Nuclear power plants generate high marks
Switzerland's nuclear power plants are operating safely and securely with radiation levels in surrounding areas well below acceptable limits, federal inspectors said.
The country's five power plants all received "good" or "high" marks for operations in 2008, the two best ratings that the Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate can award.
A plant in Leibstadt, canton Aargau, was upgraded from a 2007 rating of "sufficient" to "good" thanks to substantial improvements, said the inspectorate's Peter Flury at a news conference in Bern.
The nuclear facility in Mühleberg, canton Bern, received the best marks for security. Another Aargau plant, Beznau, also received a good report despite being the oldest of the country's nuclear stations.
Opened in 1969, the Beznau facility has undergone numerous upgrades. Ulrich Schmocker, director of the inspectorate, said from a security standpoint that it is safer than when it first opened.
Power companies like Axpo and BKW FMB Energy have requested they be allowed to build new nuclear facilities to help meet the growing demand for electricity.
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