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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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  • 50 years ago (Score:4, Interesting)

    by circletimessquare ( 444983 ) <> on Tuesday November 01, 2011 @10:40PM (#37915556) Homepage Journal

    1. the space industry was booming

    2. the nuclear industry was booming

    3. the computer industry was just a support system for the real heroic industries

    now: the computer industry is the preeminent world industry (in terms of influence, company valuations, etc), and the space industry and nuclear industry are frail, aged, and dying

    not exactly what people imagined 50 years ago, in policy making and the popular imagination

  • by Idou ( 572394 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2011 @10:41PM (#37915570) Journal
    Why make a mess at home, when you can just pay someone else to deal with the mess?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 01, 2011 @10:52PM (#37915628)

    I'm from Belgium and this has been discussed since 2003... why now? Knowing that Electrabel until recently was the owner of these 2 power, the following may explain why the decision has been taken to decommission them:

    From the Wikipedia page for Electrabel:

    For a long time a majority stake in Electrabel was held by the French company Suez. In 2005, Suez increased its stake to 96.7% and a squeeze-out of the remaining shareholders was completed on 10 July 2007, when the company was delisted from the stock exchange. Following Suez's 2008 merger with Gaz de France, Electrabel is now a subsidiary of GDF Suez.

    I won't speculate on the exact economic benefits it will bring to GDF, but lets be clear the decision wasn't made for climate or anti-nuclear reasons. This decision will certainly assure the energy monopoly of GDF in Belgium.

  • by Ihmhi ( 1206036 ) <> on Tuesday November 01, 2011 @10:54PM (#37915644)

    You know, this has always made me wonder.

    The U.S. surely has some areas that are free from natural disasters like tornadoes, flooding, hurricanes, earthquakes, etc. You always see the same few places getting socked by something horrible - and yet, a large amount of the Midwest is practically deserted.

    Why hasn't the people who live there moved somewhere like that? More importantly, why hasn't the federal government encouraged people to move to such a place? Instead, we keep bailing these people out who repeatedly choose a poor location for a home. Being stubborn and saying "We'll rebuild" when your area is constantly damaged by natural disasters isn't brave - it's moronic. It might make sense in a smaller country, but one of the things we have a lot of in America is land.

  • by Fluffeh ( 1273756 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2011 @11:37PM (#37915880)

    It's French power (plus new brown coal burning plants, yuck!) that will make up for the impending loss of nuclear plants in Germany.

    Why is that (aside from the brown coal plants) a bad thing that a country decides to buy cheap electricity from another? Especially when it's all in Europe where you can throw a stone across three countries?

    From a political point of view, it is actually rather sensible. You drop the cost associated with maintaining aging nuclear facilities which offsets the price you buy it for from France who will no doubt be happy to sell it to you, your country doesn't get any worse in terms of emissions and in the terrible event that something goes wrong at the plant, you will sleep happily in the political knowledge that the meltdown didn't happen in your country.

  • Re:Here Here! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by CharlyFoxtrot ( 1607527 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @12:32AM (#37916168)

    This, they're idiots. First they sold off our national energy company to the french, causing prices to skyrocket so we now pay the second highest price for our energy of all of europe (only Ireland beat us.) Now they're closing down the only reliable local source of energy we have which will force further imports and further price rises. They did pretty much the same with our banks too, selling to the french who then sucked them dry and left us with the bankruptcy and the costs. Oh and our national airline, ... Belgium's politicians are totally corrupt, or at best hopelessly incompetent. And people wonder why we haven't been able to form a new government for more than 500 days now.

  • Re:Here Here! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by NotQuiteReal ( 608241 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @01:08AM (#37916310) Journal
    Take heart, Belgians! Once your country goes dark and cold, no worries! Take all your money and move south. I think there will be a great sale on Mediterranean real estate soon, and you won't need as much heat to keep warm in the winters. You will have to learn a new alphabet, but learning greek will be a piece of cake, compared to what your grand children will have to learn - Chinese!
  • Re:Here Here! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by kdemetter ( 965669 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @01:12AM (#37916324)

    Not to mention the power companies (Electrabel ) :

    We are still paying for the nuclear plants to be payed of earlier ( although they are already payed off for years now ).
    Yet they barely investing that money in green energy.

    On the contrary : they are charging their customers, for the loss of revenue due to people placing solar panels on their roofs ( because they have to pay them green certificates, because they themselves don't reach the required quota and would have to pay fines).

    So the people who actually care about the environment and place solar panels, are getting a bad name, because the other people have to pay for it.
    It's a form of 'divide and conquer' : have the people fight each other, and they won't be strong enough to fight the real culprits .

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

    by lordholm ( 649770 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @02:15AM (#37916550) Homepage

    Having seen a Belgian energy bill, I can't say I fully agree. The price per kWh is not that high, however Electrabel charges something like 10 times the normal price as network connection fees. Which means that the end bill is a LOT higher than for the average European. The end result for the consumer (some of the highest bills to the electrical companies) is the same, but the devil is in the detail.

If all else fails, immortality can always be assured by spectacular error. -- John Kenneth Galbraith