Energy crisis: Belgians get behind nuclear power

Energy crisis: Belgians get behind nuclear power
Credit: The Brussels Times / Ugo Realfonzo

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.

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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.

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