You will all have known about the umpteenth externalization of Elon Musk. Urged on the issue of energy uncertainty linked to the conflict in Ukraine, the tycoon tweeted his opinion: Europe, he says, must restart its shutdown nuclear power plants. Where they are lit, it must prolong their life. Other than goodbye to nuclear power, in short.
Bum, I thought so too. But someone took him at his word.
Belgium, farewell to nuclear power
Belgium announced on Friday night which will postpone its plans to eliminate nuclear energy from the country by a decade, a measure initially foreseen by 2025. A decision in its own way disruptive, probably dictated by the emergency of the geopolitical situation.
"The federal government has decided to take the necessary measures to extend the life of two nuclear reactors by ten years", said the prime minister. Alexander DeCroo in a note provided to the media.
This extension will strengthen our country's independence from fossil fuels in a turbulent geopolitical environment
Nuclear has seen a resurgence in popularity with Bill Gates' company Terra Power who proposed new types of nuclear reactors and recent US nuclear infrastructure laws. The American President Joe Biden, in fact, has set aside a good 6 billion dollars to avoid a farewell to nuclear power.
And do we want to talk about the armed forces? Even real ones are being studied mobile nuclear power plants to meet their energy needs abroad. On the space plane, however, NASA plans to use nuclear energy to power future missions to the Moon.
In other words, the farewell to nuclear power has never been this far.
An existing infrastructure
Faced with concerns about energy security, Europe and the US consider preserving their current infrastructure longer rather than attempting a rapid shift to renewable energy (which has yet to be significantly expanded to meet demand.
Belgium currently has two nuclear power plants in operation, each with seven reactors. The announcement by the Belgian government on the postponement of the farewell to nuclear power concerns all of them, with particular reference to the reactor Doel 4 near Antwerp and the Tihange 3 reactor near Liège. For both, the end of operations is now expected in 2035.
"For too long, our nation has not had a clear vision," the foreign minister said Didier Reynders. "This has caused a lot of uncertainty. This strategy addresses the lack of vision."
Sara. Of course, the choice has its own logic: but accelerating on renewables could once again reduce the timing of the farewell to nuclear power, and certainly avoid the greater risks that plants older than 10 years could bring.