De Croo suggests 20 more years of nuclear energy
Belgian prime minister Alexander De Croo (Open VLD) believes the next government should consider extending the lifespan of nuclear reactors Doel 4 and Tihange 3 by 20 years. He further suggested that a new extension of Tihange 1's lifespan might appear on the agenda. Opposition party N-VA sees some irony.
The government is examining the final details in negotiations with utility company Engie regarding the extension of the lifespan of the two nuclear reactors. De Croo is eager to discuss further possibilities, saying: "An extension of 10 years is much more than anyone had expected beforehand, but an extension of 20 years is something we should certainly consider. That is something for the next federal government. The current one will not go beyond 10 years."
De Croo reopened a dialogue about Tihange 1 on the sidelines of the European Business Summit in Brussels. The reactor, which will be 50 years old in 2025, has already been mentioned for a possible new extension. De Croo wants to have the reactors reassessed but realises that the analysis may be less favourable after revealing the possibility of a high voltage threat. The reactor does not meet the latest safety requirements. Reactors Doel 3 and Tihange 2 have already closed or present technical challenges.
Bert Wollants, MP for opposition party N-VA, was critical of De Croo's change in opinion. "Ironically, this statement comes from the same man who for years resolutely closed the door to keeping nuclear power plants open and categorised them as 'old junk'. And then there's the precious time wasted by the De Croo government to provide our nuclear power plants with a longer lifespan and thereby ensure future supply," he said.
© BELGA PHOTO ERIC LALMAND