Federal Council (Switzerland)
The Federal Council is the seven-member executive council that constitutes the federal government of the Swiss Confederation and serves as the collective head of state and of government of Switzerland. While the entire council is responsible for leading the federal administration of Switzerland, each Councillor heads one of the seven federal executive departments; the position of Federal President rotates among the seven Councillors on a yearly basis, with one year's Vice President becoming the next year's President. Ueli Maurer is the incumbent president of the council since 1 January 2019; the current members of the Federal Council are, in order of seniority: The Federal Council was instituted by the 1848 Federal Constitution as the "supreme executive and directorial authority of the Confederation". When the Constitution was written, constitutional democracy was still in its infancy, the founding fathers of Switzerland had little in the way of examples. While they drew on the U. S. Constitution for the organisation of the federal state as a whole, they opted for the collegial rather than the presidential system for the executive branch of government.
This accommodated the long tradition of the rule of collective bodies in Switzerland. Under the Ancien Régime, the cantons of the Old Swiss Confederacy had been governed by councils of pre-eminent citizens since time immemorial, the Helvetic Republic as well as the cantons that had given themselves liberal constitutions since the 1830s had had good experiences with that mode of governance. Today, only three other states and Herzegovina, Andorra and San Marino, have collective rather than unitary heads of state; however the collegial system of government has found widespread adoption in modern democracies in the form of cabinet government with collective responsibility. The 1848 constitutional provision providing for the Federal Council – and indeed the institution of the Council itself – has remained unchanged to this day though Swiss society has changed profoundly since; the 1848 Constitution was one of the few successes of the Europe-wide democratic revolutions of 1848. In Switzerland, the democratic movement was led – and the new federal state decisively shaped – by the Radicals.
After winning the Sonderbund War against the Catholic cantons, the Radicals at first used their majority in the Federal Assembly to fill all the seats on the Federal Council. This made the Catholic-Conservatives, the opposition party. Only after Emil Welti's resignation in 1891 after a failed referendum on railway nationalisation did the Radicals decide to co-opt the Conservatives by supporting the election of Josef Zemp; the process of involving all major political movements of Switzerland into the responsibility of government continued during the first half of the 20th century. It was hastened by the FDP's and CVP's diminishing voter shares, complemented by the rise of new parties of lesser power at the ends of the political spectrum; these were the Social Democratic Party on the Left and the Party of Farmers and Independents on the Right. In due course, the CVP received its second seat in 1919 with Jean-Marie Musy, while the BGB joined the Council in 1929 with Rudolf Minger. In 1943, during World War II, the Social Democrats were temporarily included with Ernst Nobs.
The 1959 elections, following the resignation of four Councillors established the Zauberformel, the "magical formula" that determined the Council's composition during the rest of the 20th century and established the long-standing nature of the Council as a permanent, voluntary grand coalition. In approximate relation to the parties' respective strength in the Federal Assembly, the seats were distributed as follows: Free Democratic Party: 2 members, Christian Democratic People's Party: 2 members, Social Democratic Party: 2 members, Swiss People's Party: 1 member. During that time, the FDP and CVP slowly but kept losing voter share to the SVP and SP which overtook the older parties in popularity during the 1990s; the governmental balance was changed after the 2003 elections, when the SVP was granted a Council seat for their leader Christoph Blocher that had belonged to the CVP's Ruth Metzler. Due to controversies surrounding his conduct in office, a narrow Assembly majority did not reelect Blocher in 2007 and chose instead Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, a more moderate SVP politician, against party policy.
This led to a split of the SVP in 2008. After liberal regional SVP groups including Federal Councillors Widmer-Schlumpf and Samuel Schmid founded a new Conservative Democratic Party, the SVP was left in opposition for the first time since 1929, but returned into the Council with the election of Ueli Maurer on 10 December 2008, who regained the seat held by Schmid, who had resigned; the SVP regained its second seat on the Council in 2015, when Widmer-Schlumpf decided to resign after the SVP's large election gains in the 2015 election, being replaced by Guy Parmelin. Women gained suffrage on the federal level in 1971, they remained unrepresented in the Federal Council for three further legislatures, until the 1984 election of Elisabeth Kopp. In 1983, the failed election of the first official female candidate, Lilian Uchtenhagen and again in 1993 the failed election of Christiane Brunner, was controversial and the Social Democrats each time considered withdrawing from the Council altogether. There were two female Councillors serving for the first time in 2006, three out of seve
The franc is the currency and legal tender of Switzerland and Liechtenstein. The Swiss National Bank issues banknotes and the federal mint Swissmint issues coins; the smaller denomination, a hundredth of a franc, is a Rappen in German, centime in French, centesimo in Italian, rap in Romansh. The ISO code of the currency used by banks and financial institutions is CHF, although Fr. is widely used by businesses and advertisers. The Latinate "CH" stands for Confoederatio Helvetica. Given the different languages used in Switzerland, Latin is used for language-neutral inscriptions on its coins. Before 1798, about 75 entities were making coins in Switzerland, including the 25 cantons and half-cantons, 16 cities, abbeys, resulting in about 860 different coins in circulation, with different values and monetary systems; the local Swiss currencies included the Basel thaler, Berne thaler, Fribourg gulden, Geneva thaler, Geneva genevoise, Luzern gulden, Neuchâtel gulden, St. Gallen thaler, Schwyz gulden, Solothurn thaler, Valais thaler, Zürich thaler.
In 1798, the Helvetic Republic introduced the franc, a currency based on the Berne thaler, subdivided into 10 batzen or 100 centimes. The Swiss franc was equal to 6 3⁄4 grams of 1 1⁄2 French francs; this franc was issued until the end of the Helvetic Republic in 1803, but served as the model for the currencies of several cantons in the Mediation period. These 19 cantonal currencies were the Appenzell frank, Argovia frank, Basel frank, Berne frank, Fribourg frank, Geneva franc, Glarus frank, Graubünden frank, Luzern frank, St. Gallen frank, Schaffhausen frank, Schwyz frank, Solothurn frank, Thurgau frank, Ticino franco, Unterwalden frank, Uri frank, Vaud franc, Zürich frank. After 1815, the restored Swiss Confederacy attempted to simplify the system of currencies once again; as of 1820, a total of 8,000 distinct coins were current in Switzerland: those issued by cantons, cities and principalities or lordships, mixed with surviving coins of the Helvetic Republic and the pre-1798 Helvetic Republic.
In 1825, the cantons of Berne, Fribourg, Solothurn and Vaud formed a monetary concordate, issuing standardised coins, the so-called Konkordanzbatzen, still carrying the coat of arms of the issuing canton, but interchangeable and identical in value. The reverse side of the coin displayed a Swiss cross with the letter C in the center. Although 22 cantons and half-cantons issued coins between 1803 and 1850, less than 15% of the money in circulation in Switzerland in 1850 was locally produced, with the rest being foreign brought back by mercenaries. In addition, some private banks started issuing the first banknotes, so that in total, at least 8000 different coins and notes were in circulation at that time, making the monetary system complicated. To solve this problem, the new Swiss Federal Constitution of 1848 specified that the federal government would be the only entity allowed to issue money in Switzerland; this was followed two years by the first Federal Coinage Act, passed by the Federal Assembly on 7 May 1850, which introduced the franc as the monetary unit of Switzerland.
The franc was introduced at par with the French franc. It replaced the different currencies of the Swiss cantons, some of, using a franc, worth 1.5 French francs. In 1865, Belgium and Switzerland formed the Latin Monetary Union, in which they agreed to value their national currencies to a standard of 4.5 grams of silver or 0.290322 grams of gold. After the monetary union faded away in the 1920s and ended in 1927, the Swiss franc remained on that standard until 1936, when it suffered its sole devaluation, on 27 September during the Great Depression; the currency was devalued by 30% following the devaluations of the British pound, U. S. dollar and French franc. In 1945, Switzerland joined the Bretton Woods system and pegged the franc to the US dollar at a rate of $1 = 4.30521 francs. This was changed to $1 = 4.375 francs in 1949. The Swiss franc has been considered a safe-haven currency, with a legal requirement that a minimum of 40% be backed by gold reserves. However, this link to gold, which dated from the 1920s, was terminated on 1 May 2000 following a referendum.
By March 2005, following a gold-selling program, the Swiss National Bank held 1,290 tonnes of gold in reserves, which equated to 20% of its assets. In November 2014, the referendum on the "Swiss Gold Initiative" which proposed a restoration of 20% gold backing for the Swiss franc, was voted down. In March 2011, the franc climbed past the US$1.10 mark. In June 2011, the franc climbed past US$1.20 as investors sought safety as the Greek sovereign debt crisis continued. Continuation of the same crisis in Europe and the debt crisis in the US propelled the Swiss franc past US$1.30 as of August 2011, prompting the Swiss National Bank to boost the franc's liquidity to try to counter its "massive overvaluation". The Economist argued that its Big Mac Index in July 2011 indicated an overvaluation of 98% over the dollar, cited Swiss companies releasing profit warnings and threatening to move operations out of the country due to the strength of the franc. Demand for francs and franc-denominated assets was so strong that nominal short-term Swiss interest rates became negative.
On 6 September 2011, when the ex
Nuclear power in Germany
Nuclear power in Germany accounted for 11.63% of electricity supply in 2017 compared to 22.4% in 2010. German nuclear power began with research reactors in the 1950s and 1960s with the first commercial plant coming online in 1969; as of 2017, the share of nuclear power in the electricity sector in the country is decreasing following the decision of a complete nuclear phase-out by the next decade. Nuclear power has been a topical political issue in recent decades, with continuing debates about when the technology should be phased out; the anti-nuclear movement in Germany has a long history dating back to the early 1970s, when large demonstrations prevented the construction of a nuclear plant at Wyhl. The topic received renewed attention at the start of 2007 due to the political impact of the Russia-Belarus energy dispute and in 2011 after the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan. Within days of the March 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, large anti-nuclear protests occurred in Germany. Protests continued and, on 29 May 2011, Merkel's government announced that it would close all of its nuclear power plants by 2022.
Eight of the seventeen operating reactors in Germany were permanently shut down following Fukushima. Chancellor Angela Merkel said the nuclear power phase-out scheduled to go offline as late as 2036, would give Germany a competitive advantage in the renewable energy era, stating, "As the first big industrialized nation, we can achieve such a transformation toward efficient and renewable energies, with all the opportunities that brings for exports, developing new technologies and jobs". Merkel pointed to Japan's "helplessness"—despite being an industrialized, technologically advanced nation—in the face of its nuclear disaster. German engineering-industry giant Siemens announced a complete withdrawal from the nuclear industry in 2011, as a response to the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Remaining nuclear operating companies in Germany are E. ON, Vattenfall, RWE, EnBW. German publications of the 1950s and 1960s contained criticism of some features of nuclear power including its safety. Nuclear waste disposal was recognized as a major problem, with concern publicly expressed as early as 1954.
In 1964, one author went so far as to state "that the dangers and costs of the necessary final disposal of nuclear waste could make it necessary to forego the development of nuclear energy". As in many industrialised countries, nuclear power in Germany was first developed in the late 1950s. Only a few experimental reactors went online before 1960, an experimental nuclear power station in Kahl am Main opened in 1960. All of the German nuclear power plants that opened between 1960 and 1970 had - like otherways in the whole world - a power output of less than 1,000 MW and have now all closed down; the first fully commercial nuclear power plant started operating in 1969: Obrigheim operated until 2005, where it was shutdown by phaseout decision of the government. The first station with a power output of more than 1000 MW each were the two units of Biblis Nuclear Power Plant in 1974 and 1976. A closed nuclear fuel cycle was planned, starting with mining operations in the Saarland and the Schwarzwald.
The radioactive waste was intended to be stored in a deep geological repository, as part of the Gorleben long-term storage project. Today, there is a "ergebnisoffener" searching process over the whole country for the storage of the irradiated nuclear fuel. In the early 1960s there was a proposal to build a nuclear power station in West Berlin, but the project was dropped in 1962. Another attempt to site a reactor in a major city was made in 1967, when BASF planned to build a nuclear power station on its ground at Ludwigshafen, to supply process steam; the project was withdrawn by BASF. In the early 1970s, large public demonstrations prevented the construction of a nuclear plant at Wyhl; the Wyhl protests were an example of a local community challenging the nuclear industry through a strategy of direct action and civil disobedience. Police were accused of using unnecessarily violent means. Anti-nuclear success at Wyhl inspired nuclear opposition throughout elsewhere; the Rheinsberg Nuclear Power Plant was the first nuclear power plant in East Germany.
It was of low power and operated from 1966 until 1990. The second to be commissioned, the Greifswald Nuclear Power Plant, was planned to house eight of the Russian 440 MW VVER-440 reactors; the first four went online between 1973 and 1979. Greifswald 5 operated for less than a month before it was closed, the other three were cancelled during different stages of their build-up. In 1990, during the German reunification, all eastern Germany nuclear power plants were closed due to flaws in safety standards; the Stendal Nuclear Power Plant in East Germany was to be the largest nuclear power station in Germany. After German reunification, due to concerns about the Soviet design, construction was stopped and the power station was never completed. In the 1990s the three cooling towers, erected were demolished, the area is an industrial estate today; as of 2016 the nuclear power plant operators in Germany comprise: E. ON Kernkraft GmbH EnBW Energie Baden-Wuerttemberg AG RWE Power AG Vattenfall Europe Nuclear Energy GmbH In September 2011, responsible for constructing all 17 of Germany's existing nuclear power plants, announced that it would exit the nuclear sector following the Fukushima disaster and the subsequent changes to German energy policy.
It will no longer build nuclear power plants anywhere in the world. The company’s chairman, Peter Löscher, said that "Siemens was
Nuclear power in the Czech Republic
The Czech Republic operates two nuclear power plants: Temelín and Dukovany. In 2010 there were government and corporate moves to expand Czech nuclear power generation capacity. Any expansion is to build on plans first developed in the 1980s. In 1956 a decision was made to build the first nuclear power station in Czechoslovakia, in Jaslovské Bohunice; the KS 150 or A1 reactor was selected because of its ability to use unenriched uranium mined in Czechoslovakia. The KS 150 was built in Czechoslovakia. Construction took an unexpectedly lengthy 16 years. In 1972 the plant was activated. In 1977 an accident stopped energy production and since 1979 the reactor has been dismantled, but not decommissioned. In 1970 an agreement with the Soviet Union was made to build two power stations of the VVER reactor design. One plant was built again in Jaslovské Bohunice, the other in Dukovany, both equipped with four reactors VVER-440 v. 213 producing 440 MWe each. The first new reactor in Jaslovské Bohunice was activated in the remaining 7 during the 1980s.
At the end of the 1970s a decision was made to build two more power stations: Mochovce. In 1990, due to a decision by the government of Petr Pithart, the Temelín station was limited to two reactors; the construction of Temelín experienced delays and went over budget. The fluoride volatility method of reprocessing used nuclear fuel was developed at the Řež nuclear research institute at Řež; the Czech Republic has no state policy on storage or reprocessing of nuclear waste, the responsibility for this falls to the Czech Power Company. The ČEZ does not believe reprocessing is economical, stores spent fuel until the Radioactive Waste Repository Authority assumes responsibility for it; the RAWRA will select a permanent location for storage by 2015 and construction will begin on this site after 2050. The Czech Republic and Austria have had disagreements concerning the Temelín Nuclear Power Station only 50 km from the Czech–Austrian border. Austria had threatened the Czech Republic with difficulties in joining the EU if the plant was commissioned.
Other opponents to this power plant claimed. In fact, Chernobyl had RBMKs, Temelín would have VVERs; the Czech President at the time, Václav Havel, called the plant “megalomaniacal.” The Czech Energy Policy of 2004 envisaged building two or more large reactors to replace Dukovany power plant after 2020. The plans announced in 2006 envisaged construction of one 1,500 MWe unit at Temelín after 2020, a second to follow; the simplest expansion of nuclear capacity would be completion of the two abandoned blocks at Temelín. In 2005 a recommendation by the Ministry of Industry suggested adding two 600 MWe reactors there before the year 2025. In August 2009, ČEZ launched a tendering process for two pressurized water reactors for units 3 and 4. Several locations in the Czech lands were investigated and selected for new stations during the 1980s: the village of Blahutovice, the village of Tetov, the town of Mníšek pod Brdy and a nuclear heating plant in Prague-Radotín. Blahutovice, a village located in an isolated and thinly populated area, was selected in 1986 because of convenient geological conditions.
A power station with two VVER-1000 reactors was proposed, together with a new dam in Hustopeče nad Bečvou. In 2000, the proposed start date for construction was not expected until 2015, if at all. Opatovice nad Labem was selected, but its location between the cities of Hradec Králové and Pardubice was unfavorable and the more distant village of Tetov was chosen. One plan suggested building a nuclear heating plant in Opatovice nad Labem instead; the power station required an area of 150 hectares and was to have two or four VVER-1000 reactors, producing 1000 MWe each and providing heating for the Hradec Králové-Pardubice agglomeration, for Prague. Construction was to begin in 1996 and the reactors to be activated between 2004–2008; the cost was estimated to be 60 billion Kčs. Nuclear waste produced by the power stations and the other smaller reactors in the country is exported to Russia, who supply the enriched uranium. A programme from 1980s recommended the building of an underground storage site to keep waste for reprocessing in the future.
Geological exploration started during the second half of the 1990s. Eleven candidate locations have been selected but the process is not finished as of 2006; the possibility of storing waste on the Temelín station site is being considered. Most Czechs support further expansion of nuclear power use, with support at 60% in 2007; those living near nuclear waste storage facilities argue that proposals for expansion of nuclear power block development of such areas, discourage investment and make the areas unattractive for tourists. Several villages organized referendums against planned waste storage and regional governments have tried to put up legal and administrative obstacles to new stations. In 2008, a poll found that 64% of Czechs agree with the use of nuclear power, the highest level of support of the 27 EU countries surveyed, alongside Lithuania. Furthermore, the poll indicated that support was rising, from 52% in 2004 to 64% in 2008. Energy in the Czech Republic Nuclear energy plans of Czechoslovakia Website of the State Office for Nuclear Safety
Nuclear power in Switzerland
Nuclear power in Switzerland is generated by four nuclear power plants, with a total of five operational reactors. In 2013, they produced 24.8 terawatt-hours of electricity, down 5.8% from 2007, when 26.4 TWh were produced. Nuclear power accounted for 36.4% of the nation's gross electricity generation of 68.3 TWh, while 57.9% was produced by hydroelectric plants and 5.7% came from conventional thermal power stations and non-hydro renewable energy sources. In addition, there were a number of research reactors in Switzerland, such as the CROCUS reactor at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, the last one left since 2013. Switzerland uses nuclear energy only for peaceful purposes. Any project for the adoption of nuclear weapons was definitively dropped in 1988. Nuclear waste from power plants was processed overseas until 2016. Storage is done on surface sites. In 2011, the federal authorities decided to phase out nuclear power in Switzerland as a consequence of the Fukushima accident in Japan.
In late 2013 the operator BKW decided to cease all electrical generation in 2019 in the Mühleberg plant, which has a similar design to Fukushima. Axpo is expected to come up with a similar decision for its aging Beznau Nuclear Power Plant, which houses the oldest commercial reactor of the world; as of 8 December 2014, the National Council has voted to limit the operational life-time of the Beznau Nuclear Power Plant to 60 years, forcing its two reactors to be decommissioned by 2029 and 2031, respectively. The lower house has voted in favor of banning the construction of new reactors for commercial usage. However, the adoption of such amendment still has to be confirmed by the Council of States, the upper house of the Federal Assembly of Switzerland. In addition, a citizens' initiative to restrict the operational life-time of nuclear reactors to 45 years will have to be voted upon, irrespective of whether the legislature's amendment will come into force or not. Switzerland has four nuclear power plants with five reactors in operation as of 2008: Beznau 1 and Beznau 2 – 365 MWe eachPlant safety: Double containment, large dry.
The Mühleberg reactor is owned by majority-owned by the canton of Berne. The Beznau reactors are owned by the Axpo Holding, that control major parts of Leibstadt. Alpiq own 27.4 % of Leibstadt. Lucens – 6 MWeThe Lucens experimental reactor power plant was opened in 1962, it housed heavy-water moderated and cooled by carbon dioxide. It has been shut down since 1969 after a partial core meltdown; the site has been decommissioned. The meltdown is considered the worst nuclear meltdown in Switzerland's history. SAPHIRThe reactors that became known as SAPHIR was a 10-100 kW-range swimming-pool reactor of demonstration brought to Switzerland by the U. S. delegation to the First Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy that took place in Geneva in August 1955. It has been the first reactor shown in operation to the public, worldwide. After the conference the reactor was purchased by the Swiss government on behalf of Reaktor AG, a consortium interested in the development of nuclear energy in Switzerland.
The reactor was moved to Würenlingen on the location of the future Paul Scherrer Institut and received its name, SAPHIR, on 17 May 1957. Operable until 1994. University of Geneva AGN-201-P reactorThe University of Geneva acquired a 20 W water-moderated and graphite-reflected research reactor fueled by 20%-enriched Uranium from Aerojet General Nucleonics in 1958, it was operated as a teaching reactor until 1989, when it was shutdown and decommissioned. University of Basel AGN-211-P reactorThe University of Basel acquired the AGN-211-P reactor presented at the 1958 World Exposition in Brussels, Belgium, it was a 2 kW water-moderated reactor fueled with high-enriched Uranium and operated from 1959 to 2013 as a teaching and experimental reactor, used amongst other things for neutron activation analysis. DIORITA small heavy water-cooled and -moderated research reactor, operated 1960 to 1977 at the former Federal Institute for Reactor Research. There was in the context of Cold War, the theoretical idea of producing weapons-grade Plutonium in it
Nuclear energy in Austria
In the 1960s the Austrian government started a nuclear energy program and parliament unanimously ordered a nuclear power plant built. In 1972, the German company KWU began construction of the Zwentendorf Nuclear Power Plant boiling water 700 MWe reactor. In 1976, two years prior to the nuclear power plant opening, the government began a program to educate its citizens on the benefits and safety of nuclear power. However, this campaign began a public discussion that led to large demonstrations against the Zwentendorf plant in 1977. On 15 December 1978, the Austrian Parliament voted in favor of a ban on using nuclear fission for Austria’s energy supply until March 1998; this law prohibits the storage and transport of nuclear materials in or through Austria. On 9 July 1997, the Austrian Parliament unanimously passed legislation to remain an anti-nuclear country. Anti-nuclear movement in Austria
The Rhine is one of the major European rivers, which has its sources in Switzerland and flows in an northerly direction through Germany and The Netherlands to the North Sea. The river begins in the Swiss canton of Graubünden in the southeastern Swiss Alps, forms part of the Swiss-Liechtenstein, Swiss-Austrian, Swiss-German and the Franco-German border flows through the German Rhineland and the Netherlands and empties into the North Sea; the largest city on the Rhine is Cologne, with a population of more than 1,050,000 people. It is the second-longest river in Central and Western Europe, at about 1,230 km, with an average discharge of about 2,900 m3/s; the Rhine and the Danube formed most of the northern inland frontier of the Roman Empire and, since those days, the Rhine has been a vital and navigable waterway carrying trade and goods deep inland. Its importance as a waterway in the Holy Roman Empire is supported by the many castles and fortifications built along it. In the modern era, it has become a symbol of German nationalism.
Among the biggest and most important cities on the Rhine are Cologne, Düsseldorf, Rotterdam and Basel. The variants of the name of the Rhine in modern languages are all derived from the Gaulish name Rēnos, adapted in Roman-era geography as Greek Ῥῆνος, Latin Rhenus; the spelling with Rh- in English Rhine as well as in German Rhein and French Rhin is due to the influence of Greek orthography, while the vocalisation -i- is due to the Proto-Germanic adoption of the Gaulish name as *Rīnaz, via Old Frankish giving Old English Rín,Old High German Rīn, early Middle Dutch Rijn. The diphthong in modern German Rhein is a Central German development of the early modern period, the Alemannic name Rī retaining the older vocalism, as does Ripuarian Rhing, while Palatine has diphthongized Rhei, Rhoi. Spanish is with French in adopting the Germanic vocalism Rin-, while Italian and Portuguese retain the Latin Ren-; the Gaulish name Rēnos belongs to a class of river names built from the PIE root *rei- "to move, run" found in other names such as the Reno in Italy.
The grammatical gender of the Celtic name is masculine, the name remains masculine in German and French. The Old English river name was variously inflected as feminine; the length of the Rhine is conventionally measured in "Rhine-kilometers", a scale introduced in 1939 which runs from the Old Rhine Bridge at Constance to Hoek van Holland. The river is shortened from its natural course due to a number of canalisation projects completed in the 19th and 20th century; the "total length of the Rhine", to the inclusion of Lake Constance and the Alpine Rhine is more difficult to measure objectively. Its course is conventionally divided as follows: The Rhine carries its name without distinctive accessories only from the confluence of the Rein Anteriur/Vorderrhein and Rein Posteriur/Hinterrhein next to Reichenau in Tamins. Above this point is the extensive catchment of the headwaters of the Rhine, it belongs exclusively to the Swiss canton of Graubünden, ranging from Saint-Gotthard Massif in the west via one valley lying in Ticino and Italy in the south to the Flüela Pass in the east.
Traditionally, Lake Toma near the Oberalp Pass in the Gotthard region is seen as the source of the Anterior Rhine and the Rhine as a whole. The Posterior Rhine rises in the Rheinwald below the Rheinwaldhorn; the source of the river is considered north of Lai da Tuma/Tomasee on Rein Anteriur/Vorderrhein, although its southern tributary Rein da Medel is longer before its confluence with the Anterior Rhine near Disentis. The Anterior Rhine springs from Lai da Tuma/Tomasee, near the Oberalp Pass and passes the impressive Ruinaulta formed by the largest visible rock slide in the alps, the Flims Rockslide; the Posterior Rhine starts near the Rheinwaldhorn. One of its tributaries, the Reno di Lei, drains the Valle di Lei on politically Italian territory. After three main valleys separated by the two gorges and Viamala, it reaches Reichenau in Tamins; the Anterior Rhine arises from numerous source streams in the upper Surselva and flows in an easterly direction. One source is Lai da Tuma with the Rein da Tuma, indicated as source of the Rhine, flowing through it.
Into it flow tributaries from the south, some longer, some equal in length, such as the Rein da Medel, the Rein da Maighels, the Rein da Curnera. The Cadlimo Valley in the canton of Ticino is drained by the Reno di Medel, which crosses the geomorphologic Alpine main ridge from the south. All streams in the source area are sometimes captured and sent to storage reservoirs for the local hydro-electric power plants; the culminating point of the Anterior Rhine's drainage basin is the Piz Russein of the Tödi massif of the Glarus Alps at 3,613 metres above sea level. It starts with the creek Aua da Russein. In its lower course the Anterior Rhine flows through a gorge named Ruinaulta; the whole stretch of the Anterior Rhine to the Alpine Rhine confluence next to Reichen