Comment & People
More than 60 percent of Belgians support nuclear as part of the country ’s energy mlix, with 75 percent saying they favour a combination of nuclear and renewable sources, a poll shows.
The poll, published today by the Brussels-based Belgian Nuclear Forum (BNF), says 63 percent of Belgians favour nuclear. It says 51 percent agree with the government’s decision that the Doel-1 and -2 nuclear units near Antwerp should receive a lifetime extension.
BNF said there has been an increase from 54 percent in 2013 to 58 percent in 2015 in people’s recognition that nuclear energy has “more positive than negative aspects” for Belgium.
The three most important aspects of nuclear energy for Belgians are its availability (24 percent), the price of the electricity nuclear stations produce (13 percent) and that nuclear stations do not emit carbon dioxide (12 percent).
According to the poll, 75 percent of Belgians recognise that shutting down nuclear stations could lead to a higher risk of blackouts and an increase in electricity prices. Seventy eight percent said it would be difficult to find an alternative to nuclear energy, an increase of almost 10 percent compared to2013.
BNF said only 25 percent said Belgium needs to build new nuclear stations, but this increased to 50 percent if security of electricity supply is in danger.
People who feel they are less informed about nuclear energy are less in favour of the technology. Sixty five percent said they felt “inadequately informed” and 44 percent said they agree that nuclear energy does not emit carbon dioxide, a sign that more and better information on the topic is needed, according to BNF.
In December 2014, Belgian’s federal government agreed to extend the operating lifetimes of the Doel-1 and Doel-2 nuclear reactor units operated by Electrabel. Regulatory approval for the extensions will be needed.
There are seven reactor units in commercial operation in Belgium, four at Doel and three at Tihange. Together, they generate about 55 percent of the country’s electricity.