Plans to decommission the Netherland’s only operating reactor, Borssele, in 2013 are reportedly being reconsidered in the light of Kyoto commitments. The 480 MW plant generates 4% of the country’s electricity.

Junior environment minister Pieter van Geel has said that it would be wrong to decommission Borssele, saying, “We must realise that closing Borssele will cost hundreds of millions [of euros] and we will not get any renewable power in return,” but the move may cause a rift within the coalition government.

Along with the suggestion that the closure could prevent the country reaching its emissions targets, substantial decommissioning costs present another argument for prolonging the lifespan of Borssele. The 2002 decree to close down the reactor followed a recent licence extension for the plant and significant investment in upgrading the unit by owner and operator EPZ. It is consequently estimated that it could cost the government up to €1 billion in compensation.

Parliament is due to debate the plant’s future later this month.