Belgium will close its seven existing nuclear reactors by 2025, but will not close the door to a new generation of nuclear power, according to an agreement reached Thursday morning between the coalition partners (AFP / EMMANUEL DUNAND).
Belgium will close its seven existing nuclear reactors by 2025, but will not close the door to a new generation of nuclear power, according to an agreement reached Thursday morning between partners in the government coalition.
The deal, reached after a night of negotiations, was confirmed by government sources to the AFP. It provides “about 100 million euros in investment in research on small module reactors” (SMR), the source said.
A press conference is scheduled for 11:00 am (10:00 GMT) local time at the Prime Minister’s House headquarters to explain the agreement.
The gradual elimination of nuclear energy has been enshrined in law in Belgium since 2003. The date that the current government will honor when it takes office in October 2020 is 2025.
But the file divides the ruling coalition, which is mainly liberals (the family of Prime Minister Alexander de Crowe), socialists and environmentalists.
For a month, MR’s French-speaking liberals, one of the seven parties on the team, have been warning against a situation of complete exit by energy minister Flemish ecologist Tinne Van der Straeten.
They called for keeping a portion of current nuclear capabilities, especially arguing that new gas power plants designed to protect the energy supply are highly polluting and generate CO2. About 40% of the electricity generated in Belgium is nuclear.
Ultimately, the agreement torn up within the banned cabinet (Kern, which has representatives from each of the seven parties) states that Belgium will invest in “research on sustainable and CO2-neutral energies”, including nuclear energy. Future (SMR, editorial note), reported the French-speaking channel RTBF.
Government sources affiliated with the AFP said the budget for investing in this type of technology had already been planned.
Overall, the compromise obtained has retained “Scene A” from the Minister of Energy. “This agreement strengthens the investment mechanism to replace the obsolete current nuclear power,” the same source said.
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