Bot presses for open mind on nuclear energy
15 February 2005, AMSTERDAM — Foreign Minister Ben Bot has re-visited the nuclear energy taboo, asserting that the Netherlands should keep open the possibility of clean nuclear power.
15 February 2005
AMSTERDAM — Foreign Minister Ben Bot has re-visited the nuclear energy taboo, asserting that the Netherlands should keep open the possibility of clean nuclear power.
The coalition government accord confirms the planned closure of the Borssele plant — the nation's last remaining nuclear energy plant — but Bot said the Netherlands should not become too dependent on foreign-produced energy.
Speaking at a reading in The Hague on Monday, the Christian Democrat CDA minister warned that due, in part, to the dissipation of Dutch gas fields, the nation was growing more dependent on "fickle raw material suppliers outside of Europe".
"I am not saying that we must build new nuclear power stations, but we must continue investigations into nuclear energy. Solar and wind energy will not be sufficient," he said.
Bot also said the taboo regarding the use of nuclear power did not exist in Britain and France. He called for stronger European legislation regulating efficient use of energy. He demanded that industry be forced to bring more fuel-efficient and cleaner cars onto the market.
According to Bot, dependency on energy from risk areas such as the Middle East posed a threat to Europe. A "complacent and careless" Europe also threatened to miss the boat now that China and India were reporting economic growth which could soon see them overtake Europe.
"Europe is indeed developing quickly, but possibly not quickly enough to keep pace with the developments elsewhere in the world," he said.
Domestically, the Borssele nuclear power plant is scheduled to close in 2013 as the Dutch government turns its back on nuclear energy. It is hoped that windmill parks in the North Sea and smaller parks on land will provide sufficient year-round energy to all 6 million Dutch households by 2020.
The Dutch Parliament has long held an anti-nuclear stance. Besides wind energy, efforts are thus being focused on building up biomass energy production and efficient power use.
The cabinet has also resolved to utilise more fully the gas field in the province of Groningen, which is the largest in Western Europe. The gas fields underneath the environmentally-sensitive Wadden Sea will be reached by drilling in a diagonal direction from off the mainland.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Dutch news