Nuclear power: a vital source of energy

ENGIE Electrabel is one of the pioneers of nuclear power in Belgium. Its diverse generation facilities include 7 nuclear reactors (4 at Doel, 3 at Tihange) with a total capacity of close to 6,000 MW. These generation sites employ a 2,000-strong workforce and generate approximately 50% of the electricity consumed in Belgium.

Our nuclear power plants

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Nuclear issues

A major asset in the Belgian energy model

Using nuclear energy to generate electricity is an important factor for the energy supply. Nuclear power offers economic and energy-related advantages and helps to reduce CO2 emissions:

Short history

Belgium decides to generate some of its electricity using nuclear power. Consumption is rising considerably at a regular rate and fossil fuels can no longer be considered the only possible option for meeting demand for energy. This policy results in the construction of four nuclear reactors at Doel and three at Tihange from 1968 onwards. The closeness of the Meuse and Scheldt rivers is ideal for supplying cooling water.

The first reactors (Doel 1, Doel 2 and Tihange 1) are commissioned in 1975, the perfect time to reduce Belgium’s dependence on oil.

Construction on Doel 3 and Tihange 2 is completed in 1982 and 1983 respectively, followed by the Doel 4 and Tihange 3 reactors (commissioned in 1985).

The Belgian federal government is reviewing the country’s energy policy, particularly with regard to whether or not to shut down Belgium’s nuclear power plants. Based on current decisions, all 7 reactors will have been shut down by 2025. 

How does a pressurised water reactor (PWR) nuclear power plant work?

Nuclear power generates one-eighth of the world’s electricity. There are 448 nuclear reactors in operation spread throughout 30 countries (source: IAEA).

There are several types of nuclear reactors:

A PWR like those nuclear reactors at Tihange and Doel has 3 completely separate water circuits. Read on for a brief overview of how they work:

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Want to know more:

Brochure Doel

Brochure Tihange (in French)

Brochure Generating electricity (in French)

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