Government to propose 'micro-extension' of Belgium's nuclear reactors

Government to propose 'micro-extension' of Belgium's nuclear reactors
Doel nuclear power plant in Doel. Credit: Dirk Waem/Belga

Belgium's Government is set to propose a "micro-extension" of some of the country's nuclear power plants' lifespans in order to overcome a potentially desperate energy crisis in a few years' time.

According to Le Soir, Belgium is on course to have no functioning nuclear power plants throughout the winter of 2025-26, with some of its plants scheduled to undergo renovation over that period while others are set to shut down just before then.

In particular, three of Belgium's plants (namely Doel 1, Doel 2, and Tihange 1) are scheduled to close permanently just months before the winter of 2025-26.

According to the office of Belgium's Energy Minister, Tinne Van der Straeten, a "micro-extension" of the lifespan of Belgium's reactors is "a better option than building a third new gas-fired power plant".

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However, any such extension will require a change in federal legislation, which will be fraught with political difficulties given the widely different perspectives Belgium's main political parties have on the issue of nuclear power.

Belgium's green parties (i.e. Groen and Ecolo), in particular, are likely to be vehemently opposed to such an extension; indeed, the lifespan of two of Belgium's reactors (Doel 4 and Tihange 3) were recently extended to 2036 only after a lengthy political battle.

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