Nuclear life extension saves 1,000 jobs

Some 1,000 jobs will be saved by extending the operating lives of Belgium's Doel 4 and Tihange 3 nuclear reactors. Thierry Saegeman, CEO of operator Engie Electrabel, confirmed this on Thursday during a visit by prime minister Alexander De Croo to the Tihange nuclear power plant.

Engie and the Belgian government reached an agreement last month to extend the life of Doel 4 and Tihange 3, Belgium's youngest reactors. During De Croo's visit to Tihange, Saegeman spoke of the impact on employment.

Jobs secured

"This agreement extends the employment of 300 to 350 people at this site in Tihange alone," he said. "In total, including subcontractors, we estimate that 1,000 jobs will be secured for Tihange and Doel. The next step will be to train our teams to decommission."

De Croo reiterated the importance of the agreement with Engie. "It is about securing our country's energy supply and not being dependent on other states, while at the same time reducing our carbon emissions," he said. "Belgium is moving from 10 years of nuclear uncertainty to 10 years of certainty."

Nuclear exit

A 2003 law stipulated that Belgium's seven nuclear reactors would be decommissioned after 40 years of operation. Specifically, Tihange 1 and Doel 1 and 2, the country's oldest reactors, would be shut down in 2015. The other four reactors, Tihange 2 and 3 and Doel 3 and 4, would be closed by 2025 at the latest.

Belgium's nuclear phase-out began last autumn with the closure of Doel 3, followed by Tihange 2 earlier this year. Doel 1 and 2 will be shut down with Tihange 1 in 2025. Tihange 3 and Doel 4 will remain open until 2035, as recently agreed with the operator Engie.



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