Muehleberg nuclear plant to remain open past June

Reactions stream in, as supreme court overturns high court order

Muehleberg peaceful anti-nuclear protest, ©2011 Herbi Ditl on flickr

Muehleberg peaceful anti-nuclear protest in 2011 (photo, ©2011 Herbi Ditl on flickr)

LAUSANNE, SWITZERLAND – The Swiss supreme court, the Tribunal Federal in Lausanne, ruled Thursday 28 March that the nuclear power station in Muehleberg, canton Bern, can continue to operate after June 2013.

The federal administrative court, one of the country’s high courts, had ruled a year earlier that the plant should close, for safety reasons, but the federal Department of Energy said it would appeal because its studies showed that a “premarture” closing of the plant was not necessary.

The Tribunal Federal in its decision says that zero-risk is not necessary.

The decision has prompted a flood of reactions, reports public broadcasting RTS, with Greenpeace and other anti-nuclear groups expressing their concern. Muehleberg has been a target for them for years and the fight to close it was stepped up after the Fukushima accident in Japan in 2012.

The judicial decision is  not stopping a group of canton Bern citizens, who are bringing the issue of closing the centre to the ballot box in 2014.

The plant would normally close in 2022, according to its operators, BKW, the Bernese electric company, when its license runs out. Swiss citizens have voted against nuclear power, and the government plans to phase out the country’s five plants gradually, as each license runs out.