Government agrees new compromise on phasing out nuclear

Belgian government parties have reached a new compromise agreement on the phasing out of nuclear energy generation in the country.  The main option is the closure of all nuclear power plants by 2025.

During the night key federal ministers reached agreement on a plan to ensure energy provision. Plan A envisages the closure of nuclear plants by 2025 and the use of gas power plants to make good any shortfall.  Under plan B the life of the youngest nuclear plants can be extended, though the power generator has already made it clear this isn’t really an option.

A final decision is expected on 18 March. Belgium legislated to phase out nuclear power generation by 2025 as early as 2003.  The federal coalition accord also includes this point, but the Francophone liberals have been pressing for a revision of the plans amid fears of energy shortages.

Plan A that envisages the construction of gas plants to replace nuclear is being strengthened. By 15 March the government hopes to know whether planning permission has finally been granted for a new gas plant in Vilvoorde.

If this fails, under Plan B options of building a gas plant elsewhere will also be examined.  Under the compromise research will also be undertaken into the construction of small nuclear plants, the so called SMRs.  New legislation will also bind Belgium to become climate neutral by 2050 as far as energy needs are concerned.

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