If you want to drive, you sometimes have to position switch to make. Tinne Van der Straeten is now also experiencing this. While Groen and the environmental organizations have fought for years against extending the lifespan of Doel 1 and 2, the Minister will now agree to this extension himself. Van der Straeten told this in parliament today.
The thing is, in March, the Constitutional Court overturned the law on the life extension of Doel 1 and 2. The Michel government decided in 2014 to keep those nuclear power plants open for ten years longer than planned, until 2025. According to then Minister of Energy Marie Christine Marghem (MR) was perfectly able to do this without an environmental impact assessment and participation procedure.
The ecological parties and environmental organizations did not agree. Figurehead Kristof Calvo, among others, repeatedly argued for the rapid closure of the two “old, worn-out and unreliable” nuclear power plants. Marghem did her own thing.
Six years and a series of legal battles later, the green camp was still right. After a complaint from Greenpeace, among others, the Constitutional Court gave the Belgian state a respite until the end of 2022 to keep Doel 1 and 2 open in a correct way: with an environmental impact report and public participation procedure. Otherwise, the nuclear power plants will soon have to be closed for good.
Van der Straeten now wants to comply with the demands of the Constitutional Court. She says she is a minister “to implement the coalition agreement”. In it, the ‘vivaldists’ agreed to respect the current calendar of the nuclear exit. This promise works in two directions: without accidents there will be no more delay for the nuclear exit. The seven Belgian nuclear power plants will close their doors by 2025. But the other way around: Goals 1 and 2 must remain open until 2025. Van der Straeten says that she will comply with all legal obligations for this.
The environmental movement is not happy with Van der Straeten’s decision. “We stick to our position. The nuclear power stations of Doel 1 and 2 are at the end of their tether. It is better to stop them quickly and fully focus on more solar and wind energy, ”says Greenpeace. The same sound with Bond Beter Leefmilieu: “We do not think that the new government should waste much time on Goals 1 and 2. Certainly not because it advocates the nuclear exit itself.”
Greenpeace and Bond Beter Leefmilieu are preparing for a legal battle. “We are going to make our objections known in the consultation procedure. That is certain ”, it sounds. Since this is an international questionnaire, it cannot be ruled out that foreign environmental organizations from, for example, the Netherlands and Germany will also be involved in the case.
Opposition party N-VA hopes that Van der Straeten is a woman of her word. “In the past she has always asked for the rapid closure of Doel 1 and 2. We are counting on the fact that it will now work out the lifespan extension in a serious way, ”says MP Bert Wollants.
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