The Belgian government has signed a non-binding letter of intent with French utility group Engie to extend the life of two nuclear power plants by 10 years. The preliminary agreement specifically concerns the Doel 4 and Tihange 3 nuclear power plants, which have a combined capacity of around 2,000 megawatts.
The two sides will reach a legal agreement by the end of 2022 to restart operations at the reactor in November 2026, subject to regulatory approval. Belgium had previously planned to fully withdraw from nuclear power by 2025.
In March 2022, the government reversed a decision to extend the life of two nuclear reactors, Doel 4 and Tihange 3. The decision is based on major geopolitical changes in Europe, notably Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and the impact on neighboring countries' natural gas supplies.
Belgium plans to reduce its reliance on fossil fuel imports from Russia, where power plants rely on natural gas. In the joint agreement in principle, the Belgian government and Engie have agreed on the relevant modalities of the future approach, timing and negotiation framework.
The parties will create a new company to share risks and benefits in a stable and sustainable structure. Operators of power plants will finance the costs of dismantling nuclear plants and managing fissile material and radioactive waste. Keywords: engineering news, overseas news
The Belgian government said in its statement that the cost of waste and spent nuclear fuel management will be determined after the study, and discussions around caps and risk premiums will follow. An expert working group will also be established. All with a view to reaching a final agreement and submitting it to the European Commission by the end of the year. The federal government has in principle stressed the importance of the agreement. It is a sign of trust between the two parties and is important to the security of supply for the nation.Editor/XingWentao