Belgium's decision to extend the life of its nuclear power stations was met with mixed reactions by political and business leaders. German Environment Minister Steffi Lemke on Saturday deplored the move, Belga News Agency reports.
In particular, Steffi voiced concern for the continued operation of Belgium's 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.
The decision comes in light of the need to secure a stable and economical energy supply that does put the country at the mercy of increasingly volatile energy markets. However, the German minister rejected the reasons given for the Belgian decision.
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“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.”
“We are in a situation in which we have to make our energy supply crisis-proof very quickly,” she said. “We are doing this by accelerating the expansion of renewable energies.”
It is worth noting that Belgium is also investing heavily in renewables – particularly wind farms. However, despite projects that will soon be realised, the country's energy output from renewables would be insufficient to cover the shortfall from nuclear. Instead, new gas power stations were in the pipeline, a far more polluting alternative to nuclear.