The German-Belgian Nuclear Commission has convened for the first time. The meeting of experts from German and Belgian nuclear supervisory authorities is a key element of the German-Belgian Nuclear Agreement signed by Federal Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks and Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Jan Jambon at the end of 2016. The Nuclear Commission will meet on a regular basis to establish ties and to enable an even closer exchange on nuclear safety issues.
German experts from the Federal Environment Ministry, representatives of the Länder of North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate and Belgian experts from the Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (FANC) took part in the two-day meeting. The first meeting established the framework for future formal cooperation and specified procedures for joint communication, laying the foundations for cooperation within the Nuclear Commission.
The Commission discussed nuclear safety issues and the findings at the Tihange 2 and Doel 3 nuclear power plants. The German participants used the meeting to communicate the concerns of the German population to the Belgian experts and to reiterate the request from Federal Environment Minister Hendricks to Minister Jambon to shut down the reactors. Agreement was reached on a further meeting between Belgian and German nuclear safety experts in the near future in order to discuss what Germany considers to be unresolved issues concerning the findings in the Tihange 2 and Doel 3 reactor pressure vessels. Additionally, a workshop on decommissioning will be held at the start of next year.
The two governments signed the German-Belgian Nuclear Agreement in December 2016, giving a new, binding character to their bilateral cooperation. One main reason for the agreement was the recommissioning of the Belgian reactors Tihange 2 and Doel 3 at the end of 2015. This caused great concern in Germany, especially in regions close to the Belgian border. The mandate of the German-Belgian Nuclear Commission, and of the Nuclear Agreement, comprises issues such as nuclear safety, radiation protection and the safety of spent fuel management and of radioactive waste management.