“Nothing’s certain yet. Nothing’s been decided.”

VRT’s energy expert Luc Pauwels attended the federal government’s news conference on its new compromise on phasing out nuclear energy and has analysed this latest twist in the nuclear phase-out story.

“PM De Croo speaks of Plan A.  That’s the phase out and replacement by gas, but energy minister Van der Straeten (Flemish green) says there’s also a Plan B that involves keeping existing nuclear reactors online if not enough gas plants can be built”.

A study conducted by the FANC, the Federal Agency for Nuclear Controls, should tell us in January whether it’s safe to extend the life of the country’s two youngest reactors.  In March the government will examine whether a new gas plant can be built in Vilvoorde.  If not, an alternative will be sought.

“An auction will be held for new gas plants, but now we are talking about the autumn”.

The government’s agreement speaks of research into small, modern nuclear reactors.  This could be a get-out-of-jail card for the Francophone liberals, who oppose Plan A.  The law doesn’t ban research.

“Modern, small reactors would produce less nuclear waste.  Existing nuclear waste could be recycled, and the waste’s radioactivity life could be cut from 300,000 years to 300 years” says Pauwels.   

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