11.02.2019_No29 / News in Brief

Belgium Nuclear Phaseout Not Realistic, Says Interior Minister

Policies & Politics

11 Feb (NucNet): A complete phaseout of nuclear power by 2025 is not realistic, Belgium’s interior minister Pieter De Crem said yesterday.

Mr De Crem, a member of the pro-phaseout Christian Democratic and Flemish party, said “all the indicators tell me that consumption will increase to such an extent that we will need an exception period or an extension [of nuclear]”.

He said a debate is needed on nuclear energy and on the new generation of nuclear power plants and “everything must be open for discussion”. Plans for a nuclear phaseout without a debate “do not help those who demonstrate on the street”, he said.

The president of the centrist CD&V, Wouter Beke, repeated last week that he supports the nuclear phaseout. But Mr De Crem calls himself an “ecorealist” and said he considers the deadline untenable.

Belgium has a fleet of seven Belgian commercial nuclear reactors – three at Tihange near Liege and four at Doel near Antwerp – providing almost 50% of the country’s electricity.

Plans to shut them down by 2025 were established in a law of 2003. They were confirmed in 2015 and by the current government of prime minister Charles Michel last spring.

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David Dalton

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