Rather, there is a proposal to gradually exit nuclear power by not building any new plants. Realistically, even if such a proposal was approved by the current government, given the growing energy needs of society and the shrinking supply / rising cost / environmental issues associated with fossil fuels, I don't see this happening. The current technologies of renewable energy simply cannot support the world's energy needs.

    So what's it going to be? Continue with fossil fuels, or continue developing safer cleaner nuclear? Switzerland's five nuclear reactors generate about 40 percent of the country's electricity, and the needs will only grow. What can realistically replace that?
  • Posted by 'mdsolar' (Score:5, Informative)

    by Rurik (113882) on Sunday May 22, 2011 @11:16AM (#36208768)

    So an anti-nuclear story posted by a user named 'mdsolar' with a blog running very anti-nuclear posts. He also is involved in a business that rents solar systems to homes (http://www.blogger.com/profile/14124764472206647347).

    Christ, Slashdot. Can you be a bit more opaque in posting biased stories?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 22, 2011 @11:41AM (#36208974)

    Pacifism, obviously.

    Switzerland's policy is neutrality not pacifism. They have compulsory military service. They're committed to fighting back if you attack them, they just don't take sides in other people's disputes.

  • by yodleboy (982200) on Sunday May 22, 2011 @12:55PM (#36209670)
    sadly, the same environmental crowd that demands an end to nuclear will stonewall that as well. Just saw a lovely article in Wired about the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generator in the Mojave. 5 1/2 square miles of mirrors. 5 1/2. guess what? the environmental crowd is suing to stop it on the grounds that those 5 1/2 square miles of sand are more important as habitat than a 60% increase in US solar generation. Yet they will no doubt be at the next anti-nuclear, anti-fossil fuel rally. What exactly are we supposed to use for power? Happy thoughts maybe?
  • by Moryath (553296) on Sunday May 22, 2011 @01:02PM (#36209750)

    Not just that - the Swiss defense system also consists of the ability to use the mountains against an attacker. Set off rockslides, destroy passes and roadways, bury any armed force unfortunate enough to be downhill.

    Mountaintop positions that make for incredible sniping posts and "we can hit you but good luck hitting us" mortar and cannon positions. Mountains themselves that make for treacherous flying for aircraft even for bombing runs, let alone foolhardy for any invading force to try to land forces.

    And then there's the political situation. The Swiss were nominally germanic to start with, but they didn't have the direct ties that Austria did (remember, Hitler himself was Austrian-born) to the Nazi regime. The Nazis were, thereby, relatively content to let them sit and exist and be "neutral." They were essentially surrounded on all sides anyways, and the Nazi regime assumed that eventually, following the conquest of the rest of Europe, the Swiss would either decide to fold in or else become enough of an economic arm that it'd make little difference.

  • by gdshaw (1015745) on Sunday May 22, 2011 @01:02PM (#36209756) Homepage

    The reactors I have worked with are not good but there is nothing you can do to stop a Magnox reactor. The British Magnox reactors are still running after their expected lifespan because no-one knows what to do with them. Trawsfynydd still consumes considerable amounts of electricity to keep it stable. The costs do not stop after the fifty years of lifespan.

    According to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority website [nda.gov.uk]:

    All fuel has been removed from the reactors and decommissioning is well underway.

    Do you know something they don't?

    The costs go on and on for tens of thousands of years

    Only if you choose to treat the residue as waste as opposed to a valuable fuel source. Even then, the cost is minimal once it is cool enough to go into dry cask storage.

  • by Splab (574204) on Sunday May 22, 2011 @01:27PM (#36210008)

    Mankind didn't have to support billions of lives at that point.

    We absolutely need power to drive the world as we know it - if we decide to abolish nuclear power we also need to go back to old way of life which means a couple of billion of lives will need to be sacrificed.

  • by makomk (752139) on Sunday May 22, 2011 @01:49PM (#36210156) Journal

    All fuel has been removed from the reactors and decommissioning is well underway.

    The fuel may have been removed, but apparently the waste won't be safe to remove until 2065 [bbc.co.uk], and the buildings themselves aren't scheduled to be demolished and the site finally closed down until 2098 [sitestakeh...ups.org.uk]. (Partly because it'll take that long for the widespread low-level contamination of the ground to reach safe levels, by the looks of it.)

    Oh, and I'm not sure if we've managed to come up with a better way to dispose of nuclear waste than leaving them to rot in badly-maintained storage ponds at places like Sellafield yet...

    Only if you choose to treat the residue as waste as opposed to a valuable fuel source.

    The UK actually had one of the few nuclear reprocessing plants. They have a history of doing things like contaminating the sea and beaches nearby with large quantities of radioactive waste (in some cases deliberately and in others due to incompetence), not to mention stuff like falsifying testing data on the fuel they were selling to other governments. Fortunately they've since managed to get the UK government to offer them unlimited indemnity for any future accidents they might have, even ones caused by negligence.

  • by SerpentMage (13390) <ChristianHGross&yahoo,ca> on Sunday May 22, 2011 @02:00PM (#36210238)

    eh.... NO....

    I live here and we have some serious problems.

    1) Global warming. We have less snow in the mountains with smaller runoffs.
    2) Global warming. Did I say that? This year we don't have enough rain, nor water. It is resulting in the problem that the Rhein traffic has to be restrained.

    Switzerland having infinite water is a myth and the last few years have been very hard. This is why they want to focus more on Wind, or Solar.

  • by Colonel Korn (1258968) on Sunday May 22, 2011 @05:13PM (#36211684)

    It is a mountain kingdom, lots of hydro potential and very few people. Why would they want the infinite expense and risks involved with current nuclear? They can have free power without difficulty and hydro does not stop at night. It is easy for those here to say that anyone that does not want nuclear must be a crank or green but that is just stupid. I worked for BNFL and am not green (maybe a crank). I just happen to look at the whole picture without rose coloured glasses.

    In Wales there are dams that were built by the Victorians and they are still good. The reactors I have worked with are not good but there is nothing you can do to stop a Magnox reactor. The British Magnox reactors are still running after their expected lifespan because no-one knows what to do with them. Trawsfynydd still consumes considerable amounts of electricity to keep it stable. The costs do not stop after the fifty years of lifespan. The costs go on and on for tens of thousands of years making them unbelievably expensive when compared to any other power source. Burning money in a generator would be cheaper.

    There are better options and this decision is not the best way forward. I hope that advances will soon make Thorium into a good commercial choice. Anything but Uranium/Plutonium...

    Infinite risks?

    Hydro 0.10 (europe death rate, 2.2% of world energy)

    Hydro - world including Banqiao 1.4 (about 2500 TWh/yr and 171,000 Banqiao dead)

    Nuclear 0.04 (5.9% of world energy)

    http://nextbigfuture.com/2011/03/deaths-per-twh-by-energy-source.html

    As with literally every alternative, picking hydro over nuclear results in increased deaths.

  • by Shoe Puppet (1557239) on Monday May 23, 2011 @08:52AM (#36216232)

    Nuclear reactors have to be built near rivers so they can use the water for the cooling. Sometimes these rivers just happen to constitute a border. In fact, most French reactors are fairly far away from any border. [wikimedia.org]

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