Germany compromises on Belgian reactor fears

The German and Belgian governments have reached a compromise on the issue of the safety of nuclear power plants that straddle the country’s borders.

A bilateral agreement in the form of a joint expert committee is to be set up so that there is better communication between the parties on the safety of the plants.
Jambon and Hendricks
German Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks had initially requested that the Doel 3 and Tihange 2 nuclear power plants be shut down after hydrogen flakes were found in their respective pressure vessels. The plants had been recommissioned in early 2015 despite concerns.

Germany expressed fears about the future of the ageing reactors but now appears satisfied that a better exchange of information between the countries will act as reassurance. To get to this point took ten months of negotiations.

Hendricks, whose counterpart in discussions was Belgian interior minister Jan Jambon, has praised the process for achieving what it has in so short a time, saying that it “underlines the great importance that both Germany and Belgium attach to nuclear safety”.

She did add, however, that the agreement did “not meet all the needs and expectations of border communities”.

The group of experts will meet for the first time next year and plans for the first instalment are already well underway.

The new agreement between the German and Belgian governments makes no mention of decommissioning the two ageing reactors and does nothing to interfere with national competences in the realm of nuclear regulation.

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