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The International Energy Agency (IEA) in its latest report, Electricity 2024, dedicates a significant amount of space to nuclear power – a departure from its previous studies which treated it as peripheral. In its press release on the new report, IEA says the increase in electricity generation from renewables and nuclear "appears to be pushing the power sector's emissions into structural decline". Over the next three years, low-emissions generation is set to rise at twice the annual growth rate between 2018 and 2023. Global emissions from electricity generation are expected to decrease by 2.4% in 2024, followed by smaller declines in 2025 and 2026.

Date: Friday, 26 January 2024
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The European Union (EU) Energy Council, meeting in Luxembourg, have reached agreement on reforming the EU electricity market, resolving the long-running dispute between France and Germany over the role of nuclear power. France has welcomed a decision that nuclear power should be included in future state-supported models, while Germany insisted that this must not lead to unfair competition through publicly funding ageing reactors abroad. The proposal now moves on to the European Parliament, where concessions on nuclear and coal power could still meet opposition.

Date: Friday, 20 October 2023
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Country plans to shutter most of reactor fleet, which has provided about 50% of energy needs The Doel nuclear power station near Antwerp in Belgium, where two units might operate for longer. Courtesy Engie. A large majority of Belgians is in favour of the long-term operation of existing nuclear power plants – in a country which has decided to shutter most of its reactor fleet by 2025, a poll has shown.

The poll, commissioned by local media outlets Le Soir, RTL Info, Het Laatste Nieuws and VTM, found that 69% of Belgians approve the government’s decision of March 2022 to allow the two newest nuclear plants, Doel-4 and Tihange-3,to operate for 10-years beyond 2025.

According to the poll, conducted in March, 58% of respondents were in favour of extending the operating lifetime of all seven units in Belgium’s reactor fleet, two of which – Doel-3 and Tihange-2 – have already been shut down, bringing the number in operation to five.

Date: Thursday, 06 April 2023
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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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After recently shutting down one of Belgium's six remaining nuclear reactors the federal government is now considering extending the operation of the three oldest reactors. These include unit 2 of the Tihange NPP, which was shut down in January, and units 1&2 of the Doel NPP which are to be disconnected from the grid by 2025 in line with the 2003 nuclear phase-out law. Tihange 2 was the second reactor to close under the phase-out law - Doel 3 closed in September 2022. This left five reactors still in operation – Doel 1,2&4 and Tihange 1&3. In January, French power utility Engie agreed to extend the operating lives of Doel 4 and Tihange 3, Belgium’s newest reactors - by 10 years from 2026 in face of the current energy crisis.

Date: Friday, 10 February 2023
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Renewables together with nuclear power are expected to meet the vast majority of the increase in global electricity demand over the next three years, making significant rises in the power sector's carbon emissions unlikely, according to a new International Energy Agency (IEA) report.

Date: Friday, 10 February 2023
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The Belgian government has asked Engie to investigate whether the operation of the country's three oldest reactors - Doel units 1 and 2 and Tihange 1 - can be extended until 2027. The reactors are currently scheduled to shut down in 2025.

Date: Wednesday, 08 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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