The three-unit Tihange plant (Image: Electrabel)
The Belgian government has asked energy company Engie to see if it can extend the operating life of Tihange unit 2 until the end of the winter peak electricity season.
“The government has asked the nuclear operator to prolong the functioning of Tihange 2 until the winter peak has passed,” Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said in a media conference on Friday.
And in an interview carried on the Het Laatste Nieuws website, Minister for Energy Tinne Van der Straeten said that the government wanted to see if it was possible, from a safety point of view, to extend the life of Tihange 2 – which is currently due to shut at the start of February – until the end of March.
The Belgian government’s request is based on wanting to ensure security of supplies and to try to minimise expected energy costs.
According to Bloomberg, the operator of the plant, Electrabel – the Belgian subsidiary of French utility Engie – has said it would not be feasible to extend Tihange 2’s operation for technical and nuclear safety constraints.
Belgium’s coalition government had a policy to phase out nuclear power by 2025, but in March decided to allow Doel 4 and Tihange 3 to continue operating until 2035 in order to allow the country to “strengthen its independence of fossil fuels in turbulent geopolitical times”.
Belgium’s nuclear plants account for almost half of the country’s electricity production.
Source: World Nuclear News