“It’s not realistic,” Engie said recently.

The Russian war in Ukraine and the desire of European countries to stop relying on Russia for energy imports have disrupted the supply strategies of certain countries. Although it had planned to phase out nuclear power in 2025, Belgium decided on Friday to postpone the deadline by 10 years. In fact, the Alexander de Crew coalition has decided to extend the life of the Doel 4 and Tianju 3 reactors to 2035. Meanwhile, the 2003 denuclearization plan stipulates that all power plants will be closed by 2025. At the same time, it accelerates the transition to renewable energy.

“Everyone knows that there is a war in Europe,” explained Alexander de Crew at a press conference after several hours of government meetings. The Belgian Prime Minister said, “We choose certainty at times of uncertainty. We have decided that we can extend the two reactors for 10 years.”

In reality, Belgium has little dependence on Russia for gas supply, but more on oil (about 40%).

Engie studies feasibility

The two newest reactors in the country, which went into operation in 1985, are operated by Engie and need to be agreed upon. Headache for the French group. Just recently, on March 7, Engie’s managing director, Catherine MacGregor, was preparing to shut down two Belgian reactors operated by the group scheduled for October 2022 and February 2023. He explained to Les Echos, “I will rarely return to it.” Be realistic. ” today, The French group is still reserved, but promises to “contribute to this reflection by studying with the government the feasibility and conditions for implementing the possible solutions.”

“The decision to extend Tihange 3 and Doel 4 poses significant safety, regulatory, and implementation constraints, and its unpredictability and scale present a risk profile that goes beyond the operator’s normal activity.” He added.

“The scheme chosen should enable structural alignment of stakeholder interests and appropriate sharing of risks and opportunities.”

Tihange 3 is a 1,038 MW reactor on the Meuse River in Liege, eastern Belgium. Doel 4 is a 1,039 MW reactor near Antwerp. Currently, nuclear power accounts for about 40% of the electricity produced in Belgium. To compensate for the shutdown of the seven reactors, the Kingdom specifically planned to build a new gas-fired power plant for a successful energy conversion. However, the permit for one of them planned for the Flemish municipality of Vilvoorde has not yet been granted. At the beginning of November, the Flemish Region Minister of the Environment actually denied permission to Engie, the last-chosen operator of the auction system developed at the federal level. However, this plant is an important piece of government system to ensure supply security. An alternative, according to government sources interviewed in December, envisions choosing another piece of equipment that was not selected during the auction, if already permitted. The agreement of the seven coalition partners will provide an investment of approximately € 100 million in the research of a new generation of nuclear power, the “safer” small modular reactor (SMR).

The promise of a gradual withdrawal from nuclear energy has been enshrined in Belgian law since 2003. It cost 14 billion euros.

Increased renewable energy

The Belgian government has also announced a “boost” of renewable energy through “additional investment” in offshore wind, hydrogen, solar energy and sustainable mobility. The Greens have created a condition to join the politically vulnerable coalition of the seven parties, subject to the phasing out of nuclear power in 2025. It was painfully discovered in 2020, more than a year after the uncertain elections. However, as Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 and energy prices soared, the party announced that it would agree to consider another scenario.

Massive protests have been made against two older reactors (Tihange 2 and Doel 3) in Germany and other neighboring countries since experts discovered thousands of small cracks in the reactor pressure vessel in 2012. ..

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