Authorities won’t close down atomic plant

The environment ministry says that it sees no reason to remove the operating licence from the Mühleberg atomic plant near Bern.

This content was published on October 5, 2011 - 08:47 and agencies

The ministry was reacting to two applications from Mühleberg residents concerning the power station – one of the oldest in Switzerland – which has recently been subject to safety checks.

At the end of 2009 – well before the Fukushima nuclear accident of earlier this year – the ministry granted an unlimited licence for the plant to the operator BKW Energy, a move contested by around 100 Mühleberg residents and an environment group in their application.

The ministry said that the Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate was responsible for checking the safety of the plant and that it believed this was being carried out satisfactorily. Therefore it had decided not to re-examine the granting of the licence.

The second motion concerned upgrading measures to the plant, which the ministry said was under the jurisdiction of the Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate and did not need authorisation from the environment ministry.

In September the Mühleberg power station was restarted after three months of annual checks and safety improvements.

It is one of Switzerland’s five nuclear power reactors which will be decommissioned by 2034, as the government has decided to opt out of atomic energy.

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