Deal with Engie about keeping nuclear power plants open longer is almost complete, says MR chairman Bouchez | Interior

Will the nuclear power plants stay open longer? According to MR chairman Georges-Louis Bouchez, the deal between the government and Engie is almost complete. Although there are still some difficult points, Bouchez admits in “The Seventh Day”. For example, it is not yet certain who will pay for the disposal of the nuclear waste. Nevertheless, according to the MR chairman, a balanced agreement will be reached in which Engie will also pay part of the costs.

Negotiations about keeping Doel 4 and Tihange 3 open longer have been going on for a long time. Normally, the decision would have been made by the end of December, but this did not work out. However, Bouchez assures that a deal is coming very soon. It would be a matter of hours rather than days, he said. “The deadline was December 31 and today is December 39,” he said with a wink.

The government would like to keep the two nuclear power plants open for another ten years after 2025. Engie agrees, but has certain requirements. For example, the energy group wants the government to pay for the expensive disposal of nuclear waste. Whether the government will respond to this is still unclear.

That lifespan extension also comes with a huge price tag of 1 billion euros. Earlier this week it was announced that this amount will be divided equally between the federal government and Engie. The remuneration for the additional ten-year operation would be set via a regulated rate, which should allow the price of the investments to be covered.

The MR chairman described nuclear energy as “the energy of the future” that ensures security of supply for Belgium “without CO2 emissions”.

According to VRT NWS, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo is also hopeful for a quick agreement. Reportedly, lawyers are still looking at the details of the texts and the final sprint is said to have started.