Expatica news

Belgium seeks to push back closure of two nuclear plants

Belgium’s government announced Thursday plans to extend the service life of two nuclear reactors due to be shut down next year as the country faces the risk of electricity shortages.

The Doel 1 and 2 reactors were due to be the first to be shut down as part of Belgium’s planned phase out of nuclear power by 2025, but the government said it would seek to keep them operating as three of the country’s seven nuclear reactors are currently shut for repairs.

Nuclear accounts for 55 percent of Belgium’s power generation, and the loss of over half of the 5,700 megawatts that the plants provide has caused concerns of a shortage or even a blackout.

A reactor that produces 1,038 megawatts of electricity is due to come back on line next week, and regulators have put in place special measures to help meet Belgium’s needs.

Belgium’s nuclear regulator said several hurdles would need to be met before it gave a green light to letting them stay open, including from operator Electrabel, a unit of French energy company GDF-Suez, to step up safety measures at the ageing plants.