Belgium intends to stop its seven nuclear reactors, as planned by 2025, but will not close the door to a new generation of nuclear power, according to an agreement reached today between the parties of the ruling coalition.
A government source confirmed to AFP that this agreement was reached after a night of negotiations, and this source said that the agreement foresees “an investment of about 100 million euros in research on small-unit reactors.”
The gradual abandonment of nuclear energy was enshrined in Belgian law in 2003, with 2025 as the deadline for completion, a date that the current government promised to abide by when it took office in October 2020.
But the record divides the ruling coalition, which mainly includes liberals (the family of Prime Minister Alexandre de Croo), socialists and environmentalists.
A month ago, French-speaking liberals affiliated with the Reform Movement, one of the seven parties in the coalition, warned of the scenario of a total abandonment of nuclear energy, that Energy Minister Tinh van der Straten, an environmentalist, is withholding part of current nuclear capabilities, saying that “the new gas-fired power plants, which are supposed to provide the energy supply, are highly polluting and generate carbon dioxide. Nuclear power accounts for about 40 percent of the electricity produced in Belgium.”
The agreement, which divides the government coalition, stipulates that Belgium will invest “in the search for sustainable and carbon dioxide-free energy”, including future nuclear energy (small modular reactors), as reported by the French-speaking station RTPF.
A budget for investment in this type of technology has already been planned, a government source told AFP.
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