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Belgium nuclear soap continues

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 
Peer de Rijk – Director, World Information Service on Energy

The story of the much-plagued Belgium reactors (Tihange 1-3 and Doel 1-4) continues. It's almost impossible to keep track of the number of incidents and accidents. The Belgium government wants to extend the life of these reactors (see Nuclear Monitor #815, 3 Dec 2015) and has reached an agreement with the owner, Electrabel.

While this agreement is still to be debated in the Parliament (mid-February), more and more people in both Belgium and neighboring Netherlands are getting uneasy and angry about the ongoing sequence of accidents and incidents. So much so that the Dutch Minister responsible for nuclear safety, Schultz van Haegen, was forced to organize a 'bilateral co-inspection'. She visited the Doel reactors on January 20, accompanied by the Belgium Minister Jambon and the Dutch and Belgium safety regulators, FANC and the ANVS.

As both Germany and Luxembourg have asked (or more or less demanded) Belgium to close at least the reactors where cracks were found (Tihange 2 and Doel 3), WISE urged the Dutch Minister to do the same – as more and more Dutch local city councils are also demanding more action from the national Dutch authorities.

The official report on the visit to be made by FANC and ANVS is still pending but the Belgium and Dutch Ministers came out of the site with the clear will to comfort people, claiming that most of the incidents are at the non-nuclear parts of the plants, the media is making it into a big issue, we and our safety people take care, we will be communicating more from now on, we will act responsibly in case of real danger, etc.

WISE organized a small action at the gates of Doel during the visit of the Minsters and organized a very successful gathering in the closest Dutch town, 20 kms from Doel, where 150 people came together to talk about possible activities. We are also building new alliances with all kinds of Belgium NGO's and citizen's initiatives.

More information:

Belgium: Reactor restarts and lifespan extensions but 2025 phase-out law remains, Nuclear Monitor #815,

Belgium and the END of nuclear power, Nuclear Monitor #800,