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"Nuclear cent" could finance renewable energy

Nuclear power stations should help to finance renewable energy sources if they make greater profits than originally expected, the Swiss energy minister believes.

Moritz Leuenberger told the German-language SonntagsZeitung that since the regulation setting the lifetime of nuclear power stations at 40 years had been lifted, operators can keep them in service as long as they meet safety regulations.

Operators now believe stations could have a lifetime of up to 55 years.

Leuenberger called for a "nuclear cent" to be levied from the extra profit that they make as a result, and used to invest in renewable energies such as solar, geothermal or wind power.

Since it would come from extra profits there would be no impact on prices, and this would make more sense than returning it to consumers.

"Giving it back to consumers would not encourage people to save energy. The amount of energy wasted in private households is still huge," he said.

Switzerland currently has four nuclear power stations with five reactors. The oldest, in Beznau on the border with Germany, came into operation in 1969.

Three proposals for new nuclear power stations are under consideration.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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