French-speaking liberals continue to push for nuclear extensions

French-speaking liberals continue to push for nuclear extensions
MR party Georges-Louis Bouchez. Credit: Virginie Lefour / Belga

MR's party leader Georges-Louis Bouchez has once again called for the Belgian Government to extend three additional nuclear reactors, this time by underlining the low safety issues linked to nuclear power in an interview with Le Soir.

Proving once again how conflictual the matter of nuclear energy is to the different parties in the Belgian Government, Bouchez's interview saw him come at odds with the green government minister Georges Gilkinet with regards to a possible extension of the Doel 1, Doel 2, Tihange 1 reactors.

The Federal Government had decided to study the feasibility of extending these three reactors after reaching an agreement with Engie, the supplier in charge of these plants, to extend Doel 3 and Tihange 2 earlier this year.

However, Gilkinet stated that extending more than two nuclear reactors would be dangerous, with Engie also declaring that no legal framework had been provided for the proposed extensions. Bouchez, on his end, has argued that Belgium's current nuclear fleet is as safe as other countries, with Belgian leaders overly cautious due to the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011.

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Moreover, the liberal leader accused the green parties, with which he governs, of stoking his fears over nuclear power due to "it being an almost capitalist and liberal energy source because of its 'infinite' production," in opposition with the greens' values.

Translation of tweet: "Five nuclear reactors will be extended as decided! Tinne Van der Straeten and the greens want to sabotage the negotiations about the three extra reactors because they want more gas plants! We demand a meeting. Otherwise, no file will be able to move forward in the government."

It remains to be seen whether the Federal Government will approve three further nuclear extensions, especially as next year's elections may shake up the governing coalition in Belgium.

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