Published on November 1st, 2011 | by Charis Michelsen2
Belgium Joins the Ranks of the Nuclear-Free
November 1st, 2011 by Charis Michelsen
Belgian politics have been a little complicated for the past year, or perhaps “nonexistent” is the better word. The political parties are divided and consensus has yet to be reached. However, that hasn’t stopped the country from taking steps to phase out its nuclear energy.
You might be surprised to find out, though, that the removal of nuclear power in Belgium isn’t a response to the 2011 disaster in Japan – it’s enforcement of a law passed in 2003. The government in place at the time had decided to shut down its reactors between 2015 and 2025, provided that its power supply wouldn’t be interrupted. This scheduled phasing out of nuclear is comparable to the German timeline for the same procedure.
When the Belgian government essentially fell apart in June 2010, the phase-out of nuclear power wasn’t enough of a priority to keep anyone’s attention and the project was largely ignored. However, current negotiations – headed by the Social Democrats – have led to an agreement that nuclear power has to go.
Whether or not the Belgians actually get rid of nuclear power depends on that initial caveat – that there’s enough installed power capacity from other sources to ensure a steady power supply. The greenest way to keep the electrons flowing is, of course, renewable energy – solar, wind, and water. Belgium’s current state of instability can perhaps be seen as an opportunity to foster green energy and maybe even a little cooperation in the process.