Belgium explores lifetime extension of its oldest nuclear plants

Belgium is exploring whether the lifetime of its oldest nuclear power plants can be extended, a government source confirmed to Belga following reports by VTM and HLN. The Doel 1, Doel 2 and Tihange 1 power plants were scheduled to shut down in 2025 as part of the country's nuclear phase-out.

The Belgian federal government has asked the country's nuclear safety watchdog FANC to investigate whether the lifetime of its oldest nuclear power plants can be extended. Earlier this year, Belgium reached an agreement to extend the lifetime of two of its nuclear reactors, Doel 4 and Tihange 3. The same script is now being explored for Doel 1, Doel 2 and Tihange 1, the three remaining nuclear reactors scheduled to shut down in 2025.

Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo and Energy Minister Tinne Van der Straeten were instructed to contact the plant operator, prepare a safety file and submit it to FANC. The life extension would involve adjusting fuel consumption to allow the plants to run for longer, as well as using additional fuel. 

The lifetime extension analysis should be ready by the end of March and will allow Belgium to make decisions in view of possible energy shortages in the future. According to high-voltage operator Elia, there could be a power shortage of between 900 megawatts and 1.2 gigawatts at peak consumption during the winters of 2025-2026 and 2026-2027.





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