Holland planning new nuclear builds

The Dutch government is expected to reveal plans this week to develop two new nuclear power stations, in what will be “a good addition to all sustainable techniques” in the Netherlands, Climate and Energy Minister Rob Jetten has said.

“We are fully committed to wind, sun and other sustainable energy sources. But you also want a stable CO2-free energy source in that energy mix,” he added, according to a report in the NL Times.

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February and Gazprom cutting gas supplies to the Netherlands after wholesaler GasTerra has refused to bow to the Kremlin’s demand to pay in roubles for fear of breaching EU sanctions. As such,  a majority in the Dutch House of Representatives have urged Jetten to develop further plans for nuclear energy.

Following the coalition agreement, which will prepare “for the construction of new nuclear power plants,” the government has allocated EUR5 billion for the initial development, Dutch broadcaster NOS reported. 

The government’s next step is to find parties to build and operate the plants.

The conservative-liberal political party, the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) wants both nuclear stations to be built in Borssele, a village in the province of Zeeland, as the only other functioning power station in the Netherlands is in that village.

The move to nuclear comes after a prolonged political impasse in the country.

On 15 December 2021, four Dutch parties reached a coalition agreement after months of negotiations. The formation of the new government took 299 days, a record in Dutch history.

One of the new government’s main aims is to tackle climate change: “To be climate neutral in 2050, the Netherlands will tighten the target for 2030 in the Climate Act to at least 55 per cent CO2 reduction.” In the Climate Act of 2019, this figure was 49%. After that, the Netherlands aims for a reduction of 70% by 2035 and 80% by 2040.