In what way is nuclear energy climate-friendly?

Electricity generation by nuclear power stations does not result in CO2 emissions, unlike the combustion of fossil fuels in conventional power stations. CO2 is partly responsible for the global warming of our climate, with effects such as rising sea levels, the melting of the polar ice caps and glaciers, desertification and more extreme weather.

 

The current use of nuclear energy, which accounts for around 15% of global electricity generation, prevents the emission of some 2.1 billion tonnes of CO2 per year. In the European Union, the emission of 675 million tonnes of CO2 is avoided every year. To achieve that same level of avoided emissions, it would be necessary to remove all cars from the road in all EU countries. In Belgium, using nuclear power avoids as much CO2 as emissions from all cars in the country!

What are ENGIE Electrabel's generating facilities?

Our generating facilities have changed significantly since the liberalisation of the energy market. ENGIE Electrabel currently operates 9,600 MW, i.e. around 45% of the total installed capacity in Belgium. We have a highly diversified fleet of generating facilities across some 85 sites, consisting of gas-fired power stations, nuclear power stations and renewable generating resources (solar, wind, biomass and hydro).

How does ENGIE Electrabel aim to remain the largest generator of green power?

ENGIE Electrabel is the largest green power generator in the country and we wish to keep it that way. For example, we aim to have 500 MW of onshore wind capacity by 2020. If we can implement all of our planned projects for onshore and offshore wind turbines, energy storage and energy efficiency, we will invest €4.3 billion in Belgium over the next 10 years.

Are renewable energy and nuclear energy rivals?

Renewable energy and nuclear energy cannot be considered rivals. During their entire life cycle, they both emit little CO2; they complement each other. Regardless of how important renewable energy is, it is not currently able to meet the demand for electricity. If only because the wind does not always blow and the sun does not always shine. Only a sound combination of renewable energy sources and nuclear energy will enable Belgium to meet its climate objectives. At present, this is the only way to ensure security of supply. That is why the Tihange 1 and Doel 1 and 2 lifetime extension project is important: it gives the government enough time to draw up its energy policy for the country and to enhance investment in and research into renewable energy. Consequently, in the near term and medium term, nuclear energy contributes to the transition to more renewable energy.