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Swiss nuclear plant to close by 2013

March 8, 2012 at 1:24 PM

ZURICH, Switzerland, March 8 (UPI) -- One of Switzerland's nuclear plants must shut down by June 2013 because of safety issues, the Swiss Federal Administrative Court said.

The Muhleberg plant near Bern, built in 1972, is one of five nuclear facilities in Switzerland and provides 5 percent of the country's energy needs. It will be phased out because a three-month shutdown in 2011 revealed cracks in the reactor's core shroud, as well as other issues, the Swissinfo news service reported Thursday.

The ruling of the court, made March 1 but released Wednesday, also mentioned security concerns that include the inconclusive evaluation of the Muhleberg plant's vulnerability to earthquakes and its reliance on the nearby Aare River for cooling.

In light of the country's heavy reliance on nuclear power and the government's re-evaluation of its energy policy following the March 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan, Switzerland has pledged to abandon nuclear power as an energy source by 2034, Swissinfo said.

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