Politicians negotiating the next coalition government of Belgium have agreed to phase out nuclear power in line with a 2003 law, while increasing taxes on the industry, a person familiar with the discussions said Monday.
“There is a confirmation that the plants will close, and nuclear will become a transition energy in Belgium,” the person said. “The government will set out a plan for the move to alternative power sources in the six months following its installation.”
Belgium agreed to exit nuclear power generation in 2003, but successive governments—or lack of them—meant this law was never enacted. The law planned for all seven Belgian nuclear reactors to be closed by 2025, with the process planned to start in 2015 when reactors at Tihange and Doel reach 40 years of service.
There will be a “certain flexibility” of these dates, the person said, with the new government planning to consult investors and producers before deciding, and plans to make the energy market more competitive.
There are also plans to increase the “rente nucléaire,” a tax levied on producers of nuclear power, and to spend part of the receipts on investing in renewable energy sources in the North Sea.
Earlier this month, GDF Suez SA said it would reconsider its investment policy if the Belgian government changes the conditions under which it operates. The company also said it would challenge the tax increase with all legal means.