The Netherlands needs to train specialists to go nuclear, expert warns

The Netherlands has one nuclear power station in Zeeland. Photo:

Government plans to build two new nuclear power stations means training for future staff is a matter of urgency, Delft University nuclear specialist Bert Wolterbeek has warned.

Wolterbeek is in favour of new nuclear power stations but said well-trained staff will be needed to operate them. ‘Building the reactors will take years but training people will also take a long time, the two need to go hand in hand,’ Wolterbeek told the Telegraaf.

The Netherlands only has one nuclear power station at the moment – the Borssele plant in Zeeland which produces some 3% of all Dutch energy use. Instead of closing it down in 2033, as was the plan, it will now be kept open for longer while work will start on two more nuclear reactors.

Coalition partners ChristenUnie, CDA and VVD are in favour of a rapid and structural investment in nuclear expertise, citing the importance of no longer having to depend on Russian gas and the need to cut carbon emissions.

However, the matter is dividing parliament, with D66 focusing on energy saving measures and more wind and solar energy for the next 10 to 15 years, the Telegraaf says.

More European cooperation in the field of energy, like the joint purchase of gas, should also be considered, D66 MP Raoul Boucke said.

A spokesman for D66 climate minister Rob Jetten told the paper more information will be published soon about the plans for the new reactors.

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