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Belgium delays nuclear phaseout amid war worries

The Belgian federal government postponed a planned phaseout of nuclear power Friday, citing “a chaotic geopolitical environment” as the war in Ukraine disrupts energy markets across the European Union.

One reactor at both the Doel and Tihange nuclear power plants will have their lives extended by ten years, the government said in a press release. “This extension will strengthen our country’s independence from fossil fuels in a chaotic geopolitical environment,” it said.

Belgium had previously declared it would phase out nuclear power by 2025.

The government said it will ensure the move will “not crowd out renewable electricity production” and that excess production could “be used to launch the hydrogen market in Belgium.”

The government added it will invest €1.1 billion to “accelerate independence from fossil fuels.” It added that renewable energies will be “accelerated through additional investments in offshore wind power, hydrogen, solar energy and sustainable mobility.”

Belgium also signaled “its interest” in small modular nuclear reactors and said it will invest €25 million a year in this field for the next four years.

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