Will jobs be lost if the nuclear power plants close?

Generating nuclear power is a labour-intensive process requiring highly specialized and highly trained staff. The Doel and Tihange nuclear power plants mostly employ Electrabel staff, but a large number of outside contractors/service providers is typically brought in if investments are carried or maintenance work is performed. 

Electrabel's clear ambition is to support the discontinuation of its nuclear activities in a socially responsible manner. Our company has made a number of unique commitments to its employees from the nuclear business. The goal of these commitments is to preserve the employment of the workers affected as much as possible, so as to ensure the continued safe operation of the plants until their closure and, finally, to carry out all the operations necessary for their dismantling.

Specifically, all employees with permanent Electrabel contracts have an employment guarantee until the end of 2027. On top of that, employees who were 45 years or older at the end of 2021 had already been granted job security until the end of their careers. We also guaranteed to offer a quality job to all employees in the long term.

We also announced a number of additional commitments to ensure the company was able to retain the necessary skills and carry out the work required until the end of the dismantling phase. These measures include a voluntary, conditional retention mechanism for staff wishing to leave the company as of today, promoting staff mobility within the group, insourcing subcontractor duties, etc 

Regarding employment at outside suppliers, the dismantling process will also create certain opportunities. The analyses for fixing the industrial schedule and identifying activities performed by our own staff versus those that will be outsourced are underway. Our priority is to handle the dismantling as safely and efficiently as possible, eliminating any risk of exposure to radiological material for the environment and nearby residents as quickly as possible. Electrabel will of course happily call on domestic experience and expertise where this can help us to tackle the large-scale decommissioning project in a safe, efficient, environmentally friendly and competitive manner. When selecting subcontractors, we will look primarily at considerations of safety, quality and efficiency. Especially for a first-of-a-kind project like this one, we will also make sure to correctly follow all the regulations concerning private tenders. In light of the specificity of the project, we assume that the work will be performed by a mix of in-house staff and specialized subcontractors from Belgium and abroad.