IEA calls on Belgium to reconsider nuclear phase-out policy

Belgium should reconsider its plans to get rid of nuclear generation from its power system by 2025. It also must develop a long term strategy to secure energy supply and […]

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By Jacqueline Echevarria

Belgium should reconsider its plans to get rid of nuclear generation from its power system by 2025.

It also must develop a long term strategy to secure energy supply and guarantee affordable power once it closes its nuclear power stations, the International Energy Agency (IEA) recommends.

Its report states if the country’s nuclear phase-out policy goes ahead, it would bring “serious challenges” to the country as the energy source provides around half of the nation’s electricity generation.

Belgium currently plans to close seven operating reactors between 2022 and 2025.

The IEA believes allowing the plants to run as long as they are considered safe by the regulator would ease electricity security pressures, reduce the costs of electricity generation in the medium term and the phase out itself.

It would also create time for investments in alternative generation options, it adds.

The report also suggests further support to renovate the building stock and switching away from oil in space heating, abolishing direct and indirect subsidies on energy use and replacing them with more targeted measures on citizens and companies in need.

Fatih Birol, IEA Executive Director said: “Our review rings alarm bells due to the lack of private sector investment in the electricity sector. Government efforts to mobilise investment should include an electricity market design that ensures a viable business model for power generation. To avoid a lack of generation capacity in the medium term, Belgium could consider operating their nuclear power plants as long as they are certified to be safe by the regulator.”