Rtl today – gradual exit: Belgium to shut down all nuclear reactors by 2025
Belgium will shut down its seven nuclear reactors by 2025 but will not close the door to next-generation nuclear technology, according to an agreement reached by the coalition government on Thursday.
A government source told AFP that the overnight negotiations included an agreement to “invest around 100 million euros ($ 1.1 million) in small modular reactors.”
A press conference is scheduled to take place at the headquarters of the Prime Minister’s office at 10:00 GMT to present the details.
The gradual phase-out of nuclear power has been enshrined in Belgian law since 2003.
The end date is 2025, a goal the current government pledged to achieve when it takes office in October 2020.
But the issue split the seven-party ruling coalition made up of Greens, Socialists and Liberals under Prime Minister Alexander De Croo.
The French-speaking liberal party MR has spoken out against the total abandonment of nuclear power, the strategy proposed by the Flemish Minister of Green Energy Tinne Van der Straeten.
They said part of Belgium’s current nuclear capacity should be kept because new gas-fired power plants planned to secure the energy supply were too polluting.
Belgian television station RTBF reported that a ministerial meeting had agreed to invest in “renewable and carbon neutral energies”, including next-generation nuclear power.
The government source told AFP that the technology investment budget had already been prepared.
The source added that the compromise retains “scenario A” of the Minister of Energy and “confirms the investment mechanism put in place to replace the current nuclear, which is obsolete”.
Nuclear power has also divided other EU member states as the bloc contests to include it, along with natural gas, on the bloc’s list of sustainable energy sources eligible for investment.
The list – known as the European Union’s “taxonomy” – exists to promote greener energy and facilitate the transition to a carbon-neutral future.
Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton said on Monday he expected the list to include nuclear power and natural gas when he presented in January.
But critics say nuclear power is not climate friendly and should be phased out in favor of other energy sources.