Residents of the Swiss canton of Bern have expressed their support for the construction of a new nuclear power plant at Muehleberg in a local referendum, but Nidwalden residents registered their opposition to a nuclear waste repository.
According to World Nuclear News, just over 51 per cent (188 193) of the voters in the Bern cantonal referendum voted in support of construction of a new reactor to replace the existing 372 MW boiling water reactor at the Muehleberg site, which has been in operation since 1971 and is expected to close in 2022.
Just over half of those eligible to vote took part in the referendum.
The Axpo Group and BKW FMB Energie filed framework permit applications for new nuclear units at Beznau and Muehleberg in December 2008, and late in 2010 Axpo, BKW and Alpiq formally joined forces to work together on projects to develop new nuclear reactors in Switzerland.
BKW welcomed the news of the vote. In a press release, the operator of the current Muehleberg plant said voters had "sent out a signal," and added that the result had "strengthened BKW's resolve to further pursue the project in contact and dialogue with the community of Muehleberg and neighbouring communities as well as other interest groups."
Meanwhile, over three-quarters of the voters in a cantonal referendum in Nidwalden opposed the location of an underground repository for Swiss nuclear waste at Wellenberg. Nearly 80 per cent of the turnout (11 602 voters) opposed the proposals, with 20 per cent (2948 voters) in favour.
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