A new poll reveals that only 9% of Belgians would support an immediate closure of all nuclear power plants in the country – a considerable swing in popular support for the power source with 15% backing a complete withdrawal from nuclear energy just three months ago.
In light of Europe’s ongoing energy crisis, questions about the provision of energy and the need for a secure supply have seen shifts in political and public support for nuclear energy.
As reported in Le Soir’s Grand Barometer survey, the findings continue to show a shift in attitude for Belgians who are increasingly pro-nuclear energy.
Brussels against nuclear
Out of 2,614 people surveyed, the strongest support for a full closure is in Brussels with 14%, Wallonia in second with 12%, while in Flanders it is only 7%.
The most popular plan is the construction of new smaller reactors, which appeals to 43% of Belgians compared to 33% three months ago.
The poll draws on existing research from VUB and was carried out as the Federal Government recently decided to negotiate an extension to the life of Doel 4 and Tihange 3 power plants for ten more years.
Eventual phasing-out is still on the cards
Despite the resurgence of support for nuclear energy, there is still a belief that Belgium’s nuclear plants should be phased out eventually. Among those surveyed, 30% expressed support for the extension of the two reactors in Belgium for ten more years but still maintain the long-term goal of turning the page on nuclear energy in the future.
For now, the Federal Government can expect less popular resistance to the ten-year extension of its nuclear power plants. Even if the poll does not reveal a mass conversion to a pro-nuclear energy stance – it can be read that Belgians increasingly view it as a pragmatic solution to a tricky situation.