According to estimates by the environmental defence organisation Greenpeace, a major nuclear disaster at the Doel plant would cost between 742 and 1.412 billion euros. This figure takes into account the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people, but also other factors such as the cost of the port of Antwerp being out of use for several years. Greenpeace is calling on the government to take these figures into consideration during discussions about the expected runtime of nuclear reactors.
A report compiled by SP.A member and engineer Bart Martens’ Smart Matters Consultancy, entitled “The Economic Impact of a Nuclear Disaster in Doel,” studied several scenarios, including that of a similar disaster to the ones already witnessed in Fukushima or Chernobyl involving the meltdown of a reactor and deterioration of the dome requiring an open confinement. The cost of a disaster such as this is estimated at between 742 and 1.412 billion euros, depending on the size of the contaminated areas.
Greenpeace notes that the number of people living within 20km of Doel NPP is ten times higher than the number living within the same distance of Fukushima. Evacuating and relocating these inhabitants would cost between 29 billion and 342 billion euros. The consequences in terms of healthcare following a nuclear disaster like this would in turn rise to between about 150 and 217 billion euros. The port of Antwerp would be directly affected and completely inaccessible for several years after the disaster, which would cost another 149 billion solely from the fall in direct added value.
“The timing of this report is not random,” said Eloi Glorieux of Greenpeace. “On Friday the Energy Minister Marie-Christine Marghem (MR) will present her much anticipated report dealing with the possible extension of the Doel 1 and Doel 2 reactors. We are seriously concerned about this topic, especially in light of the many problems nuclear power plants have been having recently.”