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Europe

Letter bomb explodes at Swiss nuclear group

A letter bomb sent to the offices of the Swiss nuclear energy association exploded on Thursday, injuring two employees. The two women were treated for superficial burns and hearing damage.

A nuclear power plant in the Siwss canton of Beznau

The Swiss are also facing difficult decisions on nuclear power since Fukushima

Police in the northern Swiss city of Olten cordoned off the offices of Swissnuclear, an industry lobby group, after a female employee opened the letter shortly after arriving at work.

The woman suffered minor burns on her arm as well as hearing damage as a result of the blast and a colleague next to her was said also to have hearing damage.

A police spokesman said forensic specialists were at the scene, but it was not yet known who had sent the parcel bomb. No group or persons have claimed responsibility for the attack.

Swissnuclear represents the five Swiss utilities, which operate the country's nuclear power plants.

Green groups deny any responsibility

Thursday's incident occurred as around 30 Greenpeace activists had gathered for an anti-nuclear protest a few hundred meters away outside the headquarters of the Swiss energy company, Alpiq.

The group immediately suspended its demonstration following the blast and denied any involvement with, or prior knowledge of, the letter bomb attack.

“We distance ourselves with the greatest firmness from this explosion. Greenpeace has nothing to do with this attack,” said Florian Kasser, the head of the Greenpeace energy campaign in Switzerland.

Earlier this month, the Swiss government suspended the approval process for three new nuclear power stations to review safety standards in the wake of the Fukushima disaster in Japan. The country's center-left Social Democrats and the Green party have called on the government to abandon nuclear energy altogether.

Author: Gregg Benzow (AFP, AP, Reuters)

Editor: Susan Houlton

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