‘Radioactivity found in Swiss lake’ near nuclear plant : http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/07/14/radioactivity-found-in-swiss-lake-near-nuclear-plant/#ixzz2Z9ZJtrGX July 14, 2013GENEVA (AFP) – Scientists have discovered a radioactive substance in sediment under a Swiss lake used for drinking water and situated near a nuclear plant, the Le Matin Dimanche weekly reported Sunday.
While scientists cited in the report stressed there was no danger to human health, the discovery raises concerns about safety practices and a lack of transparency at the Muehleberg nuclear plant in northwestern Switzerland.
The plant is believed to have caused a spike in cesium 137 found in the sediment of Lake Biel and dating back to 2000 through the discharge of contaminated waste water into the Aar river that feeds into the lake, about 20 kilometres (12 miles) downstream, the weekly reported.
Geologists from Geneva University happened upon the spike while working on an unrelated research project in 2010, and chemists in the northern canton of Basel recently verified the findings, it said.
The Muehleberg plant is permitted to discharge water with very low levels of radioactivity subject to strict controls several times a year, according to Le Matin Dimanche.
Politicians and environmentalists however expressed outrage Sunday that the plant and nuclear inspectors had provided no information about the higher levels of cesium 137 released more than a decade ago into a lake that provides 68 percent of the drinking water to the nearby town of Biel.
“No one ever told me that there were abnormally high concentrations in the lake,” Hans Stoekli, who served as Biel mayor from 1990 to 2010, told the paper, insisting that in light of the use of the lake for drinking water “the plant should have alerted us even in the case of minimal risk.”
Environmental group Greenpeace voiced dismay at the news, urging the public prosecutor in the canton of Bern, where Biel and the Muehleberg plant are located, to investigate.
The group, which has long called for the plant’s closure, also questioned in a statement how the Swiss Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate could have either missed the higher radioactive levels or decided not to inform decision makers or the public about them.
The Muehleberg plant, which came online in 1972, is 17 kilometres (11 miles) west of the Swiss capital Bern.
In the wake of the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan, the Swiss parliament approved a phase-out for the country’s five atomic power plants by 2034.
Swiss to vote on new proposal for phase out
18 January 2013
A Green-led initiative to phase out the use of nuclear energy in
Switzerland by 2029 has secured enough support for a national
referendum on the issue to be held. A date for the vote has yet to be
announced. Continue reading
Public set to vote on phasing out nuclear power, SwissInfo.ch, 16 Nov 12, Members of the Green Party deliver signatures for the initiative to phase out atomic energy (Keystone) The Green Party has collected 109,000 signatures in support of a people’s initiative that would require caps on the lifetimes of existing nuclear power plants in Switzerland and a ban on the construction of new ones. Continue reading
Gas to fill initial gap in Swiss nuclear exit
* Expects to build new gas plants to meet demand
* Switzerland unveils energy strategy to 2050
By Emma Farge GENEVA, Sept 28 (Reuters) - Switzerland would have to charge higher
end-user power prices and resort to new gas-fired plants to fill the supply gap created by its planned nuclear phase-out prompted by Japan’s Fukushima accident, the Swiss energy ministry said on Friday.
The country, which voted last May to phase out nuclear by 2034, on Friday unveiled an ambitious energy strategy intended as a road map for coping with the transition.
“It will be necessary to temporarily develop electricity from fossil fuels… until the energy needs can be completely covered by renewable energy,” the energy ministry said in a statement on Switzerland’s new strategy through to 2050….. The Swiss strategy, part of a public consultation, envisages a greater role for hydropower and renewables
as part of its new strategy. It includes targets for hydropower production of 37,400 GWH and renewable energy production of 11,940 GWH by 2035.
The strategy also includes several measures designed to accelerate the process of obtaining permits for renewable energy projects….
The Hippocratic Vigil For the independence of WHO http://independentwho.org/en/hippocratic-vigil/ «The World Health Organisation (WHO) is failing in its duty to protect those populations who are victims of radioactive contamination.» The aim of the silent vigil is to remind the World Health Organisation of its duties. It was Hippocrates who formulated the ethical rules for health practitioners. The World Health Organisation ignores these rules, when it comes to protecting the health of the victims of the consequences of the nuclear industry.
Since the 26th April 2007, the Hippocratic Vigil has been held in front of the WHO headquarters in Geneva. It has been maintained, each working day between 8am and 6pm, to remind this United Nations body of its duties as they are defined in its Constitution.
Placards display the messages that the Vigil seeks to convey to WHO
Up to now, 300 people have participated in the Vigil in front of the WHO headquarters. They come from several European countries, as well as some from America. About 40 of them are either Swiss or French living within a radius of about 50km from Geneva. These are the people who relieve others for lunch breaks or for “anti-freeze” breaks in the middle of winter. We are able to call upon a group of “stalwarts” in unforeseen circumstances, such as health problems, last-minutes cancellations.
The vigil is maintained by individuals on their own or in groups up to a maximum of three. People sign up for half a day, a full day, a few days or the whole week. Those who come to do the Vigil are offered accommodation by a network of “hosts” (numbering 20). The people taking part in the vigil have to pay for their travel to Geneva and for their food themselves.
The General Assembly of the Vigil, decided unanimously on february 2012 to continue the Vigil for an indeterminate period, and the matter will be discussed again at the next General Assembly on september 2012.
For additional information, or to sign up for the vigil, write to Paul Roullaud firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone him on +33 (0)240 87 60 47
SWITZERLAND LOOKING TO REPLACE NUCLEAR ENERGY WITH SOLAR REVMODO, DAVID QUILTY | 24 JULY, 2012 In 2011, the Swiss parliament decided not to build any more nuclear power plants after the Fukushima disaster in Japan. As nuclear currently supplies some 40 percent of the country’s energy needs, they are in search of ways to replace the energy source with cleaner alternatives. Solar is being debated as the front-runner to use as a replacement and plans are in the works to use the technology to replace at least one half the nuclear power used now. Representatives from the solar and the electricity industries are at odds as to whether it is viable, with solar industry insiders saying they can meet 20 percent of needs by 2025 and electric companies saying gas-fired plants are the way to go. However, the government doesn’t want to go with gas-fired plants as it won’t allow it to meet carbon emission reduction goals.
Also up for debate is whether solar power should be fully subsidized by the government in order to expedite installations or if electricity providers should play a wait and watch game to see if prices of photovoltaics come down anytime soon. Germany is heavily subsidizing renewables and have so far succeeded in setting a world record for solar power production, generating nearly 50 percent of the nation’s midday electricity demand in May. That’s the energy equivalent of 20 nuclear power plants operating at full capacity…… it is some very welcome news that Switzerland wants to replace nuclear energy with clean renewables.
Nuclear plants must resist extreme weather http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/swiss_news/Nuclear_plants_must_resist_extreme_weather.html?cid=33059156 Jul 6, 2012 Switzerland’s nuclear power plants have until the end of 2013 to demonstrate to the country’s safety watchdog that they are equipped to withstand weather conditions such as tornados, high winds, heavy snowfall and extreme temperatures. Continue reading
Mühleberg decision heartens foreign activists by Peter Siegenthaler and Samuel Jaberg, swissinfo.ch Mar 19, 2012 A ruling by the Swiss Administrative Court ordering the closure of the Mühleberg nuclear power station has galvanised anti-nuclear campaigners elsewhere in Europe too. If the plant, just outside Bern, really is closed down, this would step up pressure on old nuclear stations at home and abroad. Continue reading
Future of nuclear plant on shaky ground by Clare O’Dea, swissinfo.ch Mar 7, 2012 The Mühleberg atomic plant near Bern will lose its operating licence at the end of June 2013 on security grounds, the Federal Administrative Court has ruled…. In its judgment on Mühleberg, the court said various factors imposed a limit on the plant’s viability, including the condition of the reactor’s core shroud, which has fissures in it.
Other security questions cited were the inconclusive evaluations on security in the event of an earthquake and the absence of a cooling system independent of the Aare river…. The court’s decision has been hailed as a victory by anti-nuclear campaigners who swiftly called for the same action to be taken for Switzerland’s and the world’s oldest nuclear power plant Beznau.
Greenpeace called it “a stage victory for the safety of the Swiss population”, while the anti-nuclear organisation Swiss Energy Foundation (SES) said the verdict was a slap in the face for the federal authorities, whose work had clearly been called in
question…. the lawyer for the group that pursued the case against BKW – more than 100 local residents and an environmental group – said the decision spelled the end of Mühleberg. “I do not think that BKW is going to make such an investment within a year,” Rainer Weibel told Swiss television.
Shaky ground With the future of Mühleberg now on shaky ground, the focus will shift to the Beznau I plant in canton Aarau, commissioned in 1969.
Critics say safety issues prove Beznau’s time is up, claiming the emergency power supply is unreliable, the reactor cover has corrosion problems and the steel container has cracks….
Swiss court orders nuclear plant offline in 2013 By Katharina BartMar 7, 2012 ZURICH, March 7 (Reuters) – A Swiss court ruled that Switzerland’s Muehleberg nuclear power plant must go offline next year for security reasons, according to a judgment made public on Wednesday.
“The state of the nuclear shell, the assessment of the plant’s resistance to withstand earthquakes which is not complete, and lacking cooling possibilities independent of the river Aare allow operations of Muehleberg only up to mid 2013 at the most,” the federal
administrative court said in a ruling handed down March 1.
The ruling backs residents near to the plan in their bid to have the court overturn a previous decision by environment, transport energy and communication department UVEK to grant a longer operational period…
.. Muehleberg, built in 1972, is one of the plants frequently cited by opponents of nuclear energy as ripe for mothballing. The government decided to scrap plans to build new nuclear reactors after Fukushima shook public confidence in the industry. Until now, it had not planned to shut existing power plants prematurely…. http://af.reuters.com/article/commoditiesNews/idAFL5E8E771P20120307
Swiss environmental groups want Beznau nuclear plant shut Google News, (AFP) – 24 Feb 12 GENEVA — Switzerland’s Beznau nuclear plant will soon boast the “dubious record” of being the oldest nuclear plant in the world and should be shut down, a group of environmental organisations said Thursday.
The 15 organisations which include WWF Switzerland, Greenpeace, Fokus Anti-Atom and various chapters of the Green Party, noted that Oldbury in England, inaugurated in 1967, will shut down next week. They said Beznau should also be shut down.
“Many security problems show that Beznau has run its course,” said the organizations in a joint statement about the nuclear plant that began operating in 1969.
They said there are cracks in the mantle of the reactor and in the steel containment shell, something strongly denied by Axpo, the energy company that operates Beznau. “As a precaution the lid of the reactor is to be changed, but there is no crack,” said an Axpo spokeswoman.
Beznau is scheduled for decommissioning in 2019 after 50 years of operation. Last September, the Swiss Parliament approved a nuclear phase-out for the country’s five nuclear reactors, due to be decommissioned by 2034.
Swiss nuclear plants need more safety reviews FRANKFURT, Jan 10 (Reuters) by Vera Eckert, – Switzerland’s safety precautions for its nuclear reactors must be further reviewed and more proof that they can withstand major earthquakes must be filed by the end of March, its nuclear safety authority ENSI said on Tuesday.
The assessment was made in the context of stress tests which the country demanded last June in line with the European Union following the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan last year.
Switzerland was among seven EU neighbours that agreed to follow the bloc’s lead by imposing new safety checks. “These safety measures will be based on toughter risk assumptions than
assumed in EU stress tests,” the authority said in a statement on its website. “ENSI will assess the plants’ assurances. Results are due by end-June.”
Should they be viewed as insufficient to offer protection against natural disasters, in particular the combination of earthquakes and failure of dams near power stations, ENSI could in theory require plants to stop production, it said…..
“This deal has been done to keep the CIA link out of court,”
Nuclear smugglers who aided AQ Khan face trial in Switzerland, The Guardian UK, Julian Borger,13 Dec 11 Friedrich, Urs and Marco Tinner to stand trial but their claims of CIA involvement will not be examined in plea-bargain deal. Switzerland has charged three members of the same family for their role in the Abdul Qadeer Khan nuclear smuggling network after a plea deal which will mean that their claims of collaboration with the CIA
will not be examined in court. Continue reading
3 Swiss to avoid trial in politically sensitive nuclear smuggling case, Washington Post, By Associated Press, November 13 BERN, Switzerland — Swiss prosecutors will opt to avoid a public trial for three Swiss men suspected of giving nuclear weapons technology and supplies to a rogue network in Pakistan, a newspaper reported Sunday.
The case is politically sensitive for Switzerland and the United States because of alleged national security implications, the men’s alleged CIA ties, and repeated instances of evidence being destroyed.It involves charges of violating Swiss nonproliferation laws. Continue reading
Environmental group Green Cross International’s president Mikhail Gorbachev meanwhile welcomed Switzerland’s decision.
“I applaud Switzerland for taking this brave step towards ending its reliance on nuclear energy,” he said in a statement.
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