The lie of the indispensability of nuclear power

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Since 2012 and following numerous incidents linked to outdated and increasingly unreliable power plants, the share of Belgian reactor production in the electricity consumed has fallen sharply; in 2015, this nuclear electricity production fell below 30% of consumption (1).

Closing the five oldest reactors means doing without 4,000 MW of nuclear power out of the 6,000 installed, which is not much more than the 3,000 MW that Belgium did without for five months at the end of 2014 (the T2, D3 and D4 reactors), nor even the 2,500 MW almost all of 2015 following the shutdown of the T2, D1 and D3 reactors. It is necessary to recall here the Japanese experience after the Fukushima disaster: all the reactors (more than 50) were shut down for several years. Japan, with a share of nuclear power of almost 30%, was in a comparable situation to Belgium as regards the share of nuclear power, with the disadvantage of not having, as in Belgium, electrical interconnections with neighbouring countries.

With some economy measures, we can certainly do without these five reactors immediately; and the remaining two with more drastic measures and perhaps some problems at some point. But what would they represent in relation to the risk involved?
Francis Leboutte

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Notes et références
  1. Selon les données de l’Observatoire de l’énergie du SPF Économie, la production nucléaire brute en 2015 était de 26,1 TWh, la production brute d’électricité totale de 70,6 TWh et l’importation nette d’électricité de 21,1 TWh : un rapide calcul établit la part des deux centrales nucléaires belges à 28,5 %. Pour l’année 2011, le même calcul conduit à une part de 52 %.

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