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Belgium and Engie agree on nuclear reactor extension and waste management

The Belgian Government and the French energy group Engie have reached an agreement to extend the lifetime of the Doel 4 and Tihange 3 nuclear reactors (2 GW) by 10 years.

The deal, which follows a non-binding agreement in principle signed in January 2023, comprises a commitment from both parties to restart the nuclear units of Doel 4 and Tihange 3 as early as November 2026, or, subject to the effective implementation of an announced relaxation of regulations, as early as November 2025, with the aim to strengthen the security of supply in Belgium. The agreement is also planning for the establishment of a legal structure dedicated to the two extended nuclear units, equally owned by the Belgian State and Engie, aligning the interests of the two parties. In addition, the agreement with Engie also sets a fixed amount of future costs related to waste management costs, covering all of Engie’s nuclear reactors in Belgium, and amounting to a total of €15bn.

In December 2021, the Belgian government pledged to close all nuclear power plants by 2025, i.e. Doel (2.9 GW) near Antwerp and Tihange (3 GW) near Liège. However, it had reserved itself the right to extend operations on the Tihange 3 and Doel 4 reactors depending on the security level of supply.

At the end of 2022, nuclear accounted for 21% of Belgium’s installed capacity with 5.9 GW and 46% of its power generation with 50.6 TWh. The country has a total of 7 reactors (4 in Doel and 3 in Tihange), two of which were permanently shut down in September 2022 (Doel 3) and January 2023 (Tihange 2).

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