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IEA advises Belgium to reconsider nuclear phase-out

May 24, 2016

On 19 May, the International Energy Agency (IEA) published a report entitled Energy Policies of IEA Countries: Belgium 2016 Review, which recommends that Belgium should adopt a national long-term energy strategy without delay and should reconsider its nuclear phase-out policy in order to secure its energy supply while reducing its CO2 emissions and boosting its economy.

Nuclear energy accounts for almost half of Belgium’s electricity generation, but according to the current phase-out plan its nuclear power plants (NPPs) should be shut down between 2022 and 2025. The 2012 revised phase-out plan extended the operational duration of Tihange 1 reactor for 10 more years until 2025. Doel 1 and 2 reactors were supposed to shut down in 2015 (when they reached 40 years of operation) in accordance with the 2003 phase-out law. In October 2014, the new government reached an agreement granting Doel 1 and 2 a 10 year extension of their operational duration. However, under the agreement the two reactors will not be allowed to operate beyond 2025.

The report highlights that this would seriously threaten Belgium’s efforts to secure electricity supply and provide affordable low-carbon electricity. Thus the IEA advises Belgium to allow its NPPs to operate as long as they are considered safe by the regulator. “To secure its energy supply and reach its climate and economic targets, Belgium should consider extending the lifetime of its nuclear power plants beyond 2025, if safety requirements are met. 2025 is very soon. In my opinion, Belgium is not ready for such a change.” said Fatih Birol, IEA Executive Director, on 20 May.

For further information, please read the IEA report.

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