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Belgium to extend EUR550m nuclear levy in 2013

Belgium is likely to extend a EUR550m (US$712m) levy on the nuclear power industry into 2013, its energy minister Melchior Wathelet said.

The country put a EUR550m tax on its nuclear industry for 2012, a move that prompted GDF Suez, the French utility that owns Belgium’s nuclear power plant operator Electrabel, to reassess its nuclear strategy in the country. Electrabel has opposed the higher level and has threatened to take Belgium to court.

In October 2009, GDF Suez agreed to pay Belgium EUR215-245m annually during 2012-14 and a further unspecified contribution for 2015-25.

Belgium aims to shut down its three oldest reactors by 2015 and, providing it can source sufficient power from alternative means to keep the lights on, completely exit nuclear power by 2025.

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