Swiss to phase out nuclear power

People walk by the Beznau nuclear power plant, the oldest in Switzerland, during an anti-nuclear protest march on 22 May 22, in Doettingen Anti-nuclear activists demonstrated near the Beznau plant at the weekend

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The Swiss government has decided to phase out nuclear power, amid growing public hostility to the industry.

The government announced it would not replace the country's five ageing plants after they reached the end of their lifetimes between 2019 and 2034.

However, the authorities also said they would not decommission any prematurely.

Swiss activists rallied against nuclear power at the weekend. April's disaster at the Fukushima plant in Japan has sparked debate in several countries.

"Existing nuclear power plants will be closed at the end of their operative life and not replaced by new nuclear power plants," the government said in a statement on Thursday.

Switzerland currently gets about 40% of its energy from nuclear power.

The Beznau 1 pressurised water reactor is the oldest in the world still in operation. It came on stream more than 40 years ago, in 1969.

The other four Swiss reactors all date from 1984 or earlier.

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