World-wide, the use of nuclear energy, including new investment, is falling back. The Italians already made the decision in 1987 following the Chernobyl crisis to close nuclear power stations. In Germany, eight stations have been shut since 2011 leaving nine others to continue producing 16 percent of the country’s needs. Over the next decade, Berlin hopes to change over as much as possible to renewable sources, notably wind and solar energy, which currently constitute one quarter of needs. The European Union’s own goal over the next 15 years is to have 45 percent based on renewable energy sources.
While the United States, France, Russia, South Korea and China, which represent 70 percent of world production, are still focusing on nuclear power for a major part of their energy needs, Switzerland is taking further steps to phase it out. This is based on a 2011 federal government decision in the wake of the Fukushima incident. Four plants but five reactors are still on stream representing 36 percent of the country’s production. One these, Mühleberg, is scheduled for closure in 2019. A decision on Beznau in north-western Switzerland, which houses the world’s oldest commercial reactor, is expected to be taken soon.