Denny Baert / VRT NWS

“You can only count on nuclear from 2027”

Thierry Saegeman, CEO of Belgian electricity generator Engie Electrabel, has indicated that keeping the country’s two youngest nuclear reactors running will be “difficult” and that work to achieve this will only be complete in 2027.

This means that Belgium will only be able to count on the two youngest reactors, Doel 4 and Tihange 3,  running after 2027.

Belgium was supposed to phase out nuclear power in 2025 but given increased energy uncertainty as a result of Russia’s war on Ukraine the federal government decided last week to keep the two youngest reactors open.

The matter still needs to be talked through with electricity generator Engie Electrabel that earlier said it was too late for a reprieve.

Mr Saegeman still says the government’s decision has come too late.  He believes it won’t be possible to carry out the necessary work to keep the two reactors open by the winter of 2026.

“There is a 5-year calendar ahead of us.  You can’t compress it.  You can see the life of nuclear reactors extended but only from June 2027”.

The CEO believes the reactors will probably have to be taken out of service to allow modernisation work to proceed.  He adds that the situation is being complicated by the fact that the oldest reactors will need to be dismantled as the youngest are updated.

“I’m seriously worried about how we will accomplish this.  Do we possess the competent people?  The right number?  Enough contractors?  It all looks very problematic”.

The Belgian government can look forward to difficult discussions with the generator.

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