ZURICH Oct 12 Swiss utilities Axpo,
Alpiq and BKW have withdrawn their joint
request to build nuclear plants, bowing to the Swiss decision to
phase out nuclear power after the Fukushima disaster in Japan.
The three companies said on Wednesday they had asked the
government to cancel the framework request submitted in 2008
that was suspended in 2011 following the disaster.
"Today the market is a very different one and in the
meantime policymakers have set the course for a future without
nuclear power," they said in a joint statement.
While the government aims to phase out nuclear energy
eventually, it said on Tuesday it opposed an initiative to be
voted on next month that would shutter three nuclear plants next
A hasty shutdown would leave energy security in tatters,
boost dependence on German coal-fired power and expose taxpayers
to utilities' demands for remuneration, the government said.
Its "Energy Strategy 2050" programme bans new nuclear
stations while supporting renewable energy sources measures to
reduce energy consumption.
That programme is under threat, however, with the Swiss
People's Party, parliament's most powerful, pushing a referendum
via the Swiss system of direct democracy to dump it.
(Reporting by Michael Shields; editing by David Clarke)