The Ecolo-Green group in Belgium’s Chamber published on Wednesday on its website a proposal made in February by the Nuclear Provisions Commission to strengthen State control in the management of provisions meant for the dismantling of nuclear plants and waste management. The bill was adapted and the text sent by Energy Minister Christine Marghem to the Council of State in late July. The Council has not yet made a decision, but the minister indicated on Tuesday at a meeting of the Commission that the text would be the subject of fresh negotiations between ministerial cabinets based on her remarks and that a new, adapted version would probably be sent back to the legislation section.
The ecologists fear that this may be a manoeuvre by the Government – currently involved in negotiations with the nuclear group, Engie – to prevent a new framework from being adopted during the current legislature. However, they say, this is a matter of urgency. They fear that Engie wants to transform Electrabel, the group’s weak link, into an empty shell perpetually unable to assume its financial responsibilities regarding the dismantling of nuclear plants. In that case, the risk would be borne by the citizens of Belgium.
“This is a financial atom bomb,” Green legislator Kristof Calvo said at a press conference on Wednesday. “We’re involved in a societal debate, perhaps the most important one of our era, and one that exceeds 10 billion euros. By publishing this confidential document, our intention is to put pressure on [Prime Minister] Michel and Mrs Marghem, in negotiation with Engie,” he said, adding that “public opinion will be able to verify the before and after.”