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Nuclear power station in Doel, Belgium

Doel is a cracking, often malfunctioning and already sabotaged plant with possibly the largest number of people living in its near proximity of all nuclear power plants. After more than 40 years of operation, it's time to close it down.


The Doel Nuclear Power Station has 4 reactors and is one of the two nuclear power plants in Belgium. The plant is located on the bank of the Scheldt, near the village of Doel in the Flemish province of East Flanders, very near the Dutch border. The Belgian energy corporation Electrabel is the plant's largest shareholder. Doel 1 and 2 came online in 1975, while Doel 3 and 4 came online in 1982 and 1985, respectively.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Nuclear power station in Doel, Belgium
State or province:Vlaanderen / Flanders
Location of conflict:Antwerpen
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Nuclear
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Nuclear power plants
Specific commodities:Uranium
Project Details and Actors
Project details

As so many other nuclear power stations of their generation, the reactors at Doel near Antwerp are old and dangerous. They are owned by Electrabel, that itself belongs to a French company. Doel 1 and 2 are old, and there is opposition against the renewal of the permission to operate. Court cases are pending. Meanwhile, Doel 3 had to be temporarily stopped for some time because of fissures in the reactor, while Doel 4 was stopped temporarily in August 2014 because of an internal sabotage. (Le Monde, 28/1/2016). However, companies find the old reactors profitable, and make small investments to prolong their lives up to 50 ad later maybe up to 60 years. There are complaints in Belgium (a small, densely populated country) and also in The Netherlands and Germany.

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Project area:80
Type of populationUrban
Affected Population:7 million
Start of the conflict:01/01/1975
Company names or state enterprises:ENGIE - Electrabel from Belgium
Relevant government actors:Belgian State: Ministry of Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development; Agence fédérale de contrôle nucléaire (AFCN)
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:National: Greenpeace Belgium
Regional: Coalition of the 2 federations of environmental NGOs in Flanders and in Wallonia:
Local: Antwerpen leefbaar
A longlist of organisations who are active against nuclear power in Belgium:
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:International ejos
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Forms of mobilization:Artistic and creative actions (eg guerilla theatre, murals)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Fires, Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Waste overflow, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Other Environmental impacts
Other Environmental impactsRadiation that kills life in a vast circle around the plant is a potential threat
Health ImpactsVisible: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Accidents
Potential: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Occupational disease and accidents, Deaths, Other environmental related diseases
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Other socio-economic impacts
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Court decision (undecided)
New legislation
Under negotiation
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Project temporarily suspended
Proposal and development of alternatives:Many different EJOs have put forward various plans for replacing the energy produced by Belgium's nuclear power plants with energy from renewables.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Until December 2016 the reactors remain open although they represent a threat.
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Report by environmental NGO federations from Flanders and Wallonia that sums up why nuclear power is a bad idea
[click to view]

Cuves défectueuses des réacteurs nucléaires belges Doel 3 et Tihange 2. Commentaires sur le Rapport Final d’Évaluation de l’AFCN de 2015. Ilse Tweer. Spécialiste en matériaux, Consultante

Janvier 2016. Commandité par Rebecca Harms, Co-présidente du Groupe des Verts/ALE au Parlement européen. Bruxelles.
[click to view]

Belgium's neighbours fret over reboot of ageing nuclear reactors, January 2016
[click to view]

A long list of media articles on the wikipedia page of the power plant
[click to view]

Libération, Pourquoi le parc nucléaire belge provoque-t-il des inquiétudes ? Par Isabelle Hanne — 2 février 2016
[click to view]

Le Quotidien (Luxemburg), Parc nucléaire belge : le Luxembourg n’est pas le seul à s’inquiéter, 14/4/2016
[click to view]

Le Monde, 18 Jan. 2016, Les centrales nucléaires belges inquiètent les Allemands et les Hollandais, Jean-Pierre Stroobants
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

La Libre Belgique. Centrales nucléaires : manifestation à Maastricht contre les centrales "fissurées" de Doel et Tihange, 21 mai 2016
[click to view]

More than 100 articles about nuclear energy in Belgium by Greenpeace Belgium
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Nick Meynen, European Environmental Bureau, [email protected]
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:2498
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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