Why Switzerland matters
Of course what we are hoping for is a domino effect. First Germany then Japan then Switzerland have announced they were halting new construction and some form of phase out (Switzerland is quite slow actually, 2034). Italy has halted plans for new reactors and a vote coming up in June may well keep them out of nuclear permanently.
And while Switzerland is small, barely 7 million people and half the size of Maine, it is especially important for one reason. Switzerland represents the most affluent industrial society in the world. I’ve been to 50 countries on every populated continent except Africa. It is the only country i have been in where it is common to run into motion sensor driven sinks and towel dispensers all working perfectly in train stations and airports. It is a tidy rich country, which with this announcement has every intention remaining very rich. This means they will take efficiency seriously, but they will be planing renewables dominated electricity generation system. And Switzerland has the green friendly dramatic landscape advantages to make this challenging endeavor a bit more accessible. Currently nearly 60% of Switzerlands power comes from over 1000 hydro electric plants in the Alps. The remaining 40% comes from 5 reactors.
“We want to send a clear signal to the business elite, the population and to investors,” Swiss Energy Minister Doris Leuthard said. “It won’t be easy, but we are convinced that this is the right step and that it will pay off in the long term.”
Next domino please.