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Germany has suspended the export of uranium for the Doel nuclear power plants for the second time in a few months. “This can cause problems, because a quarter of the ‘fuel’ for nuclear power plants comes from Germany,” says deputy Samuel Cogolati (Ecolo).
Since the beginning of this year, no more nuclear fuel has reached Belgium from Germany. A complaint from a German environmental movement has suspended exports for the second time in a few months. One reason is the danger that the Doel nuclear power plant also poses for Germany: in a nuclear accident, much of North Rhine-Westphalia could also be affected by a radioactive cloud. As long as the demand is pending, no more nuclear fuel will arrive in our country. However, this uranium is essential for the operation of the nuclear reactors at Doel and Tihange. An estimated quarter of that nuclear fuel comes from Germany, although the exact suppliers are unknown due to mandatory confidentiality.
“This demand is a wake-up call for nuclear energy in Belgium,” says Ecolo deputy Samuel Cogolati. He points out that our country will also continue to depend on foreign countries for nuclear power and fears that Germany, which agreed to a nuclear exit in 2022, will soon be less inclined to export nuclear fuel. “This shows that the delivery risks are real,” says Cogolati. “Uranium is not found in our country. Therefore, Belgium must rely on renewable energy sources to guarantee the security of energy supply ”.
In December, Energy Minister Tinne Van der Straeten (Groen) called the uranium shortage “serious”. Certainly because, according to the operator Engie, it is not easy to find an alternative provider. The issue will be discussed again today in the Chamber.