Sunday 22 May 2022

Coalition parties discuss building new nuclear power stations: VK

Borssele nuclear power plant in Zeeland. Photo: Depositphotos.com

The four parties currently in talks on forming the next coalition government are discussing building one or two new nuclear power stations in the Netherlands, the Volkskrant said on Friday, quoting sources close to the negotiations.

The discussion, the paper said is ‘not so much about whether they should be built, but about how much money the government wants to invest’.

The paper said the right wing Liberal VVD and the Christian Democrats (CDA) both want to build eight nuclear power stations and made this a formal part of the discussions ‘in the hope that one or two will materialise’.

The ChristenUnie is not opposed to nuclear power in principle but D66 has doubts about both the need and the cost, the paper said.

Nuclear power was put back on the political agenda in the Netherlands in 2020, when MPs passed a motion calling on the government to ‘look seriously’ at the business case for building new nuclear power stations.

These power stations should also be built with government subsidies, as happens with wind and solar farms, said the VVD and CDA, who drew up the motion.

The Netherlands is committed to carbon neutral electricity production by 2050 and an acceptance of nuclear power could be a breakthrough in the discussion. The Netherlands does not have enough solar or wind power capacity to meet the target or provide a stable supply for industry.

A renewed interest in nuclear power would also lessen Dutch dependence on Russian gas.

Zeeland

The Netherlands only has one nuclear power station at the moment – the Borssele plant in Zeeland which produces some 3% of all Dutch energy use.

At the end of last year, Dutch electricity company EPZ said it wanted to extend the life of the Borssele plant and suggested building two more nuclear power plants at the same site.

EPZ says building a new reactor at the Borssele site would cost between €8bn and €10bn and take eight years. But this would only be a serious option if supported by the government, the company says. Borssele is currently scheduled to close in 2033.

In 1985, three new locations for nuclear plants were agreed – the Maasvlakte in Rotterdam, Eemshaven in Groningen and Borssele – and the building land is still reserved for this purpose.

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