Most controversial Belgian nuclear reactor finally shut down

Most controversial Belgian nuclear reactor finally shut down

In Belgium shut down the country’s most controversial nuclear reactor for good on Tuesday evening. After 40 years, block two of the Tihange nuclear power plant near Liège was shut down at 10:45 p.m., according to the operating company Engie. The nuclear power plant is around 50 kilometers as the crow flies from the German border. German politicians and opponents of nuclear power had campaigned for an end for years.

According to Harald Ebner (Greens), Chairman of the Bundestag Committee for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Tihange 2 was “one of the most dangerous nuclear facilities in the world”. Experts had already found thousands of small cracks in the reactor pressure vessel in 2012.

More reactors are scheduled to go offline in 2025

After the shutdown, Belgium still has five nuclear reactors in operation. Three of them are scheduled to go offline in 2025. For the two youngest reactors, on the other hand, an extension of the service life to 2035 is planned. The government justifies this with the Ukraine war and the energy crisis. With this decision, Belgium overturned its original plans, according to which the country actually wanted to phase out nuclear power completely by 2025.

Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke (Greens) had welcomed the planned shutdown of Tihange 2 in the “Rheinische Post”. “The decommissioning ensures significantly more security in our two countries,” said the Green politician. Together with the reactor Doel 3, which was shut down in September, “the nuclear power plant caused negative headlines for years due to cracks in the reactor pressure vessels and worried the population”.

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