Netherlands launches siting procedure for new NPPs

22 February 2024

The Netherlands Ministry of Economic Affairs & Climate has taken the first step in the procedure to decide on the locations for two new nuclear units. Interested parties are invited to submit their ideas between 23 February and 4 April.

The Netherlands’ only operating NPP at Borssele was built in the 1970s and is due to be decommissioned in 2033. In December 2021, the Netherlands announced plans to build two reactors by 2035, taking nuclear’s share of generating capacity from 3% to 13%. In December 2022 the government has indicated that it currently sees Borssele as the most suitable location for the new reactors.

The Ministry said: "Companies, social organisations, local authorities and anyone who wants to do so can contribute ideas about the locations to be investigated and environmental effects for the construction of two new nuclear power stations." it said. “If the ideas meet the preconditions described in the intention, the ministry will investigate whether these locations are potentially suitable in the next step of the project procedure. In any case, existing 'guarantee locations' are being investigated. These are Borssele/Vlissingen (the Sloe area), and Maasvlakte I (the port of Rotterdam)."

The Ministry will also publish its 'intention' for the new reactors, describing how it will involve interested parties and local residents in the project procedure in the future. Interested parties can indicate how they would like to be involved in the next steps.

"The 'intention and proposal for participation' is a formal part of the project procedure for projects of national importance," the ministry said. "Based on a careful procedure, the cabinet will make a final decision on the location in 2025. The project procedure is one of the four work tracks required to make a final decision and start the tender. The first technical feasibility studies, market consultation and first steps for the National-Regional Package were started earlier."

Meanwhile, Westinghouse Electric Company has become the second company to be awarded a contract by the Dutch government to conduct a technical feasibility study (TFS) for the two reactors. Westinghouse will now evaluate the construction of two AP1000 units at Borssele. In December 2023, during South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol‘s state visit to the Netherlands an agreement was signed to cooperate on nuclear power, including a feasibility study by Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP) for the construction of a NPP in the Netherlands. KHNP signed a memorandum of understanding with the Netherlands’ Economic Affairs & Climate Policy Ministry on the feasibility study. The Dutch government said KHNP would begin the feasibility study in January to consider whether the reactor design complies with Dutch legislation and regulations, and whether it can be fitted into the preferred location at Borssele. The study is expected to last at least six months.

The contract with Westinghouse was signed by Michel Heijdra, Director-General for Climate & Energy at the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate, and Elias Gedeon, Westinghouse Senior Vice President of Energy Systems Commercial Operations. The Ministry had earlier indicated that it also planned to sign a similar feasibility study with EDF.

Image (left): Borssele nuclear power plant

Image (right): Michel Heijdra from the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate (left), with Elias Gedeon from Westinghouse (right) (courtesy of Westinghouse)

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