Energy minister explains nuclear exit to G20

Swiss Energy Minister Doris Leuthard has defended in Paris the government’s intention to decommission all of Switzerland’s nuclear power plants by 2034.

This content was published on June 7, 2011 - 19:24 and agencies

Leuthard was speaking at a meeting of government ministers and officials from more than 30 nuclear energy-producing countries where calls were made for safety tests on all reactors, after the disaster at Japan's Fukushima plant sparked concern over standards.

She said countries should first ensure they were respecting existing international conventions and then submit to mandatory peer reviews.

"When you think my authorities are good enough and the peer reviews are welcome, why don't we accept that it is mandatory? Why don't we give transparency to our populations?" she asked.

Currently, there are no mandatory, international nuclear safety regulations, only recommendations from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) which national regulators are in charge of enforcing.

The meeting, co-hosted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), aimed to hammer out a common ground among major nuclear producing countries ahead of an IAEA ministerial meeting on June 20-24 in Vienna.

The Fukushima disaster has driven nuclear energy up the political agenda especially in Europe, where public concern over the dangers of reactors is surging.

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