Two Belgian nuclear reactors which were supposed to retire this year at age 40, will remain operational until they are half a century old.
Federal energy minister Marie Christine Marghem said the longer lifespan, until 2025, was necessary to ensure security of electricity supply in Belgium.
The Belgian government announced that negotiations with energy company Electrabel on the life extension of reactors Doel 1 and 2 have been concluded on Wednesday (29 July).
However, critics say that the unexpected U-turn from a previous government’s commitment to close the reactors is putting off investors.
The sense of urgency that Belgium needed to up its energy security was partly strengthened by failures in other nuclear reactors.
Board games to save electricity
The Belgian government called on citizens to reduce electricity consumption, play board games instead of computer games and cook meals in one pan instead of several.
It also set up plans to pre-emptively disconnect selected areas when a local power shortage was expected to jeopardise the whole grid.
“In the end, nothing bad happened, because it wasn’t a cold winter,” energy researcher Fabio Genoese told this website. But the government did not exaggerate the potential problems, he added.
“It was a critical situation, for sure”, said Genoese, a research fellow at the Centre for European Policy Studies in Brussels.
Read more at Belgian nuclear reactors get 10 extra years of life