The Strategist

Belgium decides to import electricity from Germany due to aging nuclear power plants

09/26/2018 - 16:02

The electricity deficit that may arise in the country in November will be covered by imports from Germany, the Belgian Ministry of Energy said.

In November, only one of the seven reactors of Belgian nuclear power plants will remain in operation. In connection with the maintenance work at the Belgian nuclear power plant, the Minister of Energy Marie-Christine Marghem did not exclude the possibility of blackouts on the territory of the kingdom with the onset of winter.

"Germany agreed to help, the agreement (on electricity supplies) will be signed in the near future." The agreements can also be concluded with France and the Netherlands," sources said.

According to experts, there can be a deficit of 4 thousand megawatts of electricity.

The Minister stated that the responsibility for the situation and the associated possible import of electricity from abroad, and, as a result, the growth of electricity tariffs, lies on the operator of the Belgian NPP Engie-Electrabel.

The company said earlier that only two of the seven reactors in Belgium remain in operation at present: the third power unit of the Doel nuclear power plant in Flanders and the first reactor of the Tihange nuclear power plant in Wallonia, which will be stopped from November 20 to 28 for the planned technical maintenance.

Earlier, the second and fourth generators of Doel and the third of Tihange have been temporarily withdrawn from service. Experts found "deterioration of concrete" in the reactors’ bunkers. Also, the first and second Doel power units have been stopped due to leaks in the cooling system.

There are seven nuclear reactors on the territory of Belgium. Two Belgian nuclear power plants - Doel with four reactors and Tihange with three reactors - provide 54% of the kingdom's needs for electricity.

In connection with the accident at the Japanese nuclear power plant Fukushima in 2011, the Belgian authorities decided to close all nuclear power plants in the country by 2025.