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Belgium will shut seven nuclear power plants between 2022 and 2025. The decision was confirmed at the end of 2020 by Alexander De Croo’s coalition government. But the plan would see the country reliant on its neighbours for the supply of electricity – something that was blamed on the increasing integration of the European Union.
Frexit campaigner Florian Philippot warned France must not fall under the same trap as he branded the plan “delusional”.
The leader of Les Patriotes said: “Belgium stops nuclear power between 2022 and 2025 and ‘then relies on its neighbours to supply it with electricity’.
“Taste for addiction, national suicide: characteristic features of belonging to the EU.
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“France must not follow this deadly path!”
Under the plan, Doel 3 and Tihange 2 will be shut down in 2022 and 2023, respectively.
The newer Doel 4 and Tihange 3 will be shut down by 2025.
However, the agreement also calls for a report on Belgium’s security of electricity supply and the impact on electricity prices of the nuclear phase-out and the planned implementation of a capacity market.
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If the report – to be completed by November 2021 – shows potential supply problems, the government would review plans to allow for the retention of 2 GWe of nuclear generation capacity.
This could pave the way for a lifetime extension of Doel 4 and Tihange 3.
A spokesman for the energy company said: “Being a responsible operator, Electrabel works in strict compliance with the law.
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“Electrabel staff are therefore preparing the shutdown and dismantling of Doel 3 and Tihange 2.
“As for Tihange 3 and Doel 4, an extension is only possible when certain legal, financial and technical constraints are taken into account, which require a decision by the end of 2020 at the latest, as has already been made known to the authorities.
“The operator is responsible for safely managing a possible shutdown and the dismantling and must begin preparing the necessary studies.
“Consequently, Electrabel must now prepare both scenarios: a full phase-out and a partial extension.”
To allow the closure of the nuclear fleet, Belgium is counting on international trade, renewable energies and flexibility measures.
It has doubled its interconnection capacities with neighbouring countries, increased renewable capacities and it wishes to have a reserve capacity mechanism based on peak natural gas power plants.
The decision came as the European Commission announced last year its commitment to the European Green Deal which aims to transform the bloc form a high to a low-carbon economy.
Commission President Ursula von Der Leyen called it “Europe’s man on the moon moment”.
The deal will work through a framework of regulation and legislation setting clear overarching targets – a bloc-wide goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050, and a 50 percent-55 percent cut in emissions by 2030 (compared with 1990 levels) are supposed to be at the core – alongside incentives to encourage private sector investment, with action plans for key sectors and goals such as halting species loss, cutting waste and better use of natural resources.
Back in March, Mrs von der Leyen said: “The European green deal is our new growth strategy – a strategy for growth that gives back more than it takes away.”
Europe has cut emissions by roughly one quarter since 1990 – good but nowhere near enough to put the bloc on track to net zero by mid-century. Current measures will not suffice for that – disruptive change is required, which is why the green deal targets are key.
The Commission predicted that at least €1 trillion needs to be found over the next decade to fund the ambitious project.
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