Nuclear: is the Flemish government obstructing federal plans?

Federal energy minister Tinne Van der Straeten (Flemish green) has responded to the decision by Flemish environment minister Zuhal Demir (nationalist) not to grant a licence for the new gas power station at Vilvoorde (Flemish Brabant).  Ms Van der Straeten said the Flemish government’s decision had a bearing on how politics is conducted in this country and wondered if this was the politics of co-operation or obstruction.

Earlier Flemish environment minister Demir refused to issue an environment licence for the construction of a new gas power station in Vilvoorde pointing out that the gas power plant’s nitrogen emissions would exceed Flemish norms. 

“The Vilvoorde gas power plant would emit 107,000 kilos of ammonia each year.  If I were to approve a licence, I would endanger the juridical security of many businesses and farmers” Ms Demir said. “The company’s dossier does not mention why emissions cannot be reduced”.

Earlier Ms Demir also refused licences for gas power plants in Tessenderlo and Dilsen-Stokkem in Limburg, but OKed a licence for a gas power plant in Wondelgem (Ghent) that will be carbon neutral by 2040.

Ms Demir’s decision is a blow for the federal government’s plan to close nuclear power plants.  At least two gas power plants are needed in Flanders in case there isn’t enough wind or sun.

Federal energy minister Van de Straeten points out that the planned new station in Vilvoorde will be one of the most modern in the country replacing an existing power plant at the same location.

“This is about how we conduct politics in this country.  Is this a politics of co-operation or obstruction.  This isn’t just about energy, but also about the pandemic and the climate.  Do we want to offer solutions or create problems?  This is about security of supplies in this country.”

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