Switzerland's Nuclear Waste Could Fill Zurich Train Station

Switzerland's nuclear waste problem | © rabedirkwennigsen / Pixabay
Switzerland's nuclear waste problem | © rabedirkwennigsen / Pixabay
Photo of Sean Mowbray
6 February 2018
View

Next time you complain about having to take your rubbish out, spare a thought for the Swiss government. For the past seven years, they’ve been puzzling over what to do with 100,000 cubic metres of radioactive waste. That’s enough to fill Zürich’s Hauptbahnhof station’s main hall.

Last year, Switzerland voted to phase out its use of nuclear energy, which provides about one-third of the country’s power, in favour of greener energy. However, a date for the phase-out has yet to be set. But when the doors on its five remaining power plants do finally close, the job will still not be complete, as mountains of nuclear waste will need to be moved out of harm’s way.

Zurich’s central station | © Daniel Lobo / Flickr

To decide on what to do with all the waste that’s set to come their way, the government has been carrying out consultations for the past seven years, and hopes to have settled on its choice of potential dump sites by early 2018. You can check out the areas under consideration here.

After a lengthy process, they might start building these “deep geological repositories”, which are basically really deep holes in the ground, around 2045. But this isn’t certain, as the government’s decision may be blocked by either parliament or a public referendum, as RTS explains.

The government is already putting in motion a plan to deal with light radioactive waste by treating it at specialised treatment centres.

For now, the remaining nuclear waste is being held in two temporary sites and in the power plants themselves. The most toxic stuff will remain deadly for around one million years, so we can safely say the Swiss have time on their hands to make their decision.

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel – and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Epic Trips, Mini Trips and Sailing Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travellers and friends who want to explore the world together.

Epic Trips are deeply immersive 8 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and enough down time to really relax and soak it all in. Our Mini Trips are small and mighty - they squeeze all the excitement and authenticity of our longer Epic Trips into a manageable 3-5 day window. Our Sailing Trips invite you to spend a week experiencing the best of the sea and land in the Caribbean and the Mediterranean.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm – and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Cookies Policy

We and our partners use cookies to better understand your needs, improve performance and provide you with personalised content and advertisements. To allow us to provide a better and more tailored experience please click "OK"