It was already the tenth time this legislature that a series of proposals were on the agenda in the House Energy Committee on Tuesday regarding the amendment of the 2003 nuclear phase-out law. Les Engagés, CD&V, N-VA, MR and Open Vld submitted texts to to enable nuclear activity in our country after 2025. This concerns the extension of the lifespan of current power stations, but also the development of future small modular reactors – the SMRs.
Various majority and opposition parties wonder whether the research into those SMRs and their development – for which the SCK in Mol is being examined – is compatible with the current legal framework. The federal government has been considering this issue for some time, but those discussions are not really making any progress, at least as could be deduced from interventions by MPs. The House committee has already postponed the request for advice from the Council of State on the proposals more than once.
Fed up with the delay, faction leader Catherine Fonck (Les Engagés) urged a vote on that advice. This received the support of opposition parties N-VA and Vlaams Belang, but also of Marie-Christine Marghem (MR) and Christian Leysen (Open Vld). “Parliament has a role to play,” Leysen explained. “I am patient, but this is already the tenth time we have debated this. I would not understand why we would not take the initiative to continue the parliamentary debate.”
The majority supported a proposal by Servais Verherstraeten (CD&V) to hear the Minister of Energy next month about the progress of work within the government before speaking out. That proposal received the support of Mathieu Bihet (MR).