The Vast Majority of Belgians Support Nuclear Energy

An opinion poll by AQ Rate, commissioned by the Belgian Nuclear Forum, shows that the vast majority of Belgians are in favour of continuing to use nuclear energy, maintaining the operation of existing nuclear reactors for as long as possible while also calling for the construction of new plants, in particular small modular reactors.

70% of respondents would prefer more reactors to be granted lifetime extensions, and the same percentage would prefer those already prolonged (Doel-4 and Tihange-3) to get extensions of 20 years instead of the 10 years provided for in the current agreement.

Furthermore, 84% of participants say that the nuclear phaseout law dating from 2003 should no longer exist as it stands. Indeed, 53% want to change it to allow the construction of SMRs, while 31% want to completely abolish the law, making any form of new nuclear reactor construction possible.

Concerning nuclear innovation and new technologies, investments in Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) collected 87% of the participants’ support. The potential construction of large-size nuclear power plants is seen as positive by almost 60% of respondents.

The detailed results show that the support is generally cross-cutting and distributed, with different percentages, among all the parties, especially when talking about SMRs.

Globally, 77% of respondents believe that nuclear energy is part of the solution to achieve climate targets.

Read the complete report on the Belgian Nuclear Forum website (French | Dutch).

This survey confirms the positive trend reported one year ago when a poll commissioned by local media outlets Le Soir, RTL Info, Het Laatste Nieuws and VTM found that a large majority of Belgians (69%) approved the government’s decision of March 2022 to allow the two newest nuclear plants, Doel-4 and Tihange-3, to operate for 10-years beyond 2025.

58% of respondents were also in favour of extending the operating lifetime of all seven units in Belgium’s reactor fleet.

Today, Belgium has five reactors in operation, which provided about 46% of the country’s electricity generation (2022).

Two reactors have been shut down, Doel-3 in September 2022 and Tihange-2 in February 2023.