The N-VA wants to keep Belgium’s two newest nuclear power stations operational for another ten years. But the Flemish nationalists are also open to the idea of constructing a new nuclear power station “if it is economically viable,” according to their “eco-realism” brochure presented on Saturday. This means Belgium could continuing using nuclear power until… 2065.
Around 800 members of the N-VA met in Ghent for a matinee conference on energy and ecology on Saturday. This is one of the conferences organised in the run-up to the elections on the 26th of May.
Although food, waste and climate were discussed, the debate mainly focused on energy supplies and whether nuclear power is still relevant. American Michael Shellenberger, one of the fiercest defenders of nuclear energy, was one of the main speakers. He said Belgium only needs three nuclear power stations to produce all its own energy through nuclear energy.
The N-VA does not want Belgium to stop using nuclear power by 2025. It says keeping the newest reactors operational for another ten years would keep prices affordable and save 6 million tonnes of CO2 per year. “To give you an idea, it’s the same as if we pulled all the cars off the roads in Flanders. All the cars. For ten years”, argues Anneleen Van Bossuyt, who is in charge of relaying the conference’s conclusions.
The N-VA says the other parties have not really explained how nuclear energy could be replaced. “We want to see figures”, the EMP said, addressing the Green party directly.
“First of all, I want to thank the N-VA for talking about us during their conference.” Free publicity, said Green federal MP Kristof Calvo. “We are disputing the N-VA’s dependence on nuclear energy,” he continued. “This conference appears to have been organised by the nuclear lobby.” He added that Michael Shellenberger’s idea of opening three new nuclear power stations is “completely crazy”.
Ecologists say that ending nuclear power by 2025 is possible but not viable. “But we have no time to lose, the deadline is approaching fast. However, the construction of a new nuclear power station would be much too costly. Keeping the current stations operational also comes with a price-tag. We are therefore calling for investment in the future and renewable energy rather than the past,” the head of the Eco-Greens told the Chamber.