D66 rejects talks on nuclear plant closure

25th February 2005, Comments 0 comments

25 February 2005 , AMSTERDAM — The Borssele nuclear reactor is likely to close in 2013 as planned after the Democrat D66 refused on Thursday night to deviate from the coalition government accord that stipulated the energy plant's closure.

25 February 2005

AMSTERDAM — The Borssele nuclear reactor is likely to close in 2013 as planned after the Democrat D66 refused on Thursday night to deviate from the coalition government accord that stipulated the energy plant's closure.

The emergency debate was held after Foreign Minister Ben Bot and Environment State Secretary Pieter van Geel recently proposed keeping the plant open longer than scheduled.

Bot had urged for continued debate around nuclear energy, while Van Geel said the cost of closing the Borssele plant could amount to EUR 1 billion and the money would be better used for investment in sustainable energy.

Green-left GroenLinks demanded answers in Parliament, but Van Geel refused to release the findings of a report into eventual compensation to be paid to plant operator EPZ. The debate will be resumed in March.

Coalition government party Christian Democrat CDA said it would discuss the matter again at that time, but is open to continued talks around nuclear energy. The party assumes that the Netherlands will use more nuclear power in future.

The Liberal VVD has always been in favour of keeping the plant operating, but D66 urged on Thursday night for its closure as scheduled.

The plant will only remain open beyond 2013 if all three government parties back its continued operations. At this stage, D66 stands in the way of such a decision.

But D66 is also at odds with the populist LPF and small Christian party SGP, both of which are in favour of continued discussions about Borssele's future. Together with the VVD and CDA, this creates a parliamentary majority in favour of discussing the future of nuclear energy.

State Secretary Van Geel tried to explain to MPs on Thursday why the closure of the nuclear power plant would prove difficult despite the decision taken in the coalition government accord. EPZ has refused to co-operate with the closure.

Forcing the closure of the plant will thus cost the government a large sum in compensation, Van Geel said. The junior minister had previously informed MPs by letter that the government might have to pay compensation to EPZ ranging from several hundred million euros to EUR 1 billion.
 
He rejected criticism on Thursday that he acted carelessly in releasing the information. The Labour PvdA had earlier accused the state secretary of trying to sabotage the closure of the plant by giving away the government's bargaining position.

Both he and Economic Affairs Minister Laurens-Jan Brinkhorst assured the Parliament on Thursday that they will stick to the coalition accord "until further instructions".

But Van Geel also said he entered into discussions with Borssele with "tied hands" because old legislation still exists dating back to the 1960s allowing nuclear power plants.

He has submitted a new legislative proposal to the Council of State for advice, but the Borssele plant will still demand compensation despite the new legislation.

GroenLinks is demanding that Van Geel abide by the coalition government accord and submitted a motion demanding that the auditor general conduct a second calculation of the costs of closing Borssele. The parliament will vote on the motion next week.

[Copyright Expatica News + Novum Nieuws 2005]

Subject: Dutch news + Dutch nuclear energy

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