Brussels: According to an agreement reached by the coalition government on Thursday, Belgium will close all its seven nuclear reactors by 2025, but will not close the door to a new generation of nuclear technology.
A government source told AFP the all-night negotiations included an agreement of “investments of around 100 million euros ($ 1.1 million) on small modular reactors”.
A press conference is due to take place at the prime minister s office headquarters at 1000 GMT to present the details.
Progressively phasing out nuclear power has been enshrined in Belgian law since 2003.
The final date is 2025, a target the current government committed to meet when it took office in October 2020.
But the issue has divided the governing seven-party coalition of greens, socialists and Prime Minister Alexander De Croo s liberals.
The French-speaking liberal MR party opposes the complete abandonment of nuclear energy. This is a strategy proposed by the Flemish Minister of Green Energy, Tinne Van der Straeten.
They said that part of Belgium’s current nuclear power generation capacity should be retained because the planned new gas-fired power stations to ensure energy supply are too polluting.
The Belgian broadcaster RTBF reported that a ministerial meeting agreed to invest in “renewable and carbon-neutral energy”-including a new generation of nuclear power.
Government sources told Agence France-Presse that the budget for investing in the technology is ready.
The source added that the compromise retains the energy minister s “scenario A” and “confirms the investment mechanism put in place to replace current nuclear power, which is obsolete”.
Nuclear power has also divided other EU member states as the bloc wrangles over including it and natural gas on the bloc s list of sustainable energy sources eligible for investment.
The list — known as the European Union s “taxonomy” — exists to promote greener energies and facilitate the transition to a carbon-neutral future.
Internal market commissioner Thierry Breton on Monday said he expected the list to include nuclear power and natural gas when it is presented in January.
But critics say that nuclear power is not good for the climate and should be phased out and switched to other energy sources.