On 27 November 2016, Swiss will vote on whether to shut down their nuclear power stations when they reach 45 years of operation.
According to a recent survey by Tamedia, which owns the newspapers Tribune de Genève and 24 Heures, 55% of Swiss would like to see Switzerland’s nuclear plants shut down. The main reasons cited for moving towards a nuclear-free nation were, dangers associated with potential accidents and the challenges of dealing with radioactive waste.
Some of the 43% surveyed who were in favour of keeping nuclear plants running, argue that nuclear is a clean alternative to dirtier forms of energy and fear a premature departure from nuclear could force Switzerland to import coal. They also think that limiting the life of nuclear power stations makes no sense.
Nearly all of 19,793 people asked had made a decision. Only 2% were yet to decide.
There were no surprises from a political party perspective. 97% of Green Party members favoured an end to nuclear. Socialists (88%) and Liberal Greens (85%) were also heavily in favour. UDC/SVP (75% against) and PLR/FDP (65% against) voters were the most firmly against a nuclear exit.
Differences in survey results between linguistic regions were marked. 63% of French-speakers were in favour of exiting nuclear, while only 55% of German speakers and 51% of those in Italian-speaking Switzerland were.
This will not be the first time Swiss have voted on the nuclear question. Antinuclear initiatives in 1979, 1984, 1990 and 2003 were all rejected by voters. This November’s vote however, follows the 2011 Fukushima disaster.