On Monday evening the Liège City Council voted upon a motion demanding immediate closure of the nuclear reactors Tihange 2 and Doel 3. The decision comes in view of “the increase in alarming information” on the issue, as well as the need to respect the planned schedule for completely phasing out nuclear power stations in Belgium by 2025.
The text was initially introduced by the Vega (pro-Green/left-wing) councillor, François Schreuer. It was subject to amendments proposed by other political parties, and was then adopted by the Liège City Council. The text highlighted, “the repeated warnings from independent experts, particularly nuclear power engineers, on the risks of extending the life of power stations, considering that the probability of a major nuclear accident in Europe is by no means insignificant.”
The document also flagged up the fact that a major nuclear accident would affect a minimum of 1 million people in the Liège region.
Moreover, this text stresses the concerns expressed by various Dutch, German and Luxembourg local authorities, as well as the approaches which have been embarked upon, such as the decision by the Maastricht City Council to start legal proceedings against the Tihange nuclear power station. Moreover, Liège City Council considers that maintaining nuclear power is an obstacle to developing renewable energy resources.
The Council had also previously sent questions to the federal government, asking the government to implement all appropriate steps to check the maximum safety levels of the Doel 3 and Tihange 2 power plants, and to close either plant in the event of any shortcomings. The Council has had no response.
In view of the fears expressed about these reactors, all political parties decided in favour of respecting the planned schedule for the phasing out of nuclear power by 2025, and closing the nuclear reactors Tihange 2 and Doel 3, which have known flaws, without delay.
The only exception when voting took place was the Reformist Movement (MR) which abstained. Whilst arguing in favour of respecting the schedule, Christine Defraigne, the Leader of the MR, considered it appropriate to proceed with the hearings so that the Council has sufficient clarity upon a subject “of such a serious nature” as this. The Liberal Michel Peeters has nevertheless not followed his group’s line and has voted against this motion. Although he has made no attempt to justify his vote, he has assured the Council chamber that this is not linked to his role within the private staff of the Prime Minister, Charles Michel.