A plan backed by the Green party proposed to close three of Switzerland’s five nuclear plants next year.

World Nuclear Association Director General Agneta Rising said: “The Swiss people have chosen to use their existing nuclear energy assets more wisely and to preserve their wonderful clean electricity system.

“Relying on a balanced mix of hydro power and nuclear, their energy mix is one of the cleanest in the world and it provides a successful model for other countries that are seeking to decarbonise.” 

Following the referendum outcome, Swiss nuclear plants should operate for about 60 years, with the first unit closing sometime in the 2030s, the nuclear organization said.

Rising said: “The Swiss nuclear vote is as clear an example of energy democracy as one could ask for. It sends a message to the world that they do now want to follow their German neighbour’s floundering energiewende example.”

Currently, the five nuclear facilities account for nearly 40% of electricity generated in the country, BBC reported.

Following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident in Japan, the Swiss government announced plans to meet the country’s power needs from renewable energy sources by 2050.

World Nuclear Association said in a statement: “Swiss policy makers should now use the available time to remove the construction ban and put in place measures that will enable nuclear energy to keep playing a vital supportive role in the country’s low-carbon mix over the long term.”

Image: The Beznau Nuclear Power Plant with the hydroelectric power plant in the background. Photo courtesy of Roland Zumbühl, Arlesheim/Wikipedia.