The Government of Belgium is pulling back from the shutdown of its country's nuclear power plants. The plan was to stop relying on this technology in 2025, but the energy crisis has led the Belgian Prime Minister to announce that the country will continue to include this technology in its mix for a few more years.
Last March 18 2022, the Prime Minister of Belgium Alexander De Croo announced that the country's Federal Government had decided "to take the necessary measures to lengthen for a further ten years the operation of the most recent nuclear reactors." In his Twitter account he said that, at the same time, they were "accelerating the transition to renewable sources" as they are considered to be "the best pathway to energy independence."
Belgium will operate its most recent nuclear reactor for a further ten years
Currently, in Belgium, there are seven nuclear reactors in operation (Doel 1, 2 and 3 and Tihange 1, 2 and) and one in shutdown. In 2020, nuclear power contributed 39.1% of the country's electricity, according to data from the United Nations' International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
In 2020, almost 40% of the electricity in Blefium came from nuclear sources
During the month of December 2021, the Belgian coalition Government announced that it was putting an end to the country's nuclear power in 2025, in line with the plans of their predecessors, as long as the safety of the electricity supply was not affected. In this sense, in the month of July, the Federal Planning Office published a report indicating that the early shutdown of nuclear power will increase emissions of greenhouse-effect gases as well as energy imports. According to the Government's initial plans, nuclear power would provide 35% of the electricity consumed in the country in 2023 but it would be reduced to zero at the beginning of 2026. These shutdown plans have recently changed following the announcement of the Belgium Prime Minister of the long-time operation of the most recent reactors.
The long-term operation is a common practice in many countries to guarantee electric supply and reduce emissions
The long-term operation of nuclear power plants is a common practice in many countries to guarantee electric supply and reduce polluting emissions. On December 31, 2021, 186 nuclear reactors in 18 different countries had received authorization from the various regulating organizations to operate beyond 40 years. They represent over 40% of the existing nuclear reactors (there are currently 442 reactors in operation in the world according to IAEA data).