One of the four reactors of the Belgian Doel power plant is disconnected “for good” despite the impending energy crisis
One of the reactors of the Doel nuclear power plant in Belgium will stop working on Friday “for real,” his operator confirmed. Despite the impending energy crisis, exacerbated by sanctions against Moscow following the Ukrainian conflict, the Belgian government has decided to proceed with the long-planned nuclear phase-out.
The energy company Electrabel explained in a statement that the Doel 3 reactor would be disconnected in accordance with the 2003 law on “the phasing out of nuclear energy for the production of industrial electricity.”
“This means that Doel 3 is the first Belgian nuclear power plant to permanently stop producing electricity”, the company said.
On the last day of operation of the reactor, dozens of people took part in a demonstration against the closure of Doel 3. “Why shut down clean nuclear power in a worsening energy and climate crisis?“, we read on a banner.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Belgian electricity operator Elia told AFP it had “Sufficient production capacity to meet demand.”
The seven Belgian reactors, divided between the nuclear power plants of Doel and Tihange and covering around half of the country’s electricity needs, were to close by 2025.
However, fears of a harsh winter prompted a review of those plans. In March, the government decided to extend the operation of Doel 4 and Tihange 3 by ten years. Earlier this month, the coalition government resumed heated debates on the postponement of the closure of nuclear power plants.
In addition to the problems related to Ukraine, Belgium could face a decrease in electricity supply from neighboring France. France, which depends on nuclear energy more than any other European country, now has more than half of its 56 nuclear reactors shut down for maintenance. On Thursday, President Emmanuel Macron said France would have to import electricity this winter.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has previously likened EU attempts to cut itself off from Russian fossil fuels to economic problems. “suicide.”