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Revised bill Extra CHF1bn needed to decommission Swiss nuclear plants

A worker observes a cooling unit inside a power plant
(Keystone)

Decommissioning Switzerland’s five nuclear power stations and dealing with radioactive waste will cost CHF1.1 billion ($1.15 billion) more than previously estimated. The total bill is now expected to reach CHF24.6 billion, the environment ministry said on Thursday.

In 2011, Switzerland decided to phase out nuclear power, which supplies on average 35% of the country’s electricity production, following the Fukushima disaster in Japan.

+ Read more on Switzerland’s nuclear power policy

While no exact timetable has been set for all five plants to be taken out of service, the government has worked out the cost of the operation. Some CHF3.8 billion has been earmarked to break down the facilities and a further CHF20.8 billion is needed to dispose of radioactive waste safely.

Previous estimates had put total costs at CHF23.5 billion, but this had included potential savings from cantons joining forces to dispose of waste and a resultant expectation that compensation costs would be reduced. These savings have been stripped out of the revised budget as no concrete plans have been laid down as to how to achieve this.

The bill will be met from two separate funds – one for decommissioning facilities and the other to cover waste disposal – consisting of contributions from nuclear plant operators.

In May 2017, Swiss voters endorsed a new energy law that aims to promote renewable energy by banning new nuclear power plants and reducing energy consumption.

swissinfo.ch/mga

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