Belgium's Doel nuclear power plant. (Photo: N. Hippert/IAEA)
Unit 3 at the Doel nuclear power plant has become Belgium’s first reactor to be permanently shuttered, in keeping with that nation’s nuclear phaseout policy. The 1,006-MWe pressurized water reactor, which began commercial operation in October 1982, was removed from service last Friday at 9:31 p.m. (local time).
Belgium’s nuclear reactor fleet now consists of six operating units: Doel-1, -2, and -4 and Tihange-1, -2, and -3. Next on the retirement list is Tihange-2, scheduled to be shut down in February 2023.
The Doel nuclear power plant in Belgium along with the De Molen windmill in foreground. (Photo: Trougnouf)
The Belgian government has signed a nonbinding letter of intent with Electrabel, a subsidiary of the French utility Engie, to keep nuclear a part of Belgium’s energy mix for an additional 10 years.
Electrabel operates Belgium’s two nuclear power plants, the four-unit Doel and three-unit Tihange.
The Doel nuclear power plant in Belgium.
In a move motivated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the sky-high energy prices hitting Europe as a result, the Belgian government last Friday announced its intention to extend the operational life of two of its nuclear power reactors, Doel-4 and Tihange-3, through 2035.
The Tihange nuclear power plant in Belgium. (Photo: Electrabel)
Belgium’s seven-party coalition government this morning announced via press conference a tentative agreement to close the nation’s two nuclear power plants by 2025, confirming a commitment made in October of last year when it took office. Plant closures are scheduled to begin in 2022.
Engie Electrabel’s four-unit Doel nuclear plant, in East Flanders, Belgium. Units 1, 2, and 4 are to be closed in 2025; Unit 3 is to be shuttered in 2022. (Photo: Torsade de Pointes)
A pronuclear think tank in Belgium has written a letter to the country’s prime minister, Alexander De Croo, urging him to reevaluate the government’s plan to phase out nuclear power generation by 2025 and replace it with gas power.