Belgium’s Energy Minister, Tinne Van der Straeten, announced the finalization of the agreement with Engie, revealing to VRT that political discussions kick off Monday. This crucial deal on the

extension of the Doel 4 and Tihange 3 nuclear reactors, decided upon in March 2022, aims to secure Belgium's energy independence amidst concerns over reliance on foreign natural gas post Russia's Ukraine invasion.

Following extensive negotiations, both Engie and the government have reached a preliminary understanding regarding the reactors' lifespan extension, decommissioning funding, and radioactive waste management. This understanding, translated into a comprehensive 1,500-page document, is slated for government approval within the upcoming fortnight.

However, Minister Van der Straeten dismissed the notion of a 20-year extension, recently suggested by Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, labeling it "absurd." The current text stipulates a 10-year evaluation period to assess safety compliance, making a lengthier extension illogical.

Despite the extension, Elia's 2023 study reveals persisting challenges in Belgium's energy landscape. Forecasts indicate a 50% surge in annual electricity consumption over a decade, with the 1.7 gigawatts from nuclear extension insufficient to counter an anticipated shortage of 2.9 gigawatts by 2029. Photo by Trougnouf, Wikimedia commons.