Now that the federal government is considering the fate of the two youngest nuclear power plants, Fedustria is increasing the pressure. The federation of the wood and textile industry opposes the nuclear phase-out. ‘The manufacturing industry is becoming the plaything of a reckless energy policy.’

In an open letter, the textile and wood federation Fedustria sounds the alarm about energy policy in our country. By 2025, five of the seven nuclear power plants will close and the coalition agreement kept the door ajar for the two youngest plants. They close, unless energy supplies and affordability are compromised.

Our message to the Wetstraat is: put the nuclear exit out of your mind and go for nuclear energy.

Fa Quix

Director General Fedustria

At the end of this month, Energy Minister Tinne Van der Straeten (Green) will present a report on energy supplies and costs. On that basis, the government takes the plunge. ‘Politicians underestimate the seriousness of the situation, which means that a signal is needed,’ says director-general Fa Quix. ‘Get the nuclear exit out of your mind and go for nuclear energy.’

Fedustria, which represents some 1,700 companies, screens a survey that shows that 82 percent of business leaders are concerned about high and ever-rising energy costs. The sector organization calls the nuclear exit ‘incomprehensible’ in that respect, because nuclear energy ‘not only guarantees security of power supply, but is also cheap and climate-friendly’.

Fedustria fears that the planned gas-fired power stations and ‘strongly outdated and polluting turbojets’ threaten the security of supply. The expanding conflicts between Belarus and Russia on the one hand and Europe on the other, in which the respective presidents Lukashenko and Putin threaten to turn off the gas, show this. Authoritarian regimes can blackmail us by endangering energy supplies. We don’t want that,’ says Quix.

Ten years longer

The federation asks that at least the two youngest nuclear power plants, Doel 4 and Tihange 3, remain open for ten years longer. The fact that Engie has explicitly turned that page is no problem for Quix. “Don’t tell me Engie can’t keep them open. Engie sits in a seat and always wins: either they are nuclear power stations, or they are the gas power stations for which the company has received subsidies.’

Although Van de Straeten argues that the industry is on board with the nuclear phase-out, Fedustria refutes this. ‘The minister takes her dreams for reality’, says Quix. ‘There will undoubtedly be companies that will benefit from the nuclear phase-out, but our members are not one of them. In the field I constantly come across business leaders who call it reckless.’

Etienne Rigo, the CEO of the energy supplier Octa+, also joins Fedustria’s plea in De Tijd on Wednesday. ‘The closure of the nuclear power plants is insane,’ says Rigo. ‘The politicians are closing the nuclear power plants, while there is more demand due to electric mobility and they are encouraging heat pumps at the expense of oil boilers. Still keeping two nuclear power stations open would be pragmatic.’

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