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BR2 is one of the most powerful research reactors in the world contributing significantly to the global supply of medical radioisotopes and testing nuclear innovations. Since it began operating in 1962, it has been fuelled by highly enriched uranium (HEU), considered a nuclear proliferation risk. Belgium’s nuclear research centre, SCK-CEN, plans to replace this with low-enriched uranium (LEU).

Date: Friday, 31 March 2023
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Two reactors have shut down permanently in recent months Unit 3 at the Doel-3 nuclear station was permanently shut down in September 2022. Belgium’s fleet of commercial nuclear power plants accounted for 47.3% of the country’s electricity mix in 2022, making nuclear the most significant source of low-carbon electricity.

The International Atomic Energy Agency puts the 2021 figure for nuclear at 50.8%, but that was before the permanent shutdown of the Doel-3 nuclear plant in September 2022, bringing the number of commercial units in operation in the country to six.

Tihange-2 was taken offline earlier this month, leaving Belgium with five nuclear plants available.

Doel-1, Doel-2 and Tihange-1 are set to shut down in 2025, potentially leaving Belgium with just two plants in operation.

The Brussels-based Belgian Nuclear Forum said almost one fifth of Belgium’s electricity was generated by other low-carbon technologies in 2022, with 7.5% from offshore wind, 5% from onshore wind and 7.3% solar.

Date: Tuesday, 21 February 2023
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‘No technical arguments’ for shutting down nuclear plants after 40 years Unit 2 at the Tihange nuclear power station in Belgium is scheduled for permanent shutdown this week. Courtesy Electrabel. Belgium should repeal its 2003 nuclear exit law as it looks for ways to deal with the energy crisis sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and resulting gas and electricity price increases, the Brussels-based Belgian Nuclear Forum said.

The underlying argument of the 2003 law is that a nuclear plant is obsolete after 40 years and should be decommissioned, the forum said.

“Nothing could be further from the truth: there are no technical arguments for definitively shutting down a nuclear power plant after 40 years of operation, but only political arguments,” it added.

The forum issued the statement as owner and operater Engie Electrabel prepares to permanently shut down the Tinhange-2 nuclear power plant on 31 January. The 1,008-MW pressurised water reactor unt began commercial operation on 1 June 1983 and has been online for 40 years.

According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, the last couple of decades have witnessed increased interest in the extension of the operating life of nuclear power plants. Extending the life of a plant is more economical than building a new one, and where it makes business sense. The agency says about 90% of US plants have already renewed their licences to extend their operation to 60 years, with additional extensions for a total of 80 years being considered. In Europe, plants are regularly seeking lifetimes of 60 years.

Date: Tuesday, 31 January 2023
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Global optimism ‘rising’ about potential of reactors to help achieve net zero emissions Fatih Birol (left) and Rafael Grossi at the International Atomic Energy Agency discussion on nuclear power at Cop27 in Egypt. Courtesy IAEA. Nuclear power is making “a strong comeback”, but the international financial community has so far “failed” to provide the level playing field needed for nuclear to help the world tackle its most pressing challenges, from climate change to sustainable development, International Energy Agency (IEA) executive director Fatih Birol told the Cop27 United Nations climate conference in in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

Birol told an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) discussion on nuclear power: “I don’t give them a passing grade.”

“Countries that were saying goodbye to nuclear power, they are rethinking their plans,” Birol said, adding that the IEA had been engaged in talks with both Belgium and Germany.

“We are very happy that both governments are now in the process of postponing their nuclear phaseout plans, understanding the role that nuclear plays in addressing this energy security challenge,” he said.

In addition, another group of countries is now considering extending the lifetime of their existing nuclear power reactors to respond to this challenge, which is one of the cheapest forms of low carbon power, Birol said. Still another group of countries are rolling out plans to build new reactors, including seemingly “surprising” ones such as the Netherlands and Poland as well as Japan and South Korea.

Date: Friday, 11 November 2022
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Slovenia has a "comprehensive, robust and well-functioning system" for used nuclear fuel and radioactive waste management, a team of experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has concluded. However, it noted areas where it could be further enhanced.

Date: Wednesday, 08 June 2022
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Belgium’s nuclear research centre, SCK CEN is to research small modular reactors (SMRs) in cooperation with international partners, SCK CEN has said. To this end, it will receive a budget of €100 million from the federal government. “With its unrivalled nuclear expertise, SCK CEN will lead Belgium towards sustainable nuclear energy,” said Prime Minister Alexander De Croo in his speech at SCK CEN's 70th anniversary celebration.

Date: Friday, 27 May 2022
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Protocols to amend two international instruments strengthening the rights to compensation for those affected by nuclear energy accidents have been formally ratified and will enter into force on 1 January.

Date: Wednesday, 22 December 2021
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Country has one commercial reactor at Borssele Incumbent prime minister Mark Rutte is expecting his fourth term in power. Image courtesy New Democracy (Nea Demokratia) / Flickr. The newly formed Dutch governing coalition has decided to include the construction of two new nuclear power units in the country as part of future energy and climate policies, according to the official document published yesterday.

The agreement said nuclear power can complement generation from renewable energy sources including solar, wind, and geothermal, and makes the Netherlands less dependent on gas imports.

The Netherlands have one commercial reactor unit in operation at Borssele, in the southwest province of Zeeland, near the Belgian border. It is a 482-MW Siemens-built pressurised water reactor unit which came online in 1973.

Date: Friday, 17 December 2021
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