Belgium to phase out nuclear
Though it has no government, Belgium has resolved to shut down its nuclear reactors, with the first three to be taken down in 2015 -- provided power supply is not endangered
Since June 2010, Belgium has had no government, with parties divided bitterly along language lines. In the south towards the French border, French is spoken, whereas Flemish (a dialect of Dutch) is spoken in most of the country towards the northern border to the Netherlands. But in ongoing coalition negotiations headed by the Social Democrats, politicians have apparently agreed to phase out nuclear as neighboring Germany and Switzerland have already done -- with Italy having completed the process years ago.
Essentially, a law from 2003 will simply be enforced. Back then, the government resolved to shut down its nuclear plants from 2015 to 2025 (roughly the same time frame as Germany), but the law was not enforced as the government ground to a halt. Now that negotiations are proving more successful, the policy is prominently back on the table.
The main question will be whether decision-makers can be convinced that the country can do without nuclear. In 2015, the first three nuclear plants would be taken offline if it can be demonstrated that the country can do without them. Supporters of the switch to renewables will have to ensure that Belgium also ensures the growth of green power for this debate to be won. And in the process, maybe the Belgians will finally get a government back. (Craig Morris)