Majority in Dutch parliament supports building more nuclear plants

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The power generation facility at Borssele, Zeeland includes nuclear, coal, and biomass power plants (photo: Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed / Wikimedia Commons). (The power generation facility at Borssele, Zeeland includes nuclear, coal, and biomass power plants (photo: Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed / Wikimedia Commons))

A majority in the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, supports a proposal by ruling party VVD to build more nuclear power plants in the Netherlands. Opponents worry about nuclear waste and what it will mean for future generations, NOS reports.

The VVD proposal was supported by the VVD, PVV, CDA and FvD. Proponents believe that the Netherlands can not afford to outright reject nuclear energy. But they also point out the disadvantages - nuclear waste, the construction of a nuclear plant is a long process, and it is an expensive source of energy.

The SGP and SP are not for or against the proposal. The SGP is not happy about the topic, but believes that it needs to be discussed. The SP is not against nuclear energy, but will wait for serious proposals, the party said.

For opponents GroenLinks and ChristenUnie, the nuclear waste problem is insurmountable. They do not want to saddle future generations with this problem. The PvdA, also an opponent, points out that wind and solar energy are also expensive, but at least they are more sustainable.

Over the past few years energy companies had the opportunity to apply for a permit and build a nuclear plant, but so far no one seemed to be interested, according to NOS. German energy company RWE, which is involved in the Netherlands' only nuclear power plant in Borssele, confirmed to the broadcaster that it won't apply for such a permit. "The risks are too great", a spokesperson said. "The investment is 6 to 10 billion euros. You do not know what the electricity price is going to do. And you don't know how social support will develop." Essent is also not interested.

The question now is whether the Dutch politicians can agree on nuclear energy, and make building a plant more attractive to energy companies. According to the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, this will not succeed without the support of the government. Tellingly, two of the coalition parties - D66 and ChristenUnie - did not support the proposal. 

"I will look at all proposals seriously, because dogmas will not help the climate. But I am really convinced that there are much smarter choices than nuclear energy", D66 leader Rob Jetten said about the matter, according to NOS. 

"An interesting discussion, but we are extremely skeptical", ChristenUnie leader Gert-Jan Segers said. He called it an "enormous investment" an the time it will take a major drawback. "It is not profitable. And also remember the waste." He would rather invest in "sustainable and clean energy". 

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