3 Apr (NucNet): The Belgian government has approved a new energy strategy that will see the country phase out its fleet of seven commercial nuclear plants between 2022 and 2025.
On 30 March 2018 the federal government signed off on the strategy, which will see the country’s nuclear reactors permanently shut down by 2025 and investment allocated instead for renewable energy, particularly offshore wind farms.
The government said in a statement that a draft bill including the phaseout plans will be ready for submission to the Council of Ministers, composed of the prime minister and 14 senior ministers, by 31 May 2018.
Belgium has two nuclear stations at Doel and Tihange. There are four pressurised water reactor units at Doel and three at Tihange.
According to the International Energy Agency, Belgium’s nuclear share in 2017 was 49.86%, placing it fourth behind France, Ukraine and Slovakia.
The Brussels-based Nuclear Forum, which represents 12 organisations in the nuclear industry, warned in a statement on 3 April 2018 that phasing out nuclear power would harm Belgium’s chances of hitting its climate targets, insisting that emissions would triple by 2050 in a nuclear-free scenario.
The Forum added that Belgium would risk seeing its geopolitical standing weaken, as the country would need to rely on others to meet its power needs, citing Russian gas and electricity from French nuclear as two sources that might be needed to fill the gap.
Nuclear’s significant share of energy is a stable and reliable complement to the intermittent nature of renewable energy, the Forum said. Although renewable energy is an important part of the puzzle, its 15% share is not enough to offer an urgent solution to the country’s energy and climate challenges.
“Even if the share of renewable energies increases considerably in the coming years, we will have to resort to complementary sources of energy.
“Nuclear energy makes it possible to maintain affordable prices, to guarantee our security of supply and to achieve the climate objectives in limiting our CO2 emissions.”
Belgium’s energy strategy is online (French): https://bit.ly/2Eg4v1w