Nuclear energy has gone from taboo to election topic Yesterday, 3:49 PM in Politics Many parties want to expand the number of nuclear power stations, which was unthinkable until recently.

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Storage of radioactive waste
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Nuclear energy is back as an election theme. Many parties are speaking out about it in the run-up to November 22. And usually it comes down to the Netherlands having to use more nuclear energy. That is a radical change compared to roughly ten years ago.

Today the House of Representatives spoke with outgoing Minister Jetten for Climate and Energy about the subject, which was taboo for many parties for a long time because they saw nuclear energy as dangerous, especially after the disasters in Chernobyl (1986) and Fukushima (2011). For them, another important argument against nuclear energy was the waste that remains radioactive for thousands of years.

There now appears to be “a nuclear renaissance”, VVD MP Erkens noted in the debate, in which he argued for the construction of more new nuclear power stations. He is “pleased that political and social support is expanding”. He felt supported by the fellow MPs present from CDA, Forum for Democracy and JA21, who would rather invest in nuclear power plants than in new wind farms, for example.

‘Small part of energy supply’

In this debate, in which not all groups participated, the GroenLinks and PvdA factions suddenly found themselves alone with the position that nuclear energy is not the solution for a stable energy supply in the future. MP Kröger, on behalf of the two factions, also pointed out the time and costs involved in the construction of new nuclear power stations.

“It feels like for a lot of parties this is the thing where you have to put all your weight on it,” she said. “But ultimately it only concerns a small part – about 9 to 12 percent – of the total energy supply.”

Minister Jetten gave an overview of the state of affairs after the fall of the cabinet. The coalition parties VVD, D66, CDA and ChristenUnie had agreed in the coalition agreement to keep the nuclear power plant in Borssele open longer and to take “the necessary steps” for the construction of two new nuclear power plants. It has now been decided that they should also come to Borssele. Various studies are being done to see if this is possible.

How things will proceed is up to the next cabinet, Jetten said. But as far as he is concerned, it is important that we not only look at solar and wind energy to get rid of oil and gas, but certainly also at nuclear energy. He doesn’t just think that as a minister. At a party meeting in Zwolle, he recently announced as party leader of D66 that his party as a whole has also changed its position.

Draft election programmes

In the 2017 election manifesto, D66 rejected nuclear energy. In 2021 as well, but a sentence was added that they were paying “an open mind to developments in this technology”.

Jetten’s party is not the only one that has undergone a development on this point. In the 2017 election manifestos, only the SGP advocated nuclear energy. In the draft election manifestos that have now been completed, almost all parties have devoted a paragraph to the subject. And many parties are in favor of expansion.

Should nuclear energy be expanded or not?

What are the parties saying in the campaign?
D66 Yes
SP no
GL/PvdA no
Animal party no
Forum for Democracy Yes
Volt Yes
JA21 Yes
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