Elections 2024: Who should I vote for if I want to see more nuclear plants?

In the run-up to the June elections, Belgium's political parties are staking out their positions on key issues. Today we look at where they stand on nuclear energy.

In Belgium, there are two main issues related to nuclear energy. The first concerns the existing nuclear power plants. In 2003, the federal government created the nuclear phase-out law, which stipulates that no new nuclear reactors can be built in Belgium and that the last nuclear plant will be closed in 2025.

Since then, most reactors have been closed. But Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the resulting energy crisis forced the De Croo government to extend the life of the two newest reactors, Doel 4 and Tihange 3, until 2035.

Nuclear life extension

The parties are now debating whether or not to extend the life of these reactors even further. All parties in the centre and on the right, both in Flanders and in Wallonia, want to keep the last remaining reactors open for another 10 years, until 2045.

The parties on the left are divided. Vooruit remains cautious, saying it will "evaluate the role these plants can play in the energy transition", while Groen does not even mention nuclear energy. The PVDA simply says that it "rejects" the current agreement with Engie. Ecolo is the only left-wing party that directly mentions the closure of the remaining reactors by 2035.

More nuclear energy?

The second talking point is the potential construction of new nuclear reactors. Most parties make a distinction between small modular reactors (SMRs) and conventional nuclear power plants.

Most parties seem to agree on funding research into SMRs and other future nuclear technologies. Even PVDA, which opposes nuclear energy, says it is "not against nuclear research". In a 2022 article, Groen states that it is "not against nuclear power plants, provided they are small, safe and without radioactive and dangerous nuclear waste".

Opinions on the construction of large-scale nuclear power plants are more divided. Left-wing parties reject the idea, saying they are too expensive and take too long to build. They want to focus instead on renewable energies such as solar and wind power.

New-generation reactors

But most other parties support some form of nuclear power. The Christian Democrats of the CD&V and the liberals of the Open VLD want to amend or abolish the nuclear phase-out law in order to build smaller new-generation reactors, such as SMRs.

Others are more specific about their construction plans. MR wants to generate up to 12 gigawatt of energy with nuclear power by 2050, and Les Engagés mentions that it wants to build "the equivalent of two to four new nuclear reactors" on existing sites by 2035.

On the right, N-VA wants to prepare the construction of new nuclear power plants, possibly in cooperation with Belgium's neighbours. The far-right Vlaams Belang wants to set up a Flemish energy company to invest in new Flemish nuclear power plants "to minimise our energy dependence on foreign countries".

In the run-up to the elections for the federal, regional and European parliaments on 9 June, Belga English explains how the parties in Belgium want to address today’s challenges. Each day we put the spotlight on one issue.

#FlandersNewsService | The city of Huy and the Tihange nuclear plant. © ​ BELGA PHOTO NICOLAS MAETERLINCK

Related news

Website preview
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...

Get updates in your mailbox

By clicking "Subscribe" I confirm I have read and agree to the Privacy Policy.

About belganewsagency.eu

Belga News Agency delivers dependable, rapid and high-quality information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from Belgium and abroad to all Belgian media. The information covers all sectors, from politics, economics and finance to social affairs, sports and culture, not to mention entertainment and lifestyle.

Every day, our journalists and press photographers produce hundreds of photos and news stories, dozens of online information items, plus audio and video bulletins, all in both national languages. Since the end of March 2022 English has been added as a language.

For public institutions, businesses and various organisations that need reliable information, Belga News Agency also offers a comprehensive range of corporate services to meet all their communication needs.


Arduinkaai 29 1000 Brussels