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Launching an initiative


The rocky road to changing the law





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Franziska Herren and Walter Kummer talk about why they launched an initiative to close the Mühleberg nuclear power station in canton Bern with immediate effect, and the hurdles they faced in collecting the signatures necessary to force a vote on the issue. (Julie Hunt, swissinfo.ch)

Even though the BKW power company has decided to close the plant by 2019, it’s not early enough for the campaigners.

The initiative was launched in the wake of the Fukushima disaster in March 2011, after which the government decided to decommission all of Switzerland’s nuclear power plants starting in 2019 and ending by 2034.

In March 2012, the Federal Administrative Court ordered the closure of Mühleberg by June 2013 for safety reasons unless the operators, BKW, could show they were prepared to invest massively in maintenance and repair.

In March 2013, the Federal Court upheld a complaint by BKW, overturning the Federal Administrative Court decision. As a result, BKW had to implement a set of safety measures demanded by the authorities based on a strict timetable.

In October 2013, BKW announced it would take its Mühleberg nuclear power station off the grid in 2019. The plant is frequently cited by opponents of nuclear energy as ready for closure.