Nuclear energy is ‘unavoidable’ and energy companies should go ahead and apply for licences to build new nuclear power plants in the Netherlands, according to the leader of the parliamentary Christian Democrat party Pieter van Geel.
The controversial statements were made by the CDA MP on his weblog on Monday evening.
In his blog, Van Geel says that as well as environmental considerations, the Netherlands must not become dependent on energy from the Middle East and Russia and points out that the Netherlands’ gas reserves are running out.
All this makes alternative energy sources ‘extremely necessary’. Wind and solar energy alone cannot fill the gap, he said.
Van Geel says that the ban on new nuclear energy plants agreed in the current government agreement should be upheld, but sees no reason for potential operators not to be granted licences for future projects.
‘All we need is a entrepreneur with the guts to get such a project off the ground,’ he was reported as saying by the AD. He added that Zeeland, where the country’s only existing nuclear power plant is located, would be a suitable location.
Van Geel’s call for more nuclear power coincides with a speech at Leiden university by CDA foreign affairs minister Maxime Verhagen on Monday evening. Verhagen is reported as saying that the Netherlands must become less dependent on foreign oil and gas.
Coalition partners against
The CDA’s coalition partners are against nuclear power. Labour MP Diederik Samsom told Tuesday’s Volkskrant that nuclear power is not the solution. ‘If you order a nuclear power plant now it will be ready in 2020.
‘By then the renewable energy initiatives we are already developing will deliver as much energy as eight nuclear power plants…
‘Dutch legislation is among the most flexible in Europe but not a single company has applied for a licence in the last 15 years,’ he is quoted as saying by the paper.
The third coalition partner, the ChristenUnie, is also against nuclear power.