08 NOV 2011
BELGIUM PLANS TO REACH A “CONDITIONAL AGREEMENT”  to join the list of countries abandoning nuclear power in the wake of the Fukushima DaiNo.1 tragedy, and has announced it will aim for a two-step phase-out approach, closing its oldest reactors by 2015 and the remainder by 2025 – if it can find alternatives to replace its reactors.   Belgium has seven(7) reactors at two(2) nuclear power stations, at DOEL the north and TIHANGE in the south: They are operated by Electrabel, which is part of GDF-Suez. – GDF Suez S.A. is a French multinational energy company which operates in the fields of electricity generation and distribution, natural gas, and renewable energy.

BELGIUM SETTING-UP A NEW COALITION GOVERNMENT (ABOUT TIME), and the nuclear plan shutdown will be on its agenda.  According to an unnamed Belgian government official: “There is a confirmation that the plants will close, and nuclear will become a transition energy in Belgium…The government will set out a plan for the move to alternative power sources in the six months following its installation…the 2015 and 2025 dates would be ‘flexible’ as the new government talks with energy companies and investors and implements plans to make the energy market more competitive…Also on the new government’s agenda,  would be a higher nuclear tax, which would be slapped on nuclear power producers. The proceeds would reportedly be spent on renewable energy sources in the North Sea”  Belgium (about the size of Texas), is home to 11 million people, and currently relies on nuclear power for 50% of its electricity

THE BIG “IF” IS: “if alternative energy sources are found to fill the gap”; Then. Belgium’s three(3) oldest reactors would be shut down in 2015.  Natural gas and coal, along with some renewable sources would provide the remainder of Belgium’s power.  According to Reuters, the ambitious nuclear shutdown is dependent on finding a reasonable source of power as a replacement;  but that, is far from guaranteed.

BELGIAN WIND-FARMS GROWING The country will more than quadruple its wind power installations by 2020, but this will still only provide 10 % of the total power needs, according to IEEE.

BELGIUM PLANNED A NUCLEAR EXIT IN 2003; However, in 2009 Belgium agreed to extend reactors’ engineered operational life-spans by 10 years;  However, this change never came into became law because the government lost power.  After the most recent decision, the shutdown will be re-accelerated dependent on finding alternative energy sources. “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,” an unidentified spokeswoman for Belgium’s energy and climate Ministry said Belgium will now negotiate with investors to see how it can find new capacity to replace the 5,860 MW that would be lost if the two(2) nuclear sites at “Doel” and “Tihange” are shut.  “The government will actively look for new investors, and sites that are still unused to see what can be done”.

WHO/WHERE IS BELLONA? “The Bellona Foundation” is an international environmental Non Governmental Organization (NGO)based in Norway.  Founded in 1986 as a “direct action protest group”, Bellona has become a recognized technology and solution-oriented organization with offices in Oslo, BRUSSELS BELGIUM, Washington D.C., St. Petersburg and Murmansk. Altogether, some 75 engineers, ecologists, nuclear physicists, economists, lawyers, political scientists, and journalists work at Bellona.  NOW THEN, Bellona’s executive director, and nuclear physicist Nils Bøhmer said: “This is could indeed be good news…First of all this is a “conditional closure”, meaning that Belgium will need to invest substantially in developing renewable energy sources…However, Belgium must take care not to go the way of Sweden, which as the result of a 1980 referendum instituted a nuclear phase out by 2010. That was dashed in 2009, when the Swedish government agreed to allow old nuclear power reactors to be replaced, ending the “phase-out” policy. Chief among the motivating factors behind this, was that Sweden had not sufficiently developed its renewable energy capacity”,  Bøhmer advocates that if fossil fuels should replace nuclear energy in Belgium, “carbon capture and storage” technology (NON-EXISTENT YET) be deployed so that a nuclear shutdown does not lead to increased emissions of carbon dioxide.  SOUNDS LIKE WISHFUL THINKING.




BELGIUM WAS DIVIDED BEFORE, AND AFTER WWII.  Belgium is very strategically located in Europe. France to its south, Netherlands to the north, and Germany to the east.  It was mostly on its soil that the WWII  “Battle of the Bulge” was fought (mainly by American troops) during Dec 1944.  It main port city of Antwerp was the objective of the German Nazi troops.  They lost their last conquest gambit there; That, is probably why Belgium conjures famous battle names like Liege, and Bastogne.  After WWII (1945), Antwerp with its undamaged port, became the preferred port of entry for European reconstruction goods; so, Belgium recuperated economically very quickly: However, soon, its deeply-rooted North( Nationalistic Flanders), and South( Pro-Monarchic Wallonia) CULTURAL AND LINGUISTIC SEPARATISM began to affect the well-being of the common. Perhaps because of that separatism, Belgium has repeatedly proven itself to be among the MOST UNRELIABLE OF ALLIES. Unfortunately Belgium is still deeply divided, along the same lines, and has been without a government for over a year.  Many Belgians brag: “we do better without a government”  It is true there are many dysfunctional governments all over the world – but that is another story.

BLOOD DIAMONDS – A BELGIAN SHAME-  In 2001 the Belgian mining marketing town of Antwerp had continued to buy diamonds from the “rebel National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA)”, according to a secret report released by the General Intelligence Service, the sale had continued despite the institution of a certificate of origin for diamonds originating from the civil war torn Angola. Over 90 % of the raw diamonds extracted in various parts of the world are sold in Antwerp, while over 50 % of the world’s cut diamonds pass through the Antwerp market.  Strange how that in the Netherlands, as in Belgium, the notion persists that: “ what is good for commerce, is good for the people”.  Such thinking has been proven globally to be socially and morally circumspect and reprehensible.

BELGIUM – A COUNTRY “WITHOUT A GOVERNMENT” Now for over a year; so King Albert had to appoint and accept the resignation of one go-between after another, as the major parties refused to move far from their pre-election position. It is a process which continues to this day. The chances of success for the current negotiator, caretaker Finance Minister Didier Reynders, are seen as slim as the specter of new elections to break the deadlock are looming.  AND NOW, THE COALITION GOVERNMENT WANTS TO ABANDON NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS – FAT CHANCE!  THAT, IS THE REASON THE INITIATIVE IS CALLED A “CONDITIONAL AGREEMENT” BURDENED WITH  CONDITIONS THAT CANNOT MET WITH THEIR DEMONSTRATED HISTORICAL FRAME OF MIND.    

EUROPEAN ANTI-NUCLEAR “DOMINO EFFECT” IS EVIDENT Germany will shut down its nuclear power stations (now proving 28 % of the country’s power) by 2022.  Switzerland has said it will follow suit in 2035, shutting down its five(5) nuclear power plants which contribute to 40 % of the countries electricity.  Now Italy, which never had a nuclear program, turned out in force this summer(2011) for a referendum declaring that the country will never pursue a nuclear power.  Unfortunately Belgium will not, in my opinion, follow suit.  They never seem to. 


P.S. There is a significant number of reads in Great Britain, and in Denmark.  Wonder why?


November 8, 2011 at 12:26 AM Comments (30)