The Nuclear Option Why is there a differentiation between the nuclear energy policy of the Netherlands and Belgium?
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The usage of nuclear energy has been the subject of much debate in the past and in the present. Even within the European Union, the use of nuclear energy is not without complications. For example, Belgium is almost dependent on the use of nuclear energy, while it is hardly used in the Netherlands. This distinction will be analyzed in this thesis, and an attempt will be made to provide an answer to the question: Why is there a differentiation between the nuclear energy policy of the Netherlands and Belgium? This matter was answered by looking at the trend that has been going on since Second World War and evaluating the actors involved in political and social debates using available source material. These actors are the government, environmental movements, the industrial sector, and scientists, in that order. According to the findings, there is virtually little variation between Dutch and Belgian policies. The government in the Netherlands, however, made place for environmental groups and incorporated critical voices from scientists in the decision-making process. Although the Dutch government did not follow the recommendations one-on-one, it did result in a shift in policy in Belgium, where these players had little or no impact on political processes; it even appeared that most scientists supported the use of nuclear energy. This study adds to the current debate on nuclear energy by providing insights into the potential that nuclear energy has held since World War II, but it also demonstrates where nuclear technology has shortcomings and hazards. Nuclear energy remains on the political agenda, and from the looks of it, it is there to stay.