On 13 December, ENGIE and the Belgian government signed the final agreement on the LTO of the Tihange 3 and Doel 4 nuclear power plants and on all obligations related to nuclear waste.
This document confirms and reaffirms the main principles of the framework agreement signed on 21 July 2023, namely:
- A commitment from both parties to perform a Flexible Long-Term Operation (LTO), representing an estimated investment of EUR 1.6 to 2 billion, and to make every effort to restart the Doel 4 and Tihange 3 units by November 2025;
- The creation of a legal structure for the two LTO units, with equal ownership by the Belgian state and ENGIE;
- The economic model for the LTO, with a balanced distribution of risks, particularly through a Contract for Difference mechanism as compensation for the electricity production. The exercise price will be based on the fair cost of extending the operation of the nuclear units. These costs are not yet known, but will be estimated based on the nuclear safety requirements established by the Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (FANC). An initial price will therefore be determined in 2025, which will then be updated in 2028, based on the final cost of the extension known by then, to cover the period to 2035;
- Determination of a lump sum for future costs related to the processing of nuclear waste, covering all of ENGIE's nuclear facilities in Belgium, for a total amount of EUR 15 billion, payable in two installments, according to the categories of waste;
- The removal of restrictions on Electrabel's non-European assets.
The impact of ENGIE's increased commitments related to the transfer of nuclear waste provisions on non-recurring net income and on net economic debt was already determined on 30 June 2023. ENGIE confirms that this agreement does not alter the Group's mid-term prospects.
The final text also contains the technical and operational conditions for restarting the two units from November 2025, with full guarantees for nuclear safety.
The operation of these two reactors, together with the ongoing dismantling work on the other units, will maintain about 4,000 jobs (direct, indirect and derived) and will involve the hiring of 200 additional employees in the coming months.
This agreement still has to be approved by the European Commission - consultations are underway - and the legislative amendments still need to be adopted.
Catherine MacGregor, CEO of ENGIE: "We are very pleased to announce the final signature of this agreement, enabling a balanced sharing of the risks related to the extended operation of the two nuclear units and removing the uncertainties for the ENGIE Group regarding the evolution of the provisions related to nuclear waste. Our teams are hard at work and are fully focused on implementing the LTOs within the shortest possible timeframe and thus strengthening Belgium's electricity security.”