09-09-2020

Tihange 2 nuclear power plant: Belgian court dismisses lawsuit – reactor to be shut down by the end of 2023




After four years of legal disputes, a decision was issued in the case of accident-prone Belgian reactor Tihange 2 on September 3, 2020. The Belgian court in Brussels dismissed the lawsuit of Aachen City Region against the continued operation of Tihange 2 in the first instance. The joint plaintiffs now intend to analyze the detailed grounds for the judgement.

There will be no extension, however, of the Tihange 2 reactor’s operating life. It is set to be shut down by the end of 2023, which is at least in part also owing to the intense legal dispute and the numerous protests by Aachen City Region and the other plaintiffs.

In court, the plaintiffs were represented by Brussels-based law firm blixt – climate and energy law. In the lawsuit against the Belgian State, the Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (FANC), and Engie Electrabel S.A., the operator of the nuclear power plant, they were also supported by a team led by Dr. Ute Jasper and Laurence Westen, both Partners at Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek in Düsseldorf.

“Obviously we are disappointed that the court dismissed the lawsuit. At the same time, we are proud to have supported Aachen City Region in the lawsuit. It is very likely that the legal pressure has also contributed to the operating life of the Tihange 2 reactor not being extended beyond 2023 after all,” said Jasper and Westen.

In the event of an incident involving the nuclear reactor, not only would the City of Aachen and the region be rendered uninhabitable, but the entirety of North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate would also be severely impacted. It is for this reason that there have been repeated protests against the Belgian nuclear power plant in recent years.

Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek’s “Public Sector & Public Procurement” department has been one of the market leaders in public procurement law for years. Its lawyers hold top spots in German and international lawyer rankings. Since 1991, they have advised on awards, restructuring, large-scale projects, and cooperations in the public sector and have accompanied several hundred large-scale projects of federal, state, and local authorities and their subsidiaries with a total volume in excess of EUR 40 billion without any procedure having been successfully challenged to date.

Dr. Ute Jasper is one of the most renowned lawyers for procurement and infrastructure projects in the public sector. She advises federal and state ministries, municipalities, and businesses, particularly on innovative and complex projects. Ute Jasper heads Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek's “Public Sector & Public Procurement” department. For years, she has been ranked number 1 with her team in JUVE Handbook of Commercial Law Firms. According to “Law Firms in Germany,” she is the “premier contact on the market” for infrastructure. In October 2016, she received the JUVE Award for Regulated Industries with her team.

Dr. Laurence M. Westen is a lawyer and has been a Partner in the “Public Sector & Public Procurement” practice group, Düsseldorf, since 2020. His practice focuses on advising contracting authorities on the award of large-scale projects and on defending against applications for review.

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