Calls to keep nuclear power stations open for another 20 years

Calls to keep nuclear power stations open for another 20 years
Doel power station, one of Belgium's nuclear plants. © Trougnouf/Wikimedia

Christian Democratic and Flemish (CD&V) party chairman Sammy Mahdi has stated that he wants the Belgian Federal Government to extend the lifespan of the Doel 4 and Tihange 3 nuclear power stations by 20 years, as opposed to the previously agreed 10 years set out by the government.

“Keeping those two nuclear power stations open longer is an important lever to finding a good deal between all parties. That is good for our residents and for the government, but also for Engie (the company that operates Belgium's nuclear power stations), which gives room to negotiate a higher contribution,” Mahdi argues.

CD&V are part of the Vivaldi government which reached an agreement with Engie over the extension of Belgium’s two youngest nuclear reactors. By next month, it is hoped that the Federal Government will strike a conclusive deal with the operator, which will be implemented by the end of the year.

Government coalition member Mouvement Réformateur (Reformist Movement) wants to take the extension even further and keep all seven nuclear reactors open even longer, but will likely lend their support to Mahdi’s proposal. From the opposition, the New Flemish Alliance (N-VA) party is also advocating to keep as many plants open for as long as possible.

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Mahdi argues that the more the longer the nuclear power station remains in operation, the more excess profits it will be able to tax, which would help raise resources to support local families and companies.

Another advantage of giving the reactors a longer lease of life would be that it allows Engie to spread the necessary investments over a longer period of time.

Mahdi welcomed the Federal Government’s decision to tackle excess profits in the energy sector through greater redistribution, especially in the nuclear sector.

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