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Country-wide nuclear shutdown due to repairs

The Gösgen power plant in canton Solothurn is temporarily out of action Keystone/Alessandro Della Bella

Switzerland is currently without any nuclear power, as all of the country’s reactors are temporarily offline for different reasons.

This content was published on August 17, 2015 - 10:06
swissinfo.ch and agencies

On Sunday night the Gösgen nuclear power plant was taken out of service to investigate and repair a steam leak in a non-nuclear turbine loop. In order to carry out the repairs the company said the plant component had to be disconnected and cooled. After repairs have been made and the parts fully checked over it will return to service.

There is said to be no risk to the environment, and the Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate, ENSI, was informed about the temporary withdrawal from service. Approximately 40% of Switzerland's energy comes from nuclear power.

Since Friday block 2 at the nuclear power plant Beznau in canton Aargau has also been offline. It’ll be out of service for four months while maintenance is carried out. Among the planned tasks is the replacement of the reactor pressure vessel cover. Block 1 at the plant has been out of service since March due to irregularities in the pressure vessel. Weak spots were found in the 15cm steel covering of the vessel.

ENSI is currently expecting a progress report from the plant’s owner, Axpo, and service will only be allowed to resume when safety and security at the plant can be guaranteed. Beznau is the oldest active commercial nuclear power plant in the world. It went online officially in September 1969.

Nuclear power plants in Leibstadt and Mühleberg are also currently not producing any energy due to annual maintenance service.

In 2011 Parliament agreed to bring an end to nuclear energy production in Switzerland, but political discussions about exactly when this will occur are still ongoing.

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