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Belgium To Give Up Nuclear Power 298

AmiMoJo writes "Belgium's political parties have reached a conditional agreement to shut down the country's two remaining nuclear power stations. Older reactors will be decommissioned by 2015, with the final closures happening before 2025. The exit is conditional on alternatives being available. 'If it turns out we won't face shortages and prices would not skyrocket, we intend to stick to the nuclear exit law of 2003,' a spokeswoman for Belgium's energy and climate ministry said."
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Belgium To Give Up Nuclear Power

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  • in other news, (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Son of Byrne ( 1458629 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2011 @10:15PM (#37915378) Journal
    Ron Paul has said that if he is elected, then he will support the opening of two new nuclear power plants for every power plant that is decomissioned.
  • Here Here! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 01, 2011 @10:16PM (#37915390)

    Good for them! Finally, some common sense and rational planning, instead of letting the market get our power from anywhere without regard to the consequences!

  • Re:Here Here! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 01, 2011 @10:18PM (#37915408)
    Since they currently get 55% of the power from nuclear generation, I'd say they're charting a course to the stone age.
  • by WindBourne ( 631190 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2011 @10:19PM (#37915414) Journal
    What is bothersome is that proof is now showing up that droughts and climate issues are man-made. Now, they are looking to close their nuke plants. Foolish. Instead, it should remain part of their energy matrix until they get enough other energy and storage going.
  • by danbuter ( 2019760 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2011 @10:31PM (#37915500)
    Both are already major energy providers to the rest of Europe. With Belgium and Germany shutting down their nuclear plants, both countries are going to make billions.
  • Re:idiots. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by couchslug ( 175151 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2011 @10:37PM (#37915546)

    "its not like we aren't just as fucked if a nuclear powerplant blows up in france or in belgium"

    There being no reason a modern nuke plant should "blow up", it makes more sense to pay France for power and avoid the construction, maintenance, closure, and remediation expenses of having plants in Belgium.

    You need electricity. You don't need to own what produces it, and a microscopic country such as Belgium risks nothing by outsourcing power production next door. OTOH it avoids all the pitfalls of new construction.

  • Re:idiots. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by the eric conspiracy ( 20178 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2011 @10:43PM (#37915578)

    Outsourcing is never risk free. Belgians are going to pay for the construction, maintenance, closure, and remediation expenses embedded in the power costs, plus profit plus be dependent on someone for energy who will definitely put their own needs first.

    If we were looking at a future glut in energy you might be ok. But that isn't really what the predictions are.

    Closing down old plants and building something better is a great idea. Why not do that instead?

  • !Tautology (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Citizen of Earth ( 569446 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2011 @11:03PM (#37915690)

    If it turns out we won't face shortages and prices would not skyrocket, we intend to stick to the nuclear exit law of 2003

    if (false && false) exit_nukes();

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 01, 2011 @11:05PM (#37915698)

    Crunching the numbers, the health effects from a normally operating coal plant (+10% cancer rate within 20 km) is about the projected effect of Fukushima's fallout for inhabitants within 30 km. Long term effects of coal outside this range are also similar (same order of magnitude), regular functioning coal vs. major nuclear accident.
    Furthermore, the majority of the long term Fukushima radiation effect (Cs) has a half-life of two years, were much of the cancer effect from coal is permanent due to chemical ground water and soil contamination.

  • Re:in other news, (Score:1, Insightful)

    by NalosLayor ( 958307 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2011 @11:07PM (#37915716)
    Of course. I like how you put words in his mouth and then get mad about them. I think I found your hat. It has tea bags hanging around the sides and says something about Obama being a socialist.

    Look, I'm not saying the man is a saint or the hero that Gotham deserves, but at least lets not just make up shit out of whole cloth, 'kay?
  • by Demonantis ( 1340557 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2011 @11:43PM (#37915914)
    The crux of the anti nuclear movement is it creates a more dangerous industry forcing the government to rely on using past their prime plants. If France and Russia are willing to stay at the edge of nuclear development more to them. They will be safer then Belgium and Germany maintaining their old plants.
  • by Idou ( 572394 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @12:39AM (#37916216) Journal
    The crux of the nuclear industry is that old plants are already paid for and depreciated. They are far more profitable than new plants. Also, safety measures cost money, so a profit maximizing business will try to minimize safety measures where possible (including building safer new plants). When things do go wrong, things are so bad that the government has to bail out the owners (just like the banks), so they face limited downside risk with the old plants.

    I am afraid you give way too much credit to the anti-nuke movement, and way too little credit to corporate greed.
  • by lordholm ( 649770 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @02:02AM (#37916482) Homepage

    There was a very nice disclaimer though, which went something like "if alternatives can be found to replace the power plants". Without going with coal/oil (and Belgium is not very rich in hydro), there are not that many solid options. Effectively they are saying to the public that "yes we will turn them off" but in reality they are saying "yeah, we will turn them off (but you know... there are no realistic alternatives, so we will just kick the can in front of us and make a decision later)".

  • Slow and stupid. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @02:52AM (#37916730) Homepage Journal

    It's sad to watch whole countries shoot themselves in the foot over hysteria and foolishness. But those are the times we live in: where most countries have adopted a system where any two idiots can outvote an expert, whether those people are rank and file (straight democracy), or holding elected office (republics and so on.) And all this in environments where experts are actually rare.

  • by umghhh ( 965931 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @06:43AM (#37917898)
    Well this is indeed a false dichotomy i.e. either nuclear or fossil based energy as options. The fact is that both types have serious consequences only for nuclear these are not as yet quite as profound as for fossil ones which by the way are not only reason why our climate change. Another thing is that going for nuclear is not solving much anyway - you assume that nuclear is replacing something which it may but to what extent if at all is unknown. What I see is that our energy consumption is on level unsustainable already and it will becomes worse every day. It may be that nuclear is an option that we have to consider but considering complexity and dangers that this complexity brings with it I'd say we should invest the time and money elsewhere. You will tell me of course that wind etc is not an option - of course there are problems with them only th fossil fuels are going to run out and nuclear is so troublesome that we will have to find another solution(s) anyway. Wy not start directly instead of talking nonsense?

The only possible interpretation of any research whatever in the `social sciences' is: some do, some don't. -- Ernest Rutherford