As of today, Dutch and other Europeans can talk about keeping nuclear reactors open longer at the Belgian border. The public consultation should have been done years ago, a Belgian judge ruled earlier, and is now being overtaken. The results may also be useful in future decisions on nuclear power plants.
The reason for the public consultation is the lawsuit that was brought when the Belgian government did not close two older nuclear reactors (Doel 1 and Doel 2) as planned in 2015, but postponed it to 2025.
The way in which that decision was made did not go correctly, the judge ruled last year. Research should have been carried out on the effects on nature and the environment, and citizens should have been given a say.
So that is still being worked on. The environmental impact report has been completed and has been online with the Belgian government since today. Belgians can also fill out a form on that website with comments on nuclear power plants.
But that participation is also available for people outside Belgium: anyone living in a radius of 1000 kilometres can participate. In addition to the Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg, Denmark, Sweden, Ireland, Austria, the Czech Republic and Poland have announced their wish to participate. Dutch people are told by Rijkswaterstaat how to participate in the research.
Whats gonna happen to it?
The reactions are bundled and are given a place in a new legislative text that the Belgian parliament has to adopt at the latest by the end of 2022.
The Bond Beter Leefmilieu, who then filed the lawsuit, finds the public consultation very relevant. “This also affects a possible extension of Doel 4 and Tihange 3, which some advocate,” says spokesman Erwin Cornelis against the VRT. “Energy supplier Engie Electrabel and the government must also abide by the law.”