Nuclear power plants will both be built in Borssele
(Sustainabilityenvironment.com) – If Germany does not change its plans to close its nuclear power plants and turns to coal to cover the Russian gas shortfall, the Netherlands is betting on the atom. The government is discussing plans to build two new plants this week, responding to a request from parliament that came in the wake of the energy crisis triggered by the war in Ukraine. Although in the short term it is increasing the generation from coal, imitating Berlin, and plans to make more massive use of this fossil source, among the dirtiest, at least until 2024.
By the end of May, the first national gas provider, GasTerra, had refused to meet Moscow’s request to pay gas supplies in rubles. In retaliation, within 24 hours the Kremlin closed the taps to the company controlled by Shell, ExxonMobil and the Dutch government. But already a few weeks after the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the national parliament had asked the executive to accelerate energy from the atom and nuclear plants.
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The idea of focusing again on the atom does not really depend on war, it is part of the program of the ruling coalition. Nuclear energy was already on the executive’s agenda last December, although it was only supported by an initial fund of EUR 500 million. The proposal was to ensure an extension to the only nuclear power plant in operation in the country, the 485MW Borssele plant inaugurated in 1973, and to plan two more. A radical change of direction compared to the decision of the parliament, in 1994, to move towards a gradual phase-out of energy from the atom motivated by considerations on waste management.
“We are fully committed to wind, sun and other sustainable energy sources,” said Climate and Energy Minister Rob Jetten. “But we also want a stable, CO2-free energy source in that energy mix”. For the moment, no information has been leaked about the new nuclear power plants, except where they will be located: Borssele itself, in the south of the country, where the existing plant is located. The program has a budget 10 times higher than originally planned: 5 billion.