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“In 20 years, no government has questioned the nuclear phase-out in 2025”

Jean-Marc Nollet, co-president of Ecolo, was the guest of Jeudi en Prime, on the front page, after the Televised Journal. His party is a member of the various coalitions in power in the Federal government, in the Walloon region and in the Wallonia-Brussels Federation.

On the eve of a new Consultation Committee, the opinion of the co-president of Ecolo was requested on the health crisis and its management.

He was also questioned on the nuclear issue, while the federal government must, at the end of the year, confirm or not the closure of nuclear reactors. The shutdown of Belgian nuclear power as a means of producing electricity was put on track in 2003 when Ecolo was part of the federal government.

School, Horeca? At Codeco, it will take “balanced measures”

On the eve of an urgent consultation committee, the third “Codeco” in a few days, Jean-Marc Nollet, the co-president of Ecolo justifies this sequence. “The situation is difficult”, “people are exhausted, are tired, we understand them”, but the virus is stronger than expected, he explains. The epidemic figures are not good and the two previous consultation committees could not, according to the co-president of Ecolo, foresee it. “It was not as obvious as that, and especially with young audiences “, specifies Jean-Marc Nollet, referring to the increase in the number of cases of contamination among the youngest.

It also justifies the decisions taken during the two previous consultation committees. “We always try not to take unnecessary measures. To close a sector is to punish the families who are behind”, he specifies.

Which sectors should Codeco this Friday touch? GEMS experts, in their recommendations, targeted schools, hotels and restaurants, indoor activities, in particular. Jean-Marc Nollet prefers not to come forward before Codeco decides tomorrow. However, for him, “We need balanced measures. We have preserved the school until now, we feel that there are things that must be played out in this area, too. The hotel and catering industry is a sector that has already paid a lot. . You also have to take that into consideration “, he explains.

For the co-president of Ecolo, it is important that “essential sectors can continue to live“.

For Jean-Marc Nollet, it is time to invest in health care

For the co-president of Ecolo, it is also important “enter a phase where investment in hospitals is growing“. Because for him,”one of the reasons we are in trouble today is because there are a limited number of intensive care beds“, emphasizes Jean-Marc Nollet.

Lack of beds, lack of staff too. “The salary increase for nurses, the commitment of caregivers also, the capacity for hospitals to accommodate intensive care, questioning limitations seems more than necessary“, adds Jean-Marc Nollet.

The explosion of skills has not helped …

In response to criticism from the opposition, which questions the presence of a captain at the head of the government, Jean-Marc Nollet is reassuring. “There is clearly a captain, it is the Prime Minister”, he said. On the other hand, the co-president of Ecolo underlines “the institutional difficulty in Belgium”, with “the bursting of skills “.

From this point of view, at Ecolo, we plead for “a strengthening of the federal power’s capacities for action, particularly in times of crisis”.

Exit from nuclear power: “I call for the completion of the government agreement”

This Friday, December 3, the federal government will also look into the nuclear issue. In accordance with the government agreement, the Minister of Energy was tasked with studying the consequences of the closure of nuclear power plants on the country’s security of supply and on prices for customers.

“Two questions were asked. There are two answers which are brought”, summarizes Jean-Marc Nollet. In the event of nuclear reactors being shut down, for security of supply, “there will be enough to have electricity in factories, businesses and families”, answers Jean-Marc Nollet. As for the cost to consumers, there will be “a maximum per household, per year of € 15”, completes the co-president of Ecolo.

On the other hand, for him, the other scenario, that where nuclear would remain an option via the extension of two reactors, “you heard the people in charge of Engie (the plant manager), they will increase the prices. They need investments, waste will have to be managed“, warns Jean-Marc Nollet.

And so, for the co-president of Ecolo, “the government is able to decide politically“.

In the majority, the exit from nuclear power does not seem to be unanimous today. The MR and its president Georges-Louis Bouchez criticize the Minister of Energy for not having also investigated the trail of an extension of nuclear reactors. For Jean-Marc Nollet, the government agreement was clear, “At the end of November, a report was to have analyzed the two questions (price and supply)”. In this context, “the answers are given and I call for the fulfillment of the government agreement. This agreement says that if there is a positive response to demand over price and demand over security of supply, the nuclear phase-out law remains as it “, believes Jean-Marc Nollet.

As for the president of the MR, Georges-Louis Bouchez, “where is its alternative? Who is its industrial partner?”, wonders the co-president of Ecolo. “Who does he think he is, he is not the shareholder of this company? “, adds Jean-Marc Nollet, referring to Engie, the manager of Belgian nuclear reactors.

On the MR side, we also pinpoint the production of CO2, since gas-fired power stations will be built to guarantee the supply of electricity, once nuclear is shut down. “It’s totally dishonest“, retorts Jean-Marc Nollet, who shows the electoral program of the MR of 2019.”This program provided for the construction of nine gas-fired power stations. And today Minister Verstraeten succeeds in reducing this need to two power plants, and the president of the MR who proposed nine power plants in the elections would have a problem?“, wonders Jean-Marc Nollet.

And the new nuclear reactors?

At the start of the week, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo felt that the door should be left open to new technologies and decide, in terms of energy production, with a horizon of 30 or 40 years. Like France and other countries, should Belgium turn to the construction of new, smaller and more efficient plants?

Faced with the climate issue and that of the transition, “a priori, no door should be closed “, considers Jean-Marc Nollet. He adds, however, that there are other possible technologies such as deep geothermal energy or tidal power. “New technologies are not just nuclear technologies”, he specifies. The solutions are to be examined “on condition of controlling the cost, of being certain that there are no risks, that there is no waste and that they can be produced in a timely manner and for the new nuclear industry, it’s not until 2040“, explains Jean-Marc Nollet who “dream of solutions without any waste”, keeping the objective of “100% renewable in 2050”.

Since 2003 and the passage of the nuclear phase-out law, nearly 20 years have passed. This delayed the ecological transition desired by the Greens at the time, but recalls Jean-Marc Nollet, “in 20 years, no government, there have been six, has called into question the exit (of nuclear) in 2025. We have never changed the final date“, concludes Jean-Marc Nollet.

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