Power company ditches investments needed to keep nuclear plants open

Power company Engie Electrabel is making preparations for the end of the nuclear age in Belgium.  Top executive Thierry Saegeman has informed his staff that all investments geared at lengthening the life of Belgium’s nuclear power plants are being trashed.

The company’s chief nuclear officer says ‘constructive talks’ with the new government team revealed the clear intention to implement the government accord.  Mr Saegeman has concluded that the Belgian government has made a choice in favour of new gas power stations. A definitive, formal decision on abandoning nuclear can’t be expected before the end of next year.

Under the government accord existing legislation will be carried out.  Nuclear power generation in Belgium will end in 2025.  Only if threats to power supplies emerge by November 2021 could there be any change of heart.  In this situation limited nuclear power generation by two power plants – the country’s youngest, Doel 4 and Tihange 3 - would be permitted.

Belgian energy minister Tinne Van der Straeten (Flemish green) has welcomed the company’s acceptance of the government accord.  “This also means that the group (Engie Electrabel) will collaborate in the energy transition” she said.

Belgium’s seven nuclear power plants will close by 2025.  The Belgian government will take stock of the situation in 2021 and take the action needed to guarantee power supplies.

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