The European watchdog organisation Nuclear Transparency Watch(NTW) warned today the Belgian federal minister of Energy Marie-Christine Marghem, that her legislative proposal to extend the lifetime of the 40 years old Doel 1 and Doel 2 nuclear power reactors threatens to break international rules for transparency. If the right of the public to participate in an environmental impact assessment will not be respected, NTW will seek advice on initiating a formal complaint to the Compliance Committee of the Aarhus Convention.
End February 2015, the Belgian Council of State warned the Belgian Energy minister that lifetime extension of old nuclear power reactors cannot be decided without organising an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and a national and transboundary public consultation process, as prescribed by the European Directive 2011/92/EU and the Aarhus and Espoo conventions, both signed and ratified by Belgium.
On 5 and 6 May 2015, the final discussions before the vote on the Doel 1 & 2 lifetime extension will take place in the Economy Commission of the federal parliament. Before these discussions, NTW chair, Michèle Rivasi, sent today a letter to the energy minister to stress the importance of respecting international obligations to organise a full scale EIA and a cross border public participation process in advance of any final decision.
Ms. Rivasi commented: “The environment around Doel has fundamentally changed over the last 40 years and the risk of failure of the reactors increases exponentially over time. Ten years extra lifetime also adds 25% more time in which they are exposed to the risk of terrorist attack. This all on 12 km from the centre of Antwerp. It is important and legally prescribed that citizens get the chance to make sure all environmental concerns are taken into account when such a decision is taken. It would be completely inappropriate to look for loopholes to circumvent this obligation.”
The letter from NTW Chair, Michèle Rivasi to belgian minister of Environment, Marie-Christine Marghem: click here