Expatica news

Question mark over nuclear phase-out

2 September 2004

BRUSSELS – The phase-out of nuclear energy in Belgium is hanging in the balance, it was revealed on Thursday.

With the ink barely dry on the law to decommission the country’s nuclear plants, Energy Minister Marc Verwilghen has already called the legislation into question.

The law, which was passed two years ago by the Verhofstadt administration, foresees a gradual phase-out between 2015 and 2025 of Belgium’s seven nuclear reactors.

Between them these reactors produce 60 percent of the country’s energy.

Verwilghen now intends to launch a study of Belgium’s predicted electricity needs from 2015.

If the best solution remains to provide electricity through nuclear fission then the law will have to be brought back to the negotiating table, he says.

It would not be logical to end nuclear power in Belgium only to start buying power from French reactors, Verwilghen argued.

His comments have sparked fury among Green politicians including as Olivier Deleuze, the previous secretary of state for energy, as the current law was born out of years of fiery debate.

But there appears to be little consensus in the corridors of power about how to tackle such a sensitive political issue.

[Copyright Expatica 2004]

Subject: Belgian news