Engie demands 1.3 billion euros from Belgian government due to its slow decision-making

Engie not only disagrees with the €3.3 billion increase in nuclear commissions that the Belgian government is demanding, the company is also claiming €1.3 billion back. The energy company claims that the government is too slow in outlining a policy for the disposal of nuclear waste, leading to additional costs.

Normally, there should have been final clarity on the disposal of nuclear waste by 2015. That disposal has been the subject of scientific research for years. Only in late November a first royal decree was published, stating that nuclear waste can be disposed of deep underground.

Because of the slow decision-making process, Engie is incurring additional costs by having to temporarily store the nuclear waste itself, said the company in a press release. It estimates the costs to be around 1.3 billion euros. "Engie will examine what legal remedies it has to obtain from the government the necessary regulatory clarification and to recover the damages suffered."

Engie also disagrees with the extra nuclear commissions it has to pay. The operator of Belgium's nuclear power plants received an additional bill of 3.3 billion euros by the Nuclear Supply Commission, on top of the 14.5 billion already in the nuclear deposit box. The commission cites lower interest rates and rising costs for storing nuclear waste as reasons for the new bill.

But Engie calls that amount "disproportionate". In its own proposal, the company had suggested an increase of 900 million. Belgium already has the highest commissions in Europe, Engie says. It will now submit an amended proposal. Afterwards, it will consider whether to go to the Market Court, a special chamber of the Brussels Court of Appeal.


The Doel nuclear power plant in the harbour of Antwerp. © BELGA PHOTO NICOLAS MAETERLINCK


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