Belgium in Brief: Going nuclear

Belgium in Brief: Going nuclear

After discussions that nearly lasted all of Friday, the Federal Government announced that Belgium would keep its nuclear energy plants open for an extra ten years (until 2035).

The driving factors behind the much-contested decision were the necessity for Belgium to "strengthen independence from fossil fuels in turbulent geopolitical times," said Prime Minister Alexander De Croo at the press conference.

In practice, Belgium's nuclear power plants Doel 4 and Tihange 3 will remain open for an extra ten years. This decision comes as a blow to the green party, which only three months ago secured an agreement to close the reactors – after a years-long debate.

Together, the reactors would provide 2GW of electricity as a supplement to renewable energies: sufficient to power approximately 1.5 million homes, said Energy Minister Tinne Van der Straeten.

Additionally, there will also be an acceleration of the shift to renewable energy with additional investments in offshore wind energy, hydrogen, solar energy and sustainable mobility.

However, Belgium’s decision was deplored by German Environment Minister Steffi Lemke, who voiced concern for the continued operation of the Tihange 3 reactor and stressed that the concerns of the population around Aachen (Aix-la-Chapelle), a German town about 80 km from Tihange, need to be taken into consideration.

"Especially in a time of crisis like this, I don’t think an extension of the service life is justifiable for security reasons," she commented. "It can even make us more vulnerable."

What do you think of the decision? Let @maajtee know.

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