Doel 4 and Tihange 3 nuclear power plants cleared to operate for another decade

The Belgian Doel 4 and Tihange 3 nuclear power plants will remain open for another 10 years from November 2026. Prime Minister De Croo announced that he has concluded an agreement in principle with the energy company Engie.

“This agreement is a first crucial step and an important sign of trust between both parties,” De Croo said on Twitter. Last March, the Belgian government already announced that it would keep the two youngest nuclear power plants open longer and still not close them by the end of 2025. But an agreement still had to be concluded with the owner.

The Belgian nuclear watchdog FANC still needs approval for keeping the power plants open.

Nuclear energy has always been a hot topic in Belgium. At first, after years of negotiations, it was decided to close all nuclear power plants. The war in Ukraine changed that. Many countries, including Belgium, are looking hard for alternatives to Russian gas.

Engie and the Belgian government have also agreed on the costs. Thus, the government does not become the operator of the nuclear power plants. The intention is therefore that Engie will pay the costs for the management of the nuclear waste. However, the Belgian state will share the risks and profits with the energy company. They will establish a joint venture for this purpose.

How the exact distribution of costs will look like remains to be determined in the coming period. It is therefore an agreement in principle. By the end of the year, the deal between Engie and the Belgian government should be fully finalised.

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