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Government asks Engie to examine whether the oldest reactors can remain open beyond 2025

The Federal Inner Cabinet is to ask the energy production and supply company Engie whether the three oldest nuclear reactors still in service can remain open beyond 2025. Engie owns and operates Belgium’s two nuclear power stations, at Doel in East Flanders and Tihange in Liège Province. The Doel 1, Doel 2 and Tihange 1 reactors should normally close for good in 2025.

The Federal Government will ask Engie to draw up a safety report on what are Belgium’s oldest nuclear reactors. The report will be submitted to the nuclear watchdog FANC. If FANC were to judge it to be safe to keep the reactors open beyond 2025 this would give the government the option of keeping them open in order to ensure energy supply security through the winters of 2025-2026 and 2026-2027. A decision on how energy supply security can be ensured during these two winters will be made before the end of March.

The Doel 1, Doel 2 and Tihange 1 reactors are due to close in 2025. However, by making them produce less electricity during the summer months the Federal Government hopes that their working lives can be extended by a further 2 years.

The government also wants to refuel the reactors. However, VRT News’ Energy Editor Luc Pauwels says that this would cost tens of millions of euro.

The Federal Prime Minister Alexander De Croo (Flemish liberal) and the Federal Energy Minister Tinne Van der Straeten (Flemish green) will represent the Federal Government at the negotiations with Engie about the Doel 1, Doel 2 and Tihange reactors. Meanwhile, talks about extending the lives of the two newest reactors (Tihange 3 and Doel 4) by a further decade are still ongoing. 

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