Government expected to reach agreement on nuclear reactors by 21 July

Government expected to reach agreement on nuclear reactors by 21 July
Doel nuclear power station. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Tinne Van der Straeten, the Federal Energy Minister, expressed optimism that the Federal Government and the Engie group could reach an agreement on the extension of two nuclear reactors by 21 July.

During an interview with the RTBF, the Groen minister stressed that she did not want to go on vacation until the agreement was finalised.

"We want to be able to present a favourable agreement to the government, but also to parliamentarians and, indeed, to all Belgians," she added.

What's at stake?

In March, the government decided to extend the operation of Belgium's two newest nuclear reactors until 2035, ten years after the original deadline.

Van der Straeten reiterated her belief that Russia's war on Ukraine was a leading factor in this decision. For the next ten years, this extension will allow for the production of two megawatts (MW) of electricity.

Negotiations with Engie-Electrabel, the operator of Belgium's national nuclear fleet, are currently underway to implement this decision.

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However, Belga News Agency reported that discussions appear to be complicated, as the operator has previously stated that it believes the deadline for such an extension has passed.

However, the minister stressed that the deadline of 21 July was still three weeks away, while refusing to "go into details" while in the midst of talks with Engie-Electrabel.

Other important information

Tinne Van der Straeten provided more details on Twitter. Firstly, she stated that decommissioning nuclear reactors could cost up to €41 billion euros.

Furthermore, the 'polluter-pays principle', which holds those responsible for pollution accountable for the damage done to the natural environment, will be written into law.

Belgians will also have their say on nuclear waste as the government will organise a 'Grand National Dialogue' on the matter.

With all of these propositions to be voted on in Parliament today, the minister concluded.

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