Belgian minister to urge delay to nuclear phase out

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Belgian Energy Minister Paul Magnette proposed on Friday the extension of the use of three nuclear reactors due to be phased out in 2015 for another 10 years, media reported.

"This delay would guarantee security of supply, limit the production of carbon dioxide and allow us to maintain prices that protect consumer purchasing power and the competitiveness of our companies," he said late on Thursday.

Magnette's stance is in line with recommendations by a group of international experts, dubbed GEMIX, set up by the government, whose findings he received on Thursday.

Their mandate had been to study the best mix of energy sources to ensure security of supply in Belgium until 2020-2030.

Belgium has two nuclear plants. One in Doel, in the northern region of Flanders, and one Tihange in the south. They have a total of seven reactors between them.

Under government plans from 2003, the oldest reactors, Doel 1 and 2, which went on line in 1974 and 1975, and Tihange 1, which has been running since 1975, were to be phased out in 2015.

Belgium derives around 55% of its electricity from nuclear power.


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