Netherlands - Plutonium Investigation n°11

Nuclear Power

The only operating nuclear power plant is the 450 MWe Borssele PWR which has been running since 1973 operated by EPZ. According to a 25 November 1994 resolution from the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of the Dutch Parliament, its operating license is only valid until 31 December 2003. The parliamentary vote was passed by a margin of 77-73 votes only. However, an opinion poll conducted at the time showed 80% of the Dutch population was opposed to nuclear power. During 1997, the plant was subject to an intensive overhaul which comprised the complete rebuilding of parts of the facility. EPZ is not willing to shut down the plant and has initiated an administrative court case against the decision in 1997. Typically, such administrative cases last four to six years, and thus a decision on the validity of the end of the operating license could precede or even follow the currently planned shut-down of the plant.

The only other nuclear power plant in the Netherlands is the 60 MWe boiling-water reactor (BWR) which was operated by GKN at Dodewaard. This plant generated 11.5 TWh from 1968 to 1997.

Dutch research and development has contributed to the development of enrichment capability based on centrifuge technology, through the trilateral (Netherlands - Germany - UK) URENCO partnership company, established by the 1970 Treaty of Almelo. The company started up in August 1971, using previous secret research from the three countries which was pooled. The enrichment plant at Almelo began active operations in 1972.

Back to contents                To be continued