Switzerland’s Muehleberg nuclear plant will close in 2019.
Switzerland: Nuclear Plant to Close in 2019
In a global response following the Fukushima, Japan nuclear meltdown disaster, Switzerland was one of the nations that took action seeking to exit nuclear power and approved a phase-out for the country’s atomic power plants by 2034 (Globalenergyworld.com). The state-controlled energy company BKW has said it will continue operating its Muehleberg nuclear plant until 2019, “in compliance with all safety requirements, following which the plant will be taken off the grid.”
As far as geothermal’s role in the Swiss energy future, GEA’s September 2013 international project list shows three geothermal projects at early stages of development in the country (Geo-energy.org, PDF): an EGS project in Eclepens area, a CH Unproduced project in Lavey-les Bains area, and an EGS project at St. Gallen.
Since the nuclear disaster in Japan, “Fukushima” has become almost a code word for the impossibility of being perfectly safe from radioactivity and the ensuing move away from nuclear as an energy resource. A recent GEA press release on international markets states, “the Japanese people and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) are looking for clean and disaster-free alternatives to nuclear energy and are deregulating many previous burdensome barriers to geothermal development. Officials are looking to shorten lead time for development, a significant step to accelerated geothermal development” (Geo-energy.org).
Germany is another European country that responded to the disaster, by vowing to phase out nuclear power by 2022. An article on Huffington Post discusses this move away from nuclear within the U.S. As many in the geothermal industry are aware, Southern California Edison’s Units 2 and 3 at San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station were permanently retired this year. In August, Entergy Corporation announced plans to decommission its Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station. Dominion Nuclear’s 556-MW Kewaunee Power Station in Wisconsin has ceased operation, and Duke Energy abandoned a nuclear project in Florida.