Ministry appeals nuclear plant ruling

The energy and environment ministry, which licenses Mühleberg nuclear plant, is to appeal against a Federal Administrative Court decision to close the plant next year.

This content was published on March 21, 2012 - 21:07

The move follows last week’s announcement by the Bern plant’s operator BKW Energy that it intended to appeal the ruling “to obtain the legal certainty required for a decision on investments”.

On Wednesday, the ministry said the judgment had called into question the delineation of roles and responsibilities between itself and the Swiss Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate, despite the fact that the two “administer their tasks independently of each other and ensure a strict separation of their competences”.

“The swift and definitive resolution of these questions is in the interests of Swiss energy policy and the public,” the ministry statement said.

The 1972 Mühleberg plant, one of five in Switzerland, supplies five per cent of the country’s energy needs.  

The court said on March 7 its licence should be taken away in June 2013 on safety grounds, after local opponents had lodged a complaint about the indefinite extension of the licence granted by the environment ministry at the end of 2009.

Switzerland’s heavy reliance on nuclear energy came under intense pressure in the wake of Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster a year ago, with the government ultimately pledging to abandon nuclear power by 2034.

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