Yesterday evening (Thursday), the Belgian parliament adopted by majority in a plenary session, following a five-hour debate, the bill legislating for the annual cost of the nuclear reactors Doel 1 and 2 of 20 million euros per year, for the next ten years due from ENGIE Electrabel. This amount should feed the energy transition fund the operation of which will be regulated by a Royal decree, which is currently being drafted.
Parliament has thus finalised a new stage of the legislative process around the extension of these nuclear reactors through to 2025, pending entry into force the government’s latest bill upon harnessing income from the nuclear industry.
The majority of deputies defended the quality of a text which will secure state income against the current backdrop of falling electricity market prices. The Flemish Christian Democrat, Leen Dierick, however appealed for the need to be attentive to the risk of overcapacity which may adversely affect the development of alternative energy sources. The opposition denounced a text which had been very badly drafted in legal terms, particularly in favour of ENGIE Electrabel by “the three Ms”, Charles Michel, Marie Christine Marghem and Gérard Mestrallet.
The Minister for Energie Marie Christine Marghem invited the House to reflect, as of now, upon the need for an energy mix, so as to prepare for the end of the use of nuclear energy in 2025, a move which will be supported by the transition fund.
The practical use of the text voted upon yesterday will pervade across other areas, whether legal and European, the European Commission being actively interested in the nature of state aid so as to potentially develop the arrangement with a given operator.
During the evening, the majority rejected a point of order of the opposition aiming to postpone the project after the leader of the Francophone Green Party, Jean-Marc Nollet spoke to a document from the International Atomic Energy Commission, evoking a number of points to take account of relating to the safety of extending the life of such power station.