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Power Hardware

Swiss To End Use of Nuclear Power 470

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 Halo1 ( 136547 ) on Sunday May 22, 2011 @11:24AM (#36208824)

    The link goes to Reuters. Who cares about the bias of the submitter? Doesn't pretty much every submitter only submit stories they feel should see wider exposure, and hence are biased about? It does work for me like that at least.

  • by ChienAndalu ( 1293930 ) on Sunday May 22, 2011 @11:24AM (#36208828)

    French nuclear power.

  • by Kaz Kylheku ( 1484 ) on Sunday May 22, 2011 @11:28AM (#36208862) Homepage

    Why, an intricate and precise clock-work driven by a wind-up spring.

  • by Chelloveck ( 14643 ) on Sunday May 22, 2011 @11:33AM (#36208914) Homepage

    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.

    Ah. So in other words they don't have a plan yet. Unless you count "hoping really hard that something revolutionary will happen before our existing nuke plants wear out" to be a plan.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 22, 2011 @11:34AM (#36208916)

    So they are basically trying to create another Japan like incident, on purpose this time.

    Come 40 years from now when these plants are past their life expectancy, and desperately need updates to newer technology, instead they will remain falling apart and not replaced, since they clearly have no plan to move away to another form of power generation that can match their usage needs. (No water will not cut it)

    Then the unmaintained and failing hardware will do as all unmaintained hardware does and fail catastrophically, giving the moron anti-nuclear people one more bullet in the 'zomg nuclear is bad!' gun just like they are doing in Japan right now :/

  • Power (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fermion ( 181285 ) on Sunday May 22, 2011 @11:42AM (#36208986) Homepage Journal
    The Japan situation shows that nuclear power is safe, but not every contingency can be planned for, therefore there is always a small risk. The problem is one of managing risk and expectation. The nuclear industry, like all industries, wish to have minimum external burdens, wish to externalize as much costs as possible to the general public, so they like anyone else will lie to gain support. This will in the long run is always disastrous, but enough profits are made in the short run to make no difference to the private interests.

    The big thing with energy is the externalization of costs to the general public, both real and opportunity. It is not really a conservative of liberal thing. When the BP oil well exploded in the Gulf or Mexico, conservatives all along the conservative Gulf Coast raised hell about the externalization of costs. Conservative Florida threw a fit even though conservative support approving drilling in the Gulf with minimal regulations. The coal industry is allowed to destroy public owned resources the could be better monetized by future generation with no recompense to future generations. And the nuclear industry is allowed to irradiate resources and create waste without a management plan. The Swiss reprocesses and stores the larger quantity, but less radioactive waste. Whether this faustian bargain will be acceptable in the long term is yet to be seen. What is true is that unlike out previous energy experiments in the industrial revolution will not be so easy to reverse. The benefit of nuclear energy is that most of the externalization is limited to the nation-state that benefits from the energy, unlike other sources in which the externalization is wolrd wide.

    On a total cost basis other energy sources are viable. Switzerland has good solar irradiation potential. It also has mountains. During the day excess solar energy can be used to pump water up the mountain into a reservoir, and then run through a hydroelectric generator when needed. The same is true for wind. All without externalazing costs to future generations.

  • by vadim_t ( 324782 ) on Sunday May 22, 2011 @11:53AM (#36209074) Homepage

    You know, I'd be willing to bet that stories about Apple are mostly submitted by fans or people who hate the company, stories about games are mostly submitted by gamers, and stories about new versions of the Linux kernel mostly come from Linux users.

    In other words, people submit stores about subjects they care about, and are almost certainly biased in one way or another.

    So what's the big deal here?

  • by cryfreedomlove ( 929828 ) on Sunday May 22, 2011 @11:56AM (#36209096)
    Those are few and far between, even today. The Soviet Union lied to their own people about Cherynobyl. The Japanese government withheld messy truth until they were outed by foreign press.

    I believe nukes can be safe, but most governments are not trustworthy enough to make that happen.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 22, 2011 @11:56AM (#36209098)

    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.

    Yes. Quite neutral. As long as you offer them a cut of the Jew gold they'll wink and nod and remain entirely neutral as they refuse entry to Jewish refugees fleeing genocide.

  • by Zemran ( 3101 ) on Sunday May 22, 2011 @11:58AM (#36209120) Homepage Journal

    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...

  • by boaworm ( 180781 ) <> on Sunday May 22, 2011 @12:31PM (#36209392) Homepage Journal

    It is a mountain kingdom, ...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.

    The chance of Swizerland being hit by a 9.0 quake followed by a large tzunami is ... shall we say slim? :-)

    And before anyone claims that hydroelectric plants are green, go have a look at one. Sure, the carbon footprint is small, but it completely destroys the local landscape and ecosystems.

    So if they are really going away from working nuke plans, hope they don't plan to buy their electricity from germany or eastern europe instead.

  • by CrimsonAvenger ( 580665 ) on Sunday May 22, 2011 @12:33PM (#36209412)

    The Japanese situation has people like mdsolar doing the Chicken Little all over the web. In reality they should feel reassured because the worst has happened and it didn't mean the end of the world. Hell, it didn't even mean the end of one small set of islands. That's quite good news, isn't it?

    You miss one important detail - people like this WANT the worst to happen. They're hoping every night when they go to bed that it'll happen before morning, and looking forward to it every day when they wake up.

    Because, after all, the word "nuclear" is an incredibly scary WORD....

  • by Samantha Wright ( 1324923 ) on Sunday May 22, 2011 @01:53PM (#36210192) Homepage Journal
    "Perpetual finance" is usually called "sustainable growth." (ba-dum, tish!)

    If only there had been a very large man with very big hands to stop capitalists from fucking up sustainability.
  • Re:Obviously... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HungryHobo ( 1314109 ) on Sunday May 22, 2011 @02:00PM (#36210244)

    It's a very very valid point about solar 45 degrees+ from the equator.

    Trying to run anything serious off batteries, flywheels or even pumped storage is barely sane overnight in places on the equator.

    Trying to do the same during winter far from the equator is even less sane.

    -Hydro is lovely but very limited unless you're in Brazil, the best sources are already being tapped already and it screws with the river ecosystem and makes vast tracts of land unusable.
    -Wind is nice but is very unreliable, 20% of your grid is somewhat of an upper limit if you want to keep the grid any way stable.
    -Solar is still a toy unless you talk to a solar panel salesman.
    -Geothermal is glorious if you happen to be in iceland.
    -Tidal is sorta ok until you get serious and then the greens hate it because it totally destroys coastal ecosystems.

    And then there's fossil fuels which are terrible on almost every front.

    finally there's nuclear which simply kills less people than getting your electricity from fossil fuels but the way it kills people- cancer happens to be how 25% of everyone dies anyway so if an accident happens which raises that to 25.001% then you get the blame for the other 25.000% and everyone will always have lots of people they knew who died of cancer and in their minds every single one of those deaths will be the fault of nuclear.

  • Re:Power (Score:1, Insightful)

    by mr exploiter ( 1452969 ) on Sunday May 22, 2011 @02:53PM (#36210618)

    "The Japan situation shows that nuclear power is safe" That's where I stopped reading.

  • Re:Power (Score:3, Insightful)

    by slyborg ( 524607 ) on Sunday May 22, 2011 @03:00PM (#36210686)

    "You keep using this word...I do not think it means what you think it means..."

  • by JaredOfEuropa ( 526365 ) on Sunday May 22, 2011 @04:03PM (#36211182) Journal
    Exactly. This is the worst case scenario, whether you are in favour of nuclear power or against it: stopping all design and development of modern and much safer and cleaner nuclear plants (sure, not 100% safe nor 100% clean), whilst keeping the existing nukes running well past their designed lifetime... because the clean power source that was to replace them hasn't magically appeared, surprise, surprise.

Our business in life is not to succeed but to continue to fail in high spirits. -- Robert Louis Stevenson