Belgium reaches initial deal to prolong nuclear power by 10 years

(EurActiv, 22 Jul 2022) Belgium has reached an initial accord with French utility group Engie to extend the use of nuclear power by 10 years after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine forced the government to rethink plans to rely more on natural gas.

Engie’s subsidiary Electrabel and the Belgian state signed a “non-binding letter of intent” and aimed to negotiate a binding legal agreement by the end of 2022, the government and Engie said on Friday (22 July).

Belgium was to have exited nuclear power entirely in 2025, but now wants to extend the lives of its two newest reactors, Doel 4 and Tihange 3, with a restart in November 2026.

Energy minister Tinne Van der Straeten told a news conference that Belgium’s decision in March to stick with nuclear power was part of efforts to avoid reliance on fossil fuel imports with Russia proving an unreliable gas supplier. Belgium’s nuclear switch-off relied on a shift to gas.

“Since then it has become clearer how much energy is a matter of national security,” she said.

The head of Engie Belgium previously said Belgium’s decision had come too late, but the Belgian government said talks had been constructive and both sides had set the outlines for a future agreement. However, Belgium.

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EurActiv, 22 Jul 2022: Belgium reaches initial deal to prolong nuclear power by 10 years