Republican Unitary Enterprise

Belarusian nuclear
power plant


NPP construction site, 231201, Ostrovets, Grodno region. 



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Thursday, 08 August 2019

The end of nuclear energy in Belgium is in doubt

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In 2003, under the liberal government of Guy Verhofstadt, Belgium decided to abandon nuclear energy and close its Tihange and Doel nuclear plants by 2025.  However, the solution, which then seemed simple and perfectly consistent with the energy policies of other European countries, has now become a problem for the entire energy system of Belgium. NPPs produce about 20% of the electricity needed by the country. Tihange NPP consists of three power units with a total capacity of 3153 MW, Doel NPP consists of four power units with a total capacity of 3054 MW.

The end of nuclear energy in Belgium is in doubt REGNUM

Both plants began operations in 1975. Belgian reactors are not only outdated, but are also increasingly experiencing accidents and damage - in recent years, their owner Engie Electrabel has been forced to stop them for repairs more than once. Most of these stops had serious consequences for the electricity grid, whose operator Elia notes the need to import electricity in the event of an accident or closure of Doel and Tihange. In the future, it will be more difficult to buy electricity in neighboring countries, because the traditional exporter - France - is refusing coal and will have less and less energy for sale, and in Germany wind farms are playing an increasingly important role, the work of which depends on weather conditions.

Belgian political scene is deeply divided on the fate of the NPPs, which was aggravated after the May parliamentary elections - the country is in a very difficult process of creating a government. The two main parts of the country, Flanders and Wallonia, made the opposite choice - the conservative N-VA party, which supported the continuation of the work of the nuclear power plant, won the first region, and in the second, voters chose liberals and socialists who want to stick to the decision to stop the NPPs. In this difficult situation, Belgium suddenly received support from the EU Court, which, considering the lawsuit of two environmental organizations, ordered the country to immediately check the compliance of Doel NPP with environmental protection requirements, but allowed to change the decision to stop it in 2025. Belgium will not be legally obligated to stop Doel and Tihange NPPs if it proves that such a step will lead to a shortage of electricity.

Last modified on Thursday, 08 August 2019
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