The European Commission has approved Belgium’s plans to provide state aid for three nuclear power reactors.
In 2014 and 2015, the nation signed two agreements with ENGIE Electrabel and EDF to extend the operational lifetime of the reactors Doel 1, Doel 2 and Tihange.
Under the agreements, the companies committed to invest around €1.3 billion in exchange for authorisation to run the plants for another 10 years.
The firms would receive financial compensation if Belgium decides to close the reactors before the end of the 10-year period, modifies the level of nuclear tax to be paid by the owners or makes any economic changes of the agreements.
Belgian authorities said the guarantees were necessary to secure the investment of the companies.
The Commission states: “The Commission concluded that Belgium has demonstrated that the measures avoid undue distortions of the Belgian energy market. There will be an obligation on ENGIE Electrabel, i.e. the major player on Belgian electricity markets, to sell on regulated electricity markets each year a volume equivalent to ENGIE Electrabel’s share of the annual production of Tihange 1, Doel 1 and Doel 2.
“It will ensure liquidity on Belgian electricity markets and help increase competition between electricity suppliers. On this basis, the Commission has approved the measures under EU state aid rules.”
Earlier this month the Commission also approved Hungary’s financial support for the construction of two new nuclear reactors.