Country profile: Belgium

Summary figures for 2016

The following information is from the NEA publication Nuclear Energy Data, the annual compilation of official statistics and country reports on nuclear energy in OECD member countries.

Country
Number of nuclear power plants connected to the grid
Nuclear electricity generation
(net TWh) 2016
Nuclear percentage of total electricity supply
Belgium
7
41.0
*
51.3
 
OECD Europe
130
790.4
22.3
 
OECD Total
317
1 877.5
18.5
 
NEA Total
352
2 061.1
18.7
 

* Preliminary data.

Country report

On 16 January 2003, the Belgian federal parliament voted a law that promulgates the gradual phase-out of nuclear fission energy for commercial electricity production. This law prohibits the construction of new nuclear power plants (NPPs) and sets a 40-year limit on the operational period of existing plants. In accordance with this law, all reactors would be permanently shut down between 2015 and 2025.

On 16 January 2003, the Belgian federal parliament voted a law that promulgates the gradual phase-out of nuclear fission energy for commercial electricity production. This law prohibits the construction of new nuclear power plants (NPPs) and sets a 40-year limit on the operational period of existing plants. In accordance with this law, all reactors would be permanently shut down between 2015 and 2025.

In 2012, it was decided to postpone the shutdown of the Tihange 1 reactor by ten years. In 2015, the shutdown of Doel 1 and 2 reactors was also postponed by ten years after the review of the nuclear safety authority, the Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (FANC/AFCN). The shutdown calendar is therefore as follows:

As mentioned in previous reports, the Belgian government approved the near-surface disposal facility for low- and intermediate-level short-lived waste at the municipality of Dessel. In 2012, the Belgian Waste Management Organization (NIRAS/ONDRAF) made a request to the FANC/AFCN to obtain a licence for this disposal facility. The licensing process continued in 2016. Once the licence is granted, the repository could be in operation after four years. Disposal and closure operations would last about 100 years.

On 30 June 2016, the first National Programme for the Management of Spent Fuel and Radioactive Waste was approved by the Belgian government. It outlines the state of affairs at 31 December 2014 in the field of spent fuel and radioactive waste management. This instrument serves as a strategic scoreboard for the short-, medium- and long-term management of the various families of radioactive waste and spent fuel in Belgium.

During 2016, Belgium continued to actively support the High-level Group on the Security of Supply of Medical Radioisotopes (HLG-MR) of the NEA. Belgium has continued to do the necessary efforts to implement the policy principles approved by the HLG-MR and the NEA Steering Committee in order to improve the security of supply of medical isotopes.

The MYRRHA project, a multipurpose fast-spectrum irradiation facility able to operate in the subcritical (accelerator-driven system configuration) and the critical modes, was approved by the government in March 2010. The initial financing approval covered the period from 2010 to 2014.

In 2015, the government extended its support for MYRRHA to 2016 and 2017, and efforts have since continued towards the realisation of the project, including through:

At present, Belgium and the Belgian Nuclear Research Center (SCK•CEN) are working towards setting up an international consortium to ensure additional financing for the project.

In July 2016, the material testing reactor BR2 (Belgian Reactor 2) successfully restarted after a thorough 16-month maintenance and refurbishment. SCK•CEN took advantage of the opportunity to invest in the extension of the irradiation capabilities of BR2, including through the development of irradiation facilities allowing for the irradiation of GenIV/MYRRHA candidate materials in representative conditions.

Source: Nuclear Energy Data 2017

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Last reviewed: 6 November 2017