Belgium, (Brussels Morning Newspaper) Belgium and Engie, the French operator of nuclear power plants in the neighboring country, agreed to extend the lifetime of two of the country’s nuclear reactors — Doel 4 and Tihange 3 — after several rounds of negotiations between the government and the French energy company.
The two reactors are planned to restart in November 2026 after necessary work and will continue operating for 10 years.
The deal with Engie sets a price for future nuclear waste management costs, of 15 billion euros. Based on current nuclear provisions, the French utility’s total nuclear liabilities to Belgium now amount to at least 23 billion euros, Reuters reports.
“This agreement is important for our energy future and for Belgian households,” Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said in a statement. “It strengthens our electricity supply, reduces our country’s energy dependence, and guarantees the production in Belgium of low-carbon and cheap electricity.”
Belgium has relied on an aging stable of seven nuclear reactors operated by Engie for about half of its electricity needs.
The newest of Belgium’s seven reactors, Doel 4 and Tihange 3, was due to close in 2025, but plans to exit nuclear power were overturned due to fears of energy security over the war in Ukraine.
Meanwhile, pro-nuclear enthusiasts have spread across the whole of Belgium. According to a survey conducted by Ipsos for several Belgian media outlets, 60% of Flemish respondents, 55% in Brussels, and 52% in Wallonia are in favor of future nuclear reactor extensions.
Moreover, seven in ten respondents also agree with the government’s plans of prolonging the lifespans of Doel 4 and Tihange 3. The reactors, which entered service in 1985, make up 35% of the country’s nuclear energy capacity.