THE NETHERLANDS

(Updated 2017)

PREAMBLE

This report provides information on the status and development of nuclear power programmes in the Netherlands, including factors related to the effective planning, decision making and implementation of the nuclear power programme that together lead to safe and economical operation of nuclear power plants.

The CNPP summarizes organizational and industrial aspects of nuclear power programmes and provides information about the relevant legislative, regulatory and international framework in the Netherlands.

The Netherlands has one nuclear power reactor in operation.

1. COUNTRY ENERGY REVIEW

1.1. Energy Information

1.1.1. Energy Policy

The Transition to a Low Carbon Energy Supply in 2050

The Dutch energy supply is expected to change fundamentally over the coming decades. The Paris Agreement on climate change has set a target of limiting global warming to well below two degrees Celsius, with a goal to limit maximum temperature increase to one and a half degrees Celsius. This requires a drastic reduction in the use of fossil fuels, pushing its use close to zero by the year 2050. By then, electricity will be generated sustainably, buildings will mainly be heated by geothermal energy and electricity, businesses will have adapted their production processes, natural gas will no longer be used for cooking and the cars on the road will be almost exclusively electric.

The transition to a low carbon energy supply requires a huge effort from the general public, businesses and public authorities. The task is a complex one: timely development and wide availability of sustainable alternatives, major investment in areas such as insulation, installations and production installations, and infrastructure and — in a densely populated country like the Netherlands — continuous assessment of the spatial effects. First and foremost, the energy transition is a major social challenge: it encroaches directly onto people’s daily lives and living environment. A transition of this scope can only happen if the energy supply remains affordable, reliable and safe.

The energy transition was set in motion globally and this process will continue, irrespective of geopolitical uncertainties. The Dutch Government has no wish to adopt a wait and see attitude, and has instead chosen to respond proactively. This is because the energy transition offers many great opportunities, if we can pool and increase the available knowledge and skill, capabilities and arrangements. This requires new and fruitful partnerships between businesses, knowledge institutes, civil society organizations and public authorities. In this way the transition becomes more than just a change of energy sources, it becomes an (innovative) process that increases the power of the Dutch economy and society.

This transition also requires a clear, long term perspective offering certainty to businesses having to invest, directors having to make decisions and the general public facing important choices. The successful Energy Agreement for Sustainable Growth provides this certainty up to the year 2023, so the first important steps in the transition have been taken, but the major challenges still lie ahead of us.

The main features of future energy policy for the period to 2050 were outlined in the “Energy Report”. These features were discussed in detail in the Energy Dialogue, the outcomes of which have been building blocks for the Energy Agenda. The Dutch Government intends to use this agenda to outline a clear, ambitious perspective towards 2030 and 2050.

Aiming for CO2 Reduction

In the energy transition to 2030 and 2050, the Dutch Government has one simple objective in mind: cutting emissions of greenhouse gases (“aiming for CO2 reduction”). This objective is being pursued because it is the most cost effective way to achieve the aim of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

It is clear that a serious commitment must be made to energy conservation and also that major investment is needed to increase the share of renewable energy in the energy mix. The great social, economic and technological uncertainties mean it is impossible to determine the optimum ratio of energy conservation to renewable energy in advance. The best possible and most cost effective mix of energy conservation, renewable energy and other low carbon options will arise in the market by aiming for CO2 reduction. Aiming for CO2 reduction must be a key part of European energy and climate policy and this is the focus of the Netherlands’ efforts in Europe.

In theory, the European emissions trading system (ETS) is a good tool for effective CO2 reduction. Currently, the CO2 price in the ETS is low because of the great supply of emission allowances relative to demand. This is expected to remain the case in coming years, even in the long term. Therefore, the ETS does not provide sufficient incentive to achieve significant CO2 reduction in the European Union (EU). The Dutch Government is aiming for an ambitious strengthening of the ETS by tightening the annual reduction percentage and cutting the surplus of allowances.

Need for a Gradual and Therefore Timely Transition in the Netherlands

Even if CO2 prices rise as a result of tightening the ETS, the incentives for contributing to CO2 reduction for Dutch energy producers and the energy intensive industrial sector will be limited for the time being. This is because power stations and businesses in the Netherlands are very efficient in European terms. The ETS gives all the Member States the same target, whatever the starting position. Dutch businesses are therefore among the last in the EU to have any incentive to reduce CO2 emissions. Without additional policies regulating CO2 emissions in the Netherlands, industry and business emissions are not expected to fall towards 2030. Expectations are that these emissions may even rise further in line with economic growth. The 2050 task consequently is of greater importance, while the time remaining to make the transition is decreasing. The energy transition started in good time, and would therefore be more gradual, which could be advantageous in terms of controlling costs and also provide a chance to exploit the economic opportunities.

The Netherlands therefore has an economic interest in a gradual energy transition. This challenge is most patent in the ETS functionalities (power and light and high temperature heating). The transition path towards 2050 in the non-ETS sectors of low temperature heating and transport also requires close examination. Additional CO2 reduction will be achieved in these sectors if the current policy is continued, even though additional efforts are needed to achieve the national target for 2030 that the European Union has proposed. However, the question is whether meeting this target is sufficient to start the transition towards 2050 in an economically sensible way. These sectors are facing a major task and a long investment depreciation period. It is therefore advisable to lay down additional policy for these sectors too, and in its implementation to make choices aimed at a cost effective implementation of the transition towards 2050. In this way, a contribution can also be made towards strengthening social awareness of the energy transition and developing a good perspective for action for the general public and businesses.

FIG. 1. Development of energy emissions in the Netherlands.

Blue line: 80% CO2 reduction with continuation of current policy.

Red line: 80% CO2 reduction with gradual path.

Green square: 95% CO2 reduction.

Shifting the perspective from hitting targets in the relatively short term (the targets in the Energy Agreement for 2020 and 2023) to the desirable required transition in 2050 shows that the Netherlands has an economic interest in speeding up the transition. It is important that the investments made in the coming years are appropriate to a low carbon economy in 2050, also with an eye to preventing disinvestments in the future. The additional policy considered necessary is therefore not prompted primarily by the global climate perspective — the contribution the Netherlands can make is limited — but by the wish to exploit economic opportunities and to prevent shock effects in the Dutch economy.

Given this long term perspective, the obvious choice in the long term is to develop instruments aimed at the transition to a low carbon energy supply in 2050. A greater emphasis on the policy aiming at the development and further development of new technologies and the exploitation of economic opportunities is clearly called for. To effectively harness innovation, a number of long term, mission driven innovation programmes must be initiated. The development of radical innovations takes a long time, which is why it is important to provide better incentives for the development of relatively unknown, but potentially highly promising technologies in the framework of CO2 reduction. As a result, the transition to a low carbon energy supply will be realistic, affordable and potentially profitable as well. The efforts in research and innovation (such as the top sector policy) will therefore be directed more towards CO2 reduction and the long term (2050). The Dutch Government is aiming for strategic international cooperation to bring promising international projects and research funds to the Netherlands.

The choice for all sectors, for now, is additional policy consisting of a mix of incentive measures and regulation and obligations that is in keeping with a gradual transition towards 80% to 95% CO2 reduction in 2050. This policy is laid down in so-called transition paths. In the Energy Agenda these transition paths have been set out in broad terms for the four functionalities. The Dutch Government will analyse the costs of the transition to a low carbon society in 2050 in more detail in the first half of 2017. Based on these broad terms and assessment of the costs, we will consult the general public, businesses, knowledge institutes, civil society organizations and local and regional authorities. This should ultimately allow us to mutually determine for each functionality the ambitions and transition paths worked out in greater detail, leading up to 2030 and 2050. The innovation tasks will form an integral part of these transition paths.

The Tasks Towards 2050 for Each Functionality

Power and Light

For the “power and light” functionality (the electricity sector) there are three key elements in the transition:

Moving the production of electricity to low carbon sources;

  • Improving the operation of the European electricity market, in particular the north-western European market;

  • Adapting the electricity system to the increasingly decentralized supply and the need for the system to become more flexible.

The Energy Agreement will produce a sharp reduction in CO2 in the coming years. However, the ETS is not expected to provide sufficient incentive to make sufficient progress towards the energy transition in this functionality leading up to 2030 as well. Therefore, policy supplementary to the ETS is and will continue to be necessary. The Dutch Government is opting for the following measures:

  • Continuing to promote renewable energy by extending the successful renewable energy production incentive scheme (SDE+), even after the Energy Agreement has expired. We will be examining whether it is possible, while retaining the SDE+ methodology, to extend the scheme to other technologies that also contribute to CO2 reduction towards 2050.

  • Continuing to seek collaboration with our Northwestern European neighbours to prevent competition for subsidy tools between countries.

  • Continuing the large scale rollout of offshore wind energy according to the current approach after 2023.

  • Exploring how the successful offshore wind approach can also be deployed in the rollout of other forms of offshore and onshore renewable energy generation.

  • Finally, continuing to encourage local renewable energy production. A decision on the design of the incentive policy for local energy will be taken in 2017 based on the evaluation of the netting scheme.

High Temperature Heat

The Netherlands has a large, export oriented, internationally competitive energy intensive industrial sector. The Dutch Government sees potential for retaining this industrial sector in the Netherlands, provided that production is on a low carbon basis. The energy intensive industrial sector is facing a major, complex transition task that requires breaking with past practice. This is because, in spite of a slight fall in CO2 emissions in recent years, the CO2 emissions of the industrial sector are expected to rise rather than fall in the coming years. The ETS does not provide enough of an incentive to drastically reduce CO2 emissions.

To prevent rising costs of an abruptly necessary transition after 2030 and to benefit from the economic opportunities that the energy transition provides, more is needed than simply strengthening the ETS. The industrial sector must invest in CO2 reduction, but also retain its earning potential and competitive position. Consequently, the approach to the industrial sector transition will be one consisting of a mix of incentive measures and regulation and obligations.

The main measures are:

  • The prevention of CO2 emissions through:

    • An ambitious commitment to energy conservation, for example by continuing the obligation or performance agreement for energy conservation (Energy Agreement) and possibly a less degressive energy tax rate (with a view to a level playing field in relation to other Member States);

    • Developing and rolling out alternative heating options, such as the application of ultra-deep geothermal heating and the better use of residue streams.

  • Capturing and storing CO2 (CCS: carbon capture and storage) in cases where there are no low carbon alternatives available. The Dutch Government is aiming for the implementation of an offshore carbon capture and storage demonstration project near Rotterdam (referred to as ROAD) as a first step towards a wider and more large-scale CCS network.

Low Temperature Heating

There is also an aim for a drastic reduction in heating demand through energy conservation and a sharp reduction in natural gas use by boosting and incorporating low carbon generation of electricity and heating.

The first pillar for CO2 reduction in the built environment is energy conservation, which can be promoted in three ways:

  • Imposing a minimum for CO2 reduction;

  • Encouraging exceeding that CO2 minimum ;

  • Removing bottlenecks in the rollout of specific technologies towards a low carbon future.

The Dutch Government is preparing legally binding measures, such as a minimum energy label for housing organization dwellings and for office buildings. The suitability of this for other property sectors is also being explored. The Dutch Government is also continuing and expanding conservation incentives through information, grants (such as the Owner-Occupied House Energy Conservation Incentive Scheme), low interest loans (such as the National Energy Conservation Fund) and support of innovative approaches.

The second pillar for CO2 reduction in this functionality is a sharp reduction in the use of natural gas. To achieve this, the Government opts for the following measures:

  • In principle, new gas infrastructure will no longer be created in newly built residential districts. The Gas Act will be adapted accordingly, preventing the task from becoming even greater.

  • The requirement in the Gas Act to provide a gas connection will be replaced by a broader right to a heating energy infrastructure connection.

  • Municipalities will be given the responsibility and the necessary powers to decide on the local energy supply at local level, in cooperation with the network operator.

  • Preparations are being made for regulating large scale heat networks in due course in similar fashion to electricity and gas networks, allowing a more comprehensive comparison between these energy infrastructures.

The transition of the low temperature heat supply will largely take place at the local level. A significant role has been set aside for municipalities and network operators. An optimum division of tasks and responsibilities will be considered in conjunction with these parties when working out the details of the transition path.

Transport

The mobility and transport sector still principally runs on fossil fuels. Additional policy is needed to implement the transition to a sustainable sector by 2050: for greater fuel economy, sustainable biofuels and the use of zero emission vehicles. Implementation of the Sustainable Fuel Mix report is the starting point.

Intensification of the transition will take place through the use of new techniques, efficiency measures and behavioural interventions, so that fewer movements take place and fewer (fossil) fuels are consumed. Aiming for timely innovation within the different modes of transport is necessary if the targets for 2030 and 2050 are to be achieved cost effectively. European and international agreements are an important basis for further reductions in the mobility sector. The Dutch Government is therefore advocating the tightening of European standards and effective global mechanisms. It is aiming to roll out a national network of alternative fuelling and charging infrastructure.

The responsibilities in the energy transition

The Netherlands will only achieve the transition if all parties — the general public, businesses, knowledge institutes, civil society organizations, municipal and provincial authorities and central Government — are willing and able, based on their own responsibility and competence, to contribute to it. Agreements must be made at European level about the implications of the Paris Agreement; in addition to this, close cooperation is required at a north-western European level. This is necessary to prevent leakage effects, to guarantee a level playing field and to make the most efficient choices. In this way we can ensure an affordable energy supply and a sustainable, competitive Europe.

At the national level, the energy transition requires a clear vision and consistent policy. The Energy Agenda provides this vision, which will be developed in further detail together with civil society organizations. There must be a guarantee that the energy transition, as a development that cannot be stopped, continues even when the Dutch Government changes political colour. The general public, businesses and local Government must sense the urgency and see the opportunities to take further steps in the transition to a low carbon energy supply.

Statutory assurance of targets, institutions or policy may contribute to this, as it gives a sign of political commitment and stresses the need for and the urgency of the transition. The long term climate targets of the energy policy are however already embedded in law through ratification of the Paris Climate Agreement. The EU is converting them into specific targets for 2030 and 2050 and as a result they are already legally binding for the Netherlands.

Following on from the Energy Agreement it would seem logical to implement the energy transition in cooperation with municipal and provincial authorities, civil society organizations and businesses through broad social agreement. Implementation in subagreements or regional agreements with customization for each functionality towards 2030 and 2050 is an obvious strategy.

Realization of the energy transition will largely take place at regional and local level. The task is to provide scope to municipal and provincial authorities and regional and local civil society organizations, and simultaneously at central Government level — through financial, substantive and spatial framework creation — to aim for solutions that are better or more efficient on a supraregional or national scale.

1.1.2. Estimated Available Energy

Table 1 shows the estimated available energy sources as of January 2016.

TABLE 1. ESTIMATED AVAILABLE ENERGY SOURCES

 Fossil fuels Nuclear  Renewables
Solid Liquid Gas Uranium Hydro Other
renewable
Total amount in specific units*    31.6  891      
Total amount in exajoule (EJ)    1.35  28.2      

* Solid, Liquid: Million tons; Gas: Billion m3; Uranium: Metric tons; Hydro, Renewable: TW

Source: Delfstoffen en Aardwarmte in Nederland, jaarverslag 2015. Estimated reserves as of 1 January 2016.

http://www.nlog.nl/cmis/browser?id=workspace%3A//SpacesStore/54f8c0b1-707e-4a6d-b267-87cbd9aca1d2

1.1.3. Energy Statistics

Table 2 provides information on the historical growth rates of total primary energy consumption and energy production.

TABLE 2. ENERGY STATISTICS

  1980 1990 2000 2010 2015 Average annual growth rate (%)
2000 to 2015
Total primary energy consumption* (A)            
- Total 2.723 2.724 3.159 3.490 3.094 -0.14%
- Coal and coal products** 0.167 0.366 0.325 0.316 0.461 2.36%
- Liquids 1.204 0.944 1.177 1.320 1.166 -0.06%
- Gases 1.267 1.303 1.465 1.641 1.211 -1.26%
- Nuclear 0.046 0.038 0.041 0.038 0.039 -0.33%
- Hydro 0.000 0.000 0.001 0.000 0.000 0.00%
- Biofuels and waste 0.000 0.000 0.079 0.146 0.148 4.29%
- Electricity -0.001 0.033 0.068 0.010 0.031 -5.10%
-Other renewables 0.000 0.000 0.004 0.016 0.035 15.58%
- Other sources 0.000 0.000 0.001 0.002 0.003 7.11%
Energy production (B)            
- Total 3.032 2.547 2.428 2.921 1.954 -1.44%
- Coal and coal products ** 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.00%
- Liquids 0.067 0.170 0.115 0.075 0.098 -1.06%
- Gases 2.878 2.300 2.185 2.656 1.633 -1.92%
- Nuclear 0.046 0.038 0.041 0.038 0.039 -0.33%
- Hydro 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.00%
- Biofuels and waste 0.000 0.000 0.083 2.731 1.731 22.45%
- Electricity 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.00%
- Other renewables 0.000 0.000 0.056 0.114 0.147 6.65%
- Other sources 0.000 0.000 0.001 0.002 0.003 7.11%
Net import (Import - Export) (C)            
- Total 0.166 0.721 1.513 1.322 2.069 2.11%

Source: Statistics of the Netherlands (http://statline.cbs.nl/Statweb/publication/?VW=T&DM=SLNL&PA=83140NED&D1=0-5,7,10,13,22&D2=0-1,11,34-50&D3=10,15,20,23-25&HD=170502-1357&HDR=G2&STB=T,G1).

* Energy consumption = Primary energy consumption + Net import (Import - Export) of secondary energy.

** Solid fuels include coal, lignite.

1.2. The Electricity System

1.2.1. Electricity Policy and Decision Making Process

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate (Ministerie van Economische Zaken en Klimaat) has the overall responsibility for the Dutch energy policy and climate, including polices for renewable energy, energy transition and bio-based economy, and research, development and demonstration (RD&D). The Ministry is also the lead authority for the State Coordination Programme for the planning of large scale energy infrastructure projects.

The Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management (Ministerie van Infrastructuur en Waterstaat) is responsible for policies on environment, transport, water and public works. It supervises the administrative procedures under the Dutch Environmental Management Act. Together with the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate it coordinates the environmental impact assessments and permits for spatial planning, including maritime waters. The regional governments are responsible for granting environmental licences and permits.

Responsibility for energy efficiency is shared among several ministries and implementing agencies. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate is in charge of overall energy policy, including energy efficiency, and measures in agriculture and other sectors. The Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management is responsible for energy efficiency in transport policy, whereas the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations is responsible for energy efficiency in buildings. The Ministry of Education and Science is responsible for fundamental science and research (through publicly funded universities and research institutes).

The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM), established in April 2013, is the authority under the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate with regulatory powers to supervise electricity and natural gas markets as well as district heating markets. The Energiekamer is charged with regulation and oversight duties stemming from the Electricity and Gas Act. The Energiekamer is also responsible for:

Issuing supply licences for the supply of electricity and gas to captive consumers;

  • Determining tariff structures and conditions for the transmissions of electricity;

  • Determining guidelines for tariffs and conditions with regard to access to gas transmission pipelines and gas storage installations, and, if necessary, issuing binding instructions;

  • Determining transmission tariffs for electricity and gas, including the discount aimed at promoting the efficient operation of the electricity grid and gas networks;

  • Supervision of compliance with the Electricity and Gas Act.

1.2.2. Structure of Electric Power Sector

The liberalization of the Dutch electricity market started in the 1990s in the framework of the EU energy market liberalization and followed an energy-only market model. The retail market was opened in 2002 for industry and in 2004 for households. In 2007, full ownership unbundling of the electricity transmission and distribution networks was introduced. The Dutch choice was to privatize generation but to maintain regulated networks under public ownership (the Ministry of Finance is 100% shareholder of the Dutch transmission network). It is not allowed for network operators to be part of a group engaged in supply, production or trading of gas and electricity (so-called group prohibition), or privatized or engaged in other activities. At international level, only New Zealand prohibits distribution companies from retailing.

On the one hand, market opening at wholesale and retail market levels with ownership unbundling led to considerable investment by large EU utilities; on the other hand, it fostered consolidation on the generation side. Ownership unbundling is to some extent limited, taking into account the substantial shareholdings by the Dutch state in electricity transmission and in the supply of gas through TenneT, Energie Beheer Nederland (EBN) and GasTerra.

With combined liberalization and market integration, the Dutch market saw the entry of vertically integrated foreign players from neighbouring markets (RWE, Vattenfall, E.ON, Electrabel/GDF Suez), which acquired assets of the Dutch generation and distribution companies Nuon, Essent, Eneco and Delta. Three large utilities Nuon (Vattenfall), Essent (RWE) and E.ON together held 59% of power generating capacity in 2009.

The country’s transmission system operator (TSO), TenneT, was established in 1998. At present, TenneT is under ownership independent from other parts of the supply chain and fully owned by the State. It is responsible for ensuring the stability and reliability of the electricity grid, balancing the load in the Dutch system and with neighbouring countries, and maintaining the high voltage grid in good condition in order to allow access and maximize capacity use. TenneT is also the majority owner (74.5%) of APX, the short term trading exchange for gas and electricity.

The Dutch high voltage transmission network (110 kV, 150 kV, 220 kV and 380 kV) is operated by TSO TenneT B.V., following the transfer of management of the Dutch 150 kV and 110 kV grids to TenneT in 2008. In 2013, the transmission network had a total length of around 20 000 circuit km and consisted of 443 substations connecting 36 million end users and 67 GW of installed capacity. In 2013, there was a total cross border import capacity of 5 277 MW and export capacity of 5 095 MW.

1.2.3. Main Indicators

Capacity

The Dutch electricity system is dominated by fossil fuel capacity. In 2015, total installed generating capacity in the Netherlands was around 35 GW. Thermal power generating capacity amounted to 29.7 GW or 84% of total capacity. Renewable generation represented 4.9 GW or 14.1 % of total generating capacity.

Electricity generation

Electricity generation in the Netherlands was 113.9 terawatt hours (TWh) in 2015. The electricity mix is dominated by fossil fuels, namely natural gas and coal. Nuclear energy accounted for 4.1% of electricity generation in 2015. Renewable energy sources in the electricity mix in the Netherlands are principally from biofuels and waste, and wind. Solar energy and hydro also play a role, albeit to a smaller extent. Wind power has experienced the fastest growth over the years, growing more than ninefold between 2000 and 2015, from 0.8 TWh in 2000 to 7.6 TWh in 2015. Electricity from biofuels and waste has grown fivefold over the same period.

Table 3 shows the historical growth in electricity production, consumption and capacity in the Netherlands and Table 4 shows the energy related ratios.

TABLE 3. ELECTRICITY PRODUCTION, CONSUMPTION AND CAPACITY

1980 1990 2000 2010 2015 Annual growth rate (%)
2000 to 2015
Net Capacity of electrical plants (GWe)a      
- Thermal 16.960 19.769 23.663 29.716 2.75%
- Hydro 0.037 0.037 0.037 0.037 0.00%
- Nuclear 0.508 0.449 0.510 0.510 0.85%
- Wind 0.050 0.447 2.237 3.391 14.46%
- Geothermal 0.000 0 0 0 0.00%
- Other renewable 0.001 0.08 0.161 1.558 21.89%
- Total 17.556 20.782 26.608 35.214 3.58%
Electricity production (gross TWh)b        
- Thermal 60.61 68.30 85.03 109.80 97.07 0.89%
- Hydro 0.00 0.09 0.14 0.10 0.09 -2.80%
- Nuclear 4.20 3.50 3.93 3.97 4.08 0.25%
- Wind 0.00 0.06 0.83 3.99 7.55 15.87%
- Geothermal 0.00 0 0 0 0.00%
- Other renewable 0.00 0.26 0.28 1.30 11.44%
- Total 64.81 71.94 90.18 118.14 110.09 1.34%
Total net Electricity consumption** (TWh)c 64.53 78.64 104.68 117.15 113.90 0.56%

a http://statline.cbs.nl/Statweb/...

b http://statline.cbs.nl/Statweb/...

c http://statline.cbs.nl/Statweb/... (Totaal verbruik – bij de productie)

TABLE 4. ENERGY RELATED RATIOS

  1980 1990 2000 2010 2015 Average annual growth rate (%)
2000 to 2015*
TPES per capita (GJ/capita) 191 185 199 211 183 -0.56%
Electricity consumption per capita (kWh/capita) 4365 5220 6599 7068 6739 0.14%
Electricity production/Energy production (%) 8 10 13 15 20 2.82%
Nuclear/Total electricity (%) 6.5 4.9 4.4 3.4 3.7 -1.07%
Ratio of external dependency (%) 5 27 48 38 67 2.25%

2. NUCLEAR POWER SITUATION

2.1. Historical Development and Current Organizational Structure

Nuclear plays a small but steady part in the Dutch energy supply, constituting about 1.7% of total generating capacity. In 2015, the one and only nuclear power plant (NPP) produced about 4 terawatt hours electrical (TWhe), providing about 4.1% of total electricity.

The nuclear programme started with the construction of a research reactor in 1955, the High Flux Reactor (HFR) in Petten, which achieved first criticality in 1961. It was originally thought that nuclear power would play an important role in the country’s electricity generation programme. A small prototype reactor (Dodewaard NPP, 60 MWe) was put into operation in 1968, and in 1973 this was followed by the first commercial reactor (Borssele NPP, 485 MWe).

Although plans were made to expand nuclear power by 3000 MWe, these plans were shelved following the accident at Chernobyl in 1986. Instead, the Government ordered a thorough screening of the safety of both the then existing plants; this led to major backfitting projects. The backfitting project at Borssele was successfully completed in 1997. Meanwhile, mainly because of the negative expectations for the future of nuclear energy in the Netherlands, the small Dodewaard NPP was permanently shut down in 1997. In 2005 the owner of this NPP was granted a licence for a safe enclosure state for a period of 40 years, after which final dismantling shall commence.

In 2006, The Dutch Government signed an agreement (the Covenant) with the owners of the Borssele NPP, which allows for operation until the end of 2033, at the latest. In the meantime, the Covenant conditions should be met, in addition to the requirements of the licence. The aforementioned end date of operation is also a requirement in Article 15 (Section A) of the Nuclear Energy Law.

In 2009, plans were revealed by company Delta N.V. and Essent/RWE for a new nuclear build at the site of the NPP Borssele. In early 2012, both plans were shelved for (at least) a few years, considering the current economic environment and the uncertainties it introduced.

A new research reactor (named PALLAS) is under consideration in order to replace the HFR. Plans for PALLAS were initiated by company NRG, current licence holder and operator of the HFR. A foundation is established that will conduct all preparatory activities required for the realization of the new reactor. The national Government and the province of North Holland together provided a loan of about €80 million to finalize licensing and design of PALLAS. An important precondition for support is the realization of a sound business plan and the acquisition of (private) funding for the construction and operation of PALLAS.

The Technical University of Delft has launched a project to upgrade its research reactor (project Oyster). The project is jointly financed by the university and the national Government.

2.2. Nuclear Power Plants: Overview

2.2.1. Status and Performance of Nuclear Power Plants

Borssele NPP

The Borssele NPP is a two loop Siemens PWR that has been in commercial operation since 1973. As it is the only NPP in operation in the Netherlands, the emphasis in the remainder of this report is on this plant. It has a net electrical output of about 485 MWe. The NPP generates some 4% of the Netherlands’ electricity demand.

The operator and licence holder of the Borssele NPP is the company EPZ (Elektriciteits-Produktiemaatschappij Zuid-Nederland). Delta and Essent/RWE are shareholders of EPZ, and own 70% respectively 30% of the shares.

In 1994 the Dutch Parliament decided to phase out the plant by 2003. The decision was legally challenged and repealed. Instead, a Covenant was signed in 2006 by the operator, the owners of the plant and the Government, allowing the plant to operate until the end of 2033 at the latest, under a number of extra conditions in addition to the licence requirements.

The operating life of the Borssele NPP is to be extended by 20 years until 2034. The licence holder has finished a long term operation (LTO) justification project to ensure that safety and safety relevant systems, structures and components continue to perform their intended functions during LTO. The outcome of the project was used for the LTO licence application. In 2013, the LTO licence entered into force. The regulatory review of the licence holder’s LTO programme has led to various licence requirements on top of the measures proposed by the licence holder.

Dodewaard NPP (in Safe Enclosure)

The Dodewaard NPP was a BWR type 60 MWe reactor that operated from 1968 until early 1997. In 2002, the licence holder obtained a licence for “deferred dismantling” after 40 years of safe enclosure. By April 2003, all the spent fuel had been removed from the site and had been shipped to Sellafield. Also, the plant has been decontaminated, and a new ventilation system has been put into place. In 2009, all vitrified waste from reprocessing of Dodewaard’s spent fuel was shipped to the national waste management authority, COVRA. On 1 June 2005, the 40 year safe enclosure period started under a licence that requires the owner to commence dismantling activities in 2045.

TABLE 5. STATUS AND PERFORMANCE OF NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS

Reactor Unit Type Net
Capacity
[MW(e)]
Status Operator Reactor
Supplier
Construction
Date
First
Criticality
Date
First Grid
Date
Commercial
Date
Shutdown
Date
UCF
for
2016
BORSSELE PWR 482 Operational EPZ S/KWU 1969-07-01 1973-06-20 1973-07-04 1973-10-26 89.1
DODEWAARD BWR 55 Permanent Shutdown BV GKN RDM 1965-05-01 1968-06-24 1968-10-18 1969-03-26 1997-03-26
Data source: IAEA - Power Reactor Information System (PRIS).
Note: Table 7 is completely generated from PRIS data to reflect the latest available information and may be more up to date than the text of the report.

2.2.2. Plant Upgrading, Plant Life Management and Licence Renewals

The Netherlands has a decades long history of periodic safety reviews (PSRs). For more than 20 years, one of the conditions of the licence is that the safety of the nuclear installation is to be periodically reviewed in the light of operating experience and new safety insights. A review of operational safety aspects must be performed once every two years, while a more comprehensive safety review must be conducted once every 10 years. The latter involves a review of the plant’s design basis in the light of new developments in research, safety thinking, risk acceptance, etc.

The third PSR was finished in 2013. A part of the third PSR coincided with the long term operation (LTO) programme and the European “stress test”.

2.3. Future Development of Nuclear Power

In 2009 plans were revealed by the company Delta N.V. for a nuclear new build at the site of the NPP Borssele. In early 2012, Delta announced it was shelving its plans for (at least) a few years, considering the current unfavourable economic environment and the uncertainties it introduced. In parallel to Delta, Essent/RWE also developed plans for new nuclear power in the Netherlands, though these were shelved as well for similar reasons.

In the policy on nuclear power, guaranteeing nuclear safety has the highest priority. The Minister of Economic Affairs published in February 2011 a letter to Parliament on several aspects of nuclear energy, among which are the preconditions for nuclear new build in the Netherlands. These preconditions present high level requirements. Within the preconditions, it is up to commercial parties to invest in new nuclear power; in the liberalized energy market the Government will not invest in power plants. The technical preconditions address issues on safety, waste management, decommissioning, mining, non-proliferation and security.

Current policy also includes in particular the requirement to take into account lessons learned from the Fukushima Daiichi accident, as well as the outcomes of the European “stress test” for NPPs.

2.4. Organizations Involved in Construction of NPPs

Currently, there are no plans for new nuclear power plants in the Netherlands.

2.5. Organizations Involved in Operation of NPPs

The NPP in Borssele is owned and operated by EPZ, and will be in operation until 31 December 2033 at the latest.

2.6. Organizations involved in decommissioning of NPPs

The NPP in Borssele is owned and operated by N.V. EPZ, and will be in operation until 31 December 2033 at the latest. After shutdown, direct decommissioning will take place. It is envisaged that EPZ will hire an external company to dismantle the facility.

The NPP in Dodewaard is owned by B.V. Gemeenschappelijke Kernenergiecentrale Nederland (GKN), and is in a state of safe enclosure for a period of 40 years, since 2005. Final decommissioning will start in 2045. It is envisaged that GKN will hire an external company to dismantle the facility.

2.7. Fuel Cycle Including Waste Management

2.7.1. Uranium Enrichment

Uranium enrichment and production of ultra-centrifuges are the most important parts of the fuel cycle for the Netherlands. Uranium enrichment is done by Urenco NL, which belongs to the Urenco Group, with production from plants in Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Along with other Urenco plants, the Almelo operation was expanded a couple of years ago. In 2011, Urenco NL was granted an increase in licensed capacity from 4950 tSW/yr (separative work units) to 6200 tSW/yr.

The Technology Group (ETC) owns the world’s leading centrifuge technology and was formed in October 2003. Since July 2006, ETC has been jointly owned by Urenco (50%) and its joint venture partner Areva (50%). ETC develops, manufactures, supplies and installs gas centrifuges in the Urenco enrichment plants, and in the future will also supply centrifuges to Areva and to the Urenco facilities in Europe and the United States of America. ETC also designs uranium enrichment plants using centrifuge technology.

2.7.2. Radioactive Waste and Spent Fuel Management

The Dutch policy on the management of radioactive waste and spent fuel is to isolate, control and monitor radioactive waste in above ground structures for an interim period of at least a hundred years, after which geological disposal is foreseen. During the period of interim storage, all necessary technical, economical, financial and social arrangements are to be made in such a way that deep geological disposal can really be developed and used.

Implementation of this policy led to the establishment of COVRA in 1982, the Central Organisation for Radioactive Waste, located in Borsele. COVRA is a 100% state owned organization and is the only organization allowed to transport, manage and store the radioactive waste and spent fuel.

According to the “polluter pays” principle, the generator of the waste is charged for all costs related to the management of radioactive waste and spent fuel, including the costs for research as well as the envisaged costs for disposal. Once the transfer of the waste has been accomplished, the customer is exempted from further responsibility for the waste. COVRA takes over all liabilities, including the responsibility for disposal.

With regard to the management of spent fuel (SF) and high level waste (HLW), the utilities and the operators of research reactors agreed to jointly build a facility for treatment and long term storage of spent fuel (SF) and high level waste (HLW) at the COVRA site. This building (HABOG) was commissioned in 2003 and is now receiving vitrified and other HLW from the production of medical radioisotopes, from reprocessing plants as well as SF from the research reactors. Both the construction costs and the operating costs are borne by the generators of the SF and the waste.

There are fixed tariffs for specified categories of radioactive waste, which take into account all management costs for storage as well as disposal in the future. While the tariffs are annually adjusted with the price index, every five years the tariff structure is evaluated with the aim to reconsider the need for any structural adjustment. However, the utmost restraint is exercised with any proposal for an increase of the tariffs, in order to prevent the temptation of environmentally irresponsible behaviour with the waste by the customer.

2.7.3. Reprocessing

The Government policy on spent fuel management is that the decision on whether or not to reprocess spent fuel is in the first instance a choice for the operator of a NPP. In the early days, the operators decided in favour of reprocessing their spent fuel for economic reasons, also to reuse plutonium and reduce the waste volume.

Reprocessing contracts have been concluded for all spent fuel generated by the current operating NPP until the end of its operation. Bilateral treaties have been signed by the Republic of France and the Kingdom of the Netherlands governing Dutch spent fuel (SF) produced until the end of operation of Borssele NPP, its receipt by Areva NC in France, its reprocessing and the return of radioactive waste from reprocessing to the Netherlands before 31 December 2052. The Parliamentary discussion of the enabling law for this treaty was finished at the end of 2013.

2.7.4. Decommissioning

In principle, the operator is responsible for all aspects of decommissioning. According to legislation in force since April 2011, a nuclear facility shall be decommissioned directly after final shutdown and deferred dismantling will not be allowed.(1) The Dodewaard NPP, brought into state of safe enclosure in 2005, is excluded from this requirement. Decommissioning implies the implementation of all administrative and technical measures that are necessary to remove the facility in a safe manner, and to create an end state of “green field”. Therefore, during the operational phase, the licence holder is required to develop a decommissioning plan describing all the necessary measures to safely reach the end state of decommissioning, including the management of radioactive waste, record keeping, etc. This decommissioning plan shall be periodically updated every five years, and shall be approved by the authorities. The decommissioning plan finally becomes part of the decommissioning licence.

The decommissioning plan serves as the safety basis for all the activities carried during the decommissioning phase, and it provides the basis for the financial provisions for the decommissioning costs. During decommissioning, the licence holder is obliged to act according to the decommissioning plan.

Furthermore, the Nuclear Power Act requires the licence holder to have a financial provision to cover the costs of decommissioning, which will have to be updated and approved by the authorities at least every time the decommissioning plan is updated (or when the authorities ask for an update). The licence holder is in principle free to choose the form of the financial provision. Upon approval, the authorities will assess whether the financial provision offers sufficient security that the decommissioning costs are covered at the moment of decommissioning.

2.8. Research and Development

NRG (Nuclear Research and Consultancy Group) is the nuclear service provider, located in Petten. NRG is responsible for the operation and the commercial exploitation of the LEU fuelled 45 MW (thermal flux) High Flux Reactor (HFR), which is owned by JRC (Joint Research Centre of the European Union). In addition, NRG exploits the Hot Cell Laboratories, a plant for waste treatment and decontamination, radiological laboratories and the 30 kW Low Flux Reactor (LFR). In 2011, exploitation of the LFR was concluded. NRG performs both funded and commercial services. Funded services are sponsored by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate, within the framework of national policy covering the following areas:

Nuclear safety and security;

  • Waste management and reduction;

  • Radiation protection;

  • Low carbon energy generation;

  • Public information.

Research activities include:

Safety studies on current as well as innovative reactor systems;

  • Deep geological disposal of high activity nuclear waste;

  • Testing and qualification of innovative materials;

  • Decommissioning.

A significant part of these research activities is performed within the framework of international projects, including the European framework programme. Within the framework of the funded programme, NRG developed R&D tools and computer codes for the design and verification of innovative as well as inherently safe nuclear reactor concepts (both LWR type and others, e.g. HTR type). The computer codes cover applications within the fields of nuclear reactor physics, thermal hydraulics, accidents and failures as well as structural mechanics.

An important part of the commercial activities is the production of radioisotopes for medical applications. NRG is Europe’s largest producer of molybdenum. Every day, more than 24 000 patients are treated with radioisotopes produced by NRG; Petten-produced isotopes for diagnostics, therapy and pain relief are used around the world. NRG is also the world’s major supplier of Ir-192 for the industrial market. Other commercial activities and services include:

Qualification and testing of reactor materials and fuels for current as well as innovative reactor systems, including ITER (fusion);

  • Life cycle management and long term operation of nuclear power plants;

  • In-service inspections;

  • In-core fuel management services;

  • Policy and licensing support;

  • Radiation protection assessments;

  • Disposal of radioactive waste.

2.8.1. R&D Organizations

FOM is a foundation for fundamental research on matter, at Nieuwegein. Its physics research is mainly aimed at thermonuclear fusion.

RID at Delft operates a 2 MW university research reactor (HOR) for educational purposes, and does research on reactor physics, neutron beam physics, radioisotopes and radiochemistry.

NRG is the national nuclear research centre of the Netherlands.

Two projects are currently under development that will add value to nuclear R&D in the Netherlands. The PALLAS project is aimed at the construction of a new multipurpose reactor that should replace the High Flux Reactor in Petten from 2023. The PALLAS reactor is intended for the production of medical radioisotopes and for nuclear research and irradiation services. The OYSTER project is aimed at an upgrade of the Higher Education Reactor of the Technical University in Delft. OYSTER is intended for fundamental nuclear research, education and training.

2.8.2. Development of Advanced Nuclear Technologies

See above.

2.8.3. International Cooperation and Initiatives(2)

Nuclear Technology

Since the early days of the Netherlands’ nuclear programme, international cooperation has been considered a necessity. From the joint exploitation of the Halden research reactor (together with Norway) in the 1950s and 1960s, to the Urenco cooperation in uranium enrichment of the present day, the Dutch nuclear activities have been undertaken in close cooperation with other countries. A strong interest in multilateral cooperation on nuclear energy matters within intergovernmental organizations complements the Government’s orientation toward practical cooperation with others.

Nuclear Safety

The Netherlands is represented on relevant boards and committees under the supervision of major organizations such as the EU/Euratom, OECD/Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) and IAEA.

The Dutch input at the international level focuses on active participation in activities and initiatives aimed at improving radiation protection and nuclear safety worldwide. The available knowledge and experience are deployed in order to make an active contribution.

European and international guidelines are followed in the development and design of the radiation protection and nuclear safety policy, the relevant legislation and the regulation thereof. The requirements regarding radiation protection, nuclear safety and radioactive waste management under the Euratom Treaty and its directives have also been transposed into Dutch legislation. A number of international treaties have also been ratified by the Netherlands.

In addition to these requirements, the Netherlands also abides on a voluntary basis by various internationally accepted principles, recommendations, practices and agreements drawn up under the auspices of the IAEA and the Western European Nuclear Regulators Association (WENRA).

The Netherlands participates in international peer reviews during which the practice, policies, legislation and/or regulation are compared with international standards (often IAEA standards). An example is the peer review of the so-called stress test analyses of the European nuclear facilities, the ensuing national action plans and several activities (in a European framework) following the stress test. The Dutch policy on nuclear safety and the management of radioactive waste and spent fuel is also periodically assessed within the framework of the Convention on Nuclear Safety or the Joint Convention Treaty, respectively.

Periodic international assessments of the legislation and government organization are required by European legislation. As part of the Dutch regulation strategy, international peer review missions (e.g. IAEA missions) are regularly invited to inspect the Dutch nuclear facilities.

The Netherlands participates in international reporting systems (e.g. Incident Reporting System (IRS) of the IAEA/NEA) used to systematically collect and analyse data on malfunctions, abnormal events, etc. The information on international experiences thus obtained can be used by the licensees and the Government to improve safety.

The policy and legislation for the transport of radioactive and fissionable materials and ores is almost entirely based on international agreements. This is due to the fact that much of this transport crosses national borders.

2.9. Human Resources Development

new nuclear power plants require sufficient knowledge and expertise in the Government and the companies involved. Within the Government, this concerns policymaking, licensing and supervision. In the relevant companies, this would include the construction of the nuclear installation(s), including the qualification of the Dutch supply industry and the service and maintenance of nuclear installations.

With regard to nuclear safety, it must be possible to undertake sufficient scientific and applied research. The Netherlands has a broad nuclear industry, with EPZ (NPP), Urenco (uranium enrichment), COVRA (Storage of radioactive waste), NRG (pure and applied research and medical isotope production) and RID (scientific research and education). Internationally, the Netherlands is strongly involved in the production of medical radioisotopes and the enrichment of uranium.

The Netherlands wants to maintain and strengthen this knowledge base. In this context, the stimulation of research in the field of nuclear technology is continuing. Where necessary and possible, our knowledge and experience is being developed and applied in an international framework. In addition, the Government welcomes the replacement of the High Flux Reactor in Petten by a new reactor (PALLAS) and aims to ensure that the preconditions for authorization are in order on time.

New nuclear facilities will give powerful impetus to the development of nuclear knowledge in the Netherlands. There have to be adequate training opportunities for experts. There is an international market for technical experts, and the Technical University Delft (TU Delft) offers specialization in Nuclear Science and Engineering. In the province of Zeeland, secondary vocational training and a Bachelor’s degree specializing in nuclear technology are offered. These initiatives are a positive development.

2.10. Stakeholder Involvement

In the event that legal provisions exist regarding public information in the context of licensing procedures, citizens and both public and private organizations/institutions are notified of new or modified licences under the Nuclear Energy Act.

In situations where there is no legal requirement to inform the public, it is still possible to inform the public about relevant new or amended permits. This consideration regarding public information depends on the scope and content of the permit and the effect on the environment.

Public information is generally provided through the organization of presentations and discussion evenings. These events are organized, if possible, in the immediate vicinity of the nuclear facility concerned. These discussion evenings, as well as the procedural steps and the associated dates, are announced well in advance in local and national newspapers. Moreover, all documents that are prepared in connection with the modification of the permit are published and made available on the website of the national Government: www.Rijksoverheid.nl.

For the purpose of receiving submitted views, a separate email address and telephone number are created. In this manner, the general public is given the opportunity to submit their views on relevant initiatives. Under the Espoo Convention, directly involved neighbouring countries are informed about the purpose, content and effect of the (new or amended) permits when larger environmental impact can occur. In some cases, journalists are invited for separate information sessions, to provide background information on specific nuclear developments.

3. NATIONAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS

3.1. Regulatory Framework

3.1.1. Regulatory Authority(s)

Ministerial Responsibilities

The Regulatory Body (RB) consists of one large entity, the Authority for Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection (ANVS), and some smaller entities at other ministries. However, the tasks related to nuclear safety are within the scope of the ANVS only. The ANVS is a Directorate of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management (I&W). The I&W Minister is the principal responsible authority for conducting the regulatory process under the Nuclear Energy Act and for the main functions of the Regulatory Body.

Following approval and entry into effect of the necessary legislation, planned in 2017, the ANVS will become what is known as an independent administrative authority (ZBO), with its own legal authorities. The Minister of I&W will then still bear ministerial responsibility for the ANVS.

The following list illustrates the responsibilities of the various Ministers regarding the various areas of interest:

The ANVS is responsible for the following tasks: the preparation of legislation, formulating policies (excluding energy policy), regulatory requirements, licensing and independent supervision (safety assessment, inspection and enforcement) of compliance by the licence holder(s) and other actors with the requirements on safety, security and non-proliferation. Furthermore it has responsibilities regarding advising in the area of emergency preparedness and public information and communication.

  • The Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management (I&W) is the so-called coordinating Minister for the Nuclear Energy Act (Kew); i.e. the Minister reporting to Parliament and responsible for the “maintenance” of the Act.

  • The Ministry of Social Affairs & Employment (SZW) has tasks in the area of protection of the safety of workers against exposure to radiation.

  • The Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports (VWS) has tasks in the area of protection of patients against exposure to radiation.

  • The State Supervision of Mines (SodM, part of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate) oversees the safe and environmentally sound exploration and exploitation of natural resources like natural gas and oil.

  • The Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) monitors food and consumer products to safeguard public health and animal health and welfare. The Authority controls the whole production chain, from raw materials and processing aids to end products and consumption. The NVWA is an independent agency in the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate and a delivery agency for the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport.

  • The Inspectorate of the Ministry of I&W (ILT) has general supervision responsibilities for compliance with the requirements of modal transport regulations.

  • The Ministry of Defence has its Inspectorate for Military Healthcare (IMG) for overseeing a healthy and safe work environment for the civilian and military staff of the ministry of defence. Its scope includes applications of ionizing radiation and accounting for the use of radioactive sources within the military.

Apart from the ANVS, most entities of the RB employ only a limited number of staff for the Kew related tasks. All entities operate under responsibility of their respective Ministers.

Regulatory Body

The competent regulatory authority, or “Regulatory Body” (RB) is the authority designated by the government as having legal authority for conducting the regulatory process, including issuing authorizations, supervision and enforcement and thereby regulating nuclear safety, radiation protection, radioactive waste management, transport safety, nuclear security and safeguards.

The ANVS is currently a directorate of the Ministry of I&W, and has been mandated to implement tasks on behalf of the competent regulatory authority. The ANVS became an independent administrative authority (ZBO) in August 2017, following the implementation of an amendment to the Nuclear Energy Act. The ANVS has a staff of approximately 120 fte, and will soon be expanded by 19 fte.

The ANVS oversees several tasks regarding nuclear safety and radiation protection and associated emergency preparedness and security and safeguards (as prescribed by the IAEA):

Executing tasks of the Minister of I&W by or under the Nuclear Energy Act;

  • Supervising and enforcing compliance with requirements by or under the Nuclear Energy Act;

  • Evaluating, preparing and advising on policies and acts and regulations.

In addition, the ANVS is mandated to take care of the following tasks on behalf of the Minister. In 2017 when the ANVS will have the status of an independent administrative authority, these tasks will be the responsibility of the ANVS:

Informing interested parties and the general public;

  • Participating in relevant activities of international organizations, as far as related to tasks related to the Nuclear Energy Act;

  • Maintaining relationships with comparable foreign authorities and relevant national and international organizations;

  • Supporting national organizations with the provision of expertise and knowledge;

  • Undertaking research in support of the implementation of its tasks.

Supporting Organizations

The Regulatory Body can rely on various national and foreign organizations that regularly provide technical support. In this section, the most important ones are introduced.

Governmental Supporting Organization RIVM: The National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) is a specialized Dutch government agency. Its remit is to modernize, gather, generate and integrate knowledge and make it usable in the public domain. By performing these tasks RIVM contributes to promoting the health of the population and the environment by providing protection against health risks and environmental damage. The RIVM among others coordinates the Radiological and Health Expertise Network (RGEN), as part of the National Crisis Expert Team (radiation and nuclear). RGEN is a network of knowledge institutes which reports on the radiological and health consequences of nuclear and other radiation incidents. Furthermore, the RIVM supports the Ministries with scientific studies and independent analyses of samples of emitted radioisotopes. RIVM also maintains the National Radioactivity Monitoring Network, which includes a network of measuring posts. RIVM works together with other (governmental) expert organizations such as the Royal National Meteorological Institute (KNMI) with models for the prediction of the effects of discharges of radioactive material in the air.

  • Technical Support Organizations (TSO): To date there is no national dedicated TSO. Organizations are contracted on an ad hoc basis to support the Regulatory Body with various tasks. Support is provided by foreign TSOs and national and international consultancy organizations. Some major supporting organizations are listed below:

    • GRS, Germany: The Dutch Regulatory Body cooperates with a Technical Support Organization (TSO) from Germany, GRS. This is a TSO for the German national regulator and one of the large German TSOs. In the Netherlands, it evaluates safety cases and provides other types of consultancy to the Regulatory Body. In addition, GRS provides associated education and training for governmental and commercial organizations. GRS currently has a major framework contract with the Regulatory Body.

    • The Nuclear Research & Consultancy Group (NRG) in Petten and Arnhem provides consultancy and educational services to government and industry. The company has implemented “firewalling” procedures to protect the interests of its various clients and avoid conflicts of interest. NRG is also a licence holder. NRG currently has a framework contract with the Regulatory Body.

Education and Training Organizations

The RID organization at the Technical University in Delft provides education and training in nuclear technology and radiation protection. For education on radiological protection and for dedicated training, the Regulatory Body also contracts universities, institutes and Technical Support Organizations like NRG and GRS.

3.1.2. Licensing Process

Principal Responsible Authority

Currently, the Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management (I&W) is the principal responsible authority for conducting the regulatory process under the Nuclear Energy Act and for the main functions of the Regulatory Body (ANVS).

On the basis of the Nuclear Energy Act, the ANVS is, as of 1 August 2017, the Regulatory Body (RB), the authority designated by the government as having legal authority for conducting the regulatory processes. This includes issuing licensing authorizations and providing supervision and enforcement, thereby regulating nuclear safety, security, radiation protection, radioactive waste management and transport safety.

In addition to the Nuclear Energy Act, several types of regulation may apply to a nuclear facility and the activities conducted in it and/or supporting it. Therefore, there are often several authorities, sometimes at several levels in the governmental organization, involved in the licensing procedures.

The Nuclear Energy Act stipulates that a licence must be obtained to construct, commission, operate, modify or decommission a NPP. Similarly, the Act states that a licence is required to import, export, possess or dispose of fissionable material. The proper management of the (nuclear) licensing process is tasked to the competent regulatory authority or “Regulatory Body” (per IAEA definition).

Procedures

The procedures to obtain a licence under the Nuclear Energy Act (and other acts), follow the guidelines specified in the General Administrative Act (Awb). These procedures provide for public involvement in the licensing process. Any stakeholder is entitled to express his or her views regarding a proposed activity. The Regulatory Body shall take notice of all views expressed and respond to them with careful reasoning. If the reply is not satisfactory, the Regulatory Body can be challenged in court.

Coordination Law

For projects related to large scale energy generation, a special Coordination Law applies. Large scale projects that could be impacted by this law are for instance the construction of power plants with an electrical power greater than 500 MWe, investment in the power grid, etc. The Coordination Law supposes involvement of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate (EZK). With such large projects, the ministry of EZK is assumed to be the coordinator, organizing the interaction between the many authorities, each of which will perform its duties. Typical of such projects is the involvement of many levels of governmental organizations; from the ministries down to the municipal level.

Environmental Impact Assessment, Safety Assessment and Processing Comments of Stakeholders

Within a licence application for a nuclear installation, it is often compulsory to conduct an environmental impact assessment (EIA). Such an assessment is compulsory for all reactors with a thermal power higher than 1 kW. A permanent commission, the Commission for Environmental Assessment, advises the competent authorities on the requirements of all EIAs conducted in the Netherlands. This applies in particular to EIAs related to nuclear installations within licence procedures regulated by the Regulatory Body.

The EIA procedure is as follows:

The initiator notifies the competent authority of its intention.

  • The public can express its view on the scope of the envisaged EIA.

  • The Commission for Environmental Assessment advises on the content of the EIA for the initiative, taking into account the views of the public.

  • The competent authority draws up a memorandum on the scope and the level of detail to be developed in the EIA, taking into account the views of the public.

  • The initiator draws up the EIA.

  • The Commission for Environmental Assessment advises on the environmental report in relation to the memorandum on the scope and level of detail and the views of the public.

Prior to the formal licence application, the ANVS and the initiator enter into a stage of informal dialogue. During this stage, the draft of the application, the EIA if applicable, and the Safety Assessment Report are reviewed.

The initiator submits the application and the documents (including the EIA if applicable) and information pertaining to it. The ANVS assesses the application and draws up a draft decision. The public can express its views on the draft and, if applicable, the EIA. Subsequently, the ANVS draws up the final decision taking into account the submitted views. Finally, interested parties can lodge an appeal at the Administrative Law Judicial Division of the Council of State.

Furthermore, the applicability and enforceability of the licence is evaluated by the inspectors of the ANVS.

The ANVS will consider all views expressed by the public. When appropriate, it will group the views into a number of unique topics/views. The ANVS will then respond to all unique views and all responses will be recorded within the documentation of the definite licence. Common responses of the ANVS include elaborations on policies, (assessment) techniques or other issues that need clarification.

Licence Conditions

The national legislative framework provides the generic nuclear safety and radiation protection objectives that apply to all nuclear installations. Specific requirements, tailored to the characteristics of the installations, are included in the licence.

3.2. Main National Laws and Regulations in Nuclear Power

The legal framework in the Netherlands with respect to nuclear installations can be presented as a hierarchical structure (Fig. 2).

FIG. 2. Simplified representation of the hierarchy of the legal framework.

The Nuclear Energy Act (Kew) is the most prominent law governing nuclear activities. It is a framework law, which sets out the basic rules on the application of nuclear technology and materials, makes provision for radiation protection, designates the competent authorities and outlines their responsibilities.

Subordinate to this act, a number of Decrees exist containing additional regulations related to the use of nuclear technology and materials. These Decrees and the Ordinances (see below) continue to be updated in the light of ongoing developments, partly due to the mandatory implementation of amended European Union Directives on nuclear safety (Directive 2009/71/Euratom as amended by Directive 2014/87/Euratom) and radiation protection (Basic Safety Standards: Directive 2013/59/Euratom).

At a lower level there are the Ordinances. These can be issued by the Minister responsible for conducting the regulatory process under the Nuclear Energy Act (Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management).

At a lower level there are regulations and guides issued by the competent regulatory authority: the Nuclear Safety Rules (NVRs). The Nuclear Energy Act provides the basis for this system of more detailed safety regulations concerning the design, operation and quality assurance of (mainly) NPPs. The regulations of the NVRs apply to installations or nuclear facilities, as far as they are referenced in their licences. The NVRs are based on IAEA safety standards, WENRA reference levels and some other reputable sources.

The Netherlands has a small but diverse nuclear programme. Because of this diversity and to allow maximum flexibility, specific requirements are listed in the licence, tailored to the characteristics of the installations, rather than in general ordinances. In the licences, NVRs can be referred to as well as to other codes and standards.

The ANVS has drawn up the Guidelines on the Safe Design and Operation of Nuclear Reactors(3) (Safety Guidelines for short) in response to two important initiatives: the proposed construction of a new medical research reactor at Petten (the PALLAS project) and the planned modernization of the existing research reactor at Delft (investment in the Higher Education Reactor (HOR) at Delft University of Technology; the OYSTER project). Such initiatives can be licensed only if they meet the latest safety standards. The Safety Guidelines apply to the design and operation of light water cooled nuclear reactors and set out requirements for both power reactors and research reactors. The requirements for research reactors may be applied on a graded approach if they demonstrably have a smaller potential risk for the environment.

The latest design and operating recommendations made by the IAEA and the WENRA have been incorporated. Although the Safety Guidelines do not have the status of (ministerial) regulations and do not therefore define any legal requirements, licence applications will be assessed on the basis of the safety requirements described in the Safety Guidelines. The Safety Guidelines provide insight into the best technology currently available for designing the safest possible (new) reactors and operating such reactors as safely as possible. The specific requirements defined in the Safety Guidelines are aligned with the latest insights, particularly as disseminated by the IAEA and the WENRA, and may, where applicable and necessary, serve as a basis for formulating the conditions attached to licences for new reactors.

Where existing reactors are concerned, the Safety Guidelines provide insight into the latest nuclear safety developments and insights to facilitate continuous improvement. Evaluation of a nuclear reactor’s safety in the light of the best technology currently available may warrant action to improve nuclear safety, insofar as such action may reasonably be expected.

Appendix 1. International, Multilateral and Bilateral Agreements

The following is a list of international conventions and bilateral agreements signed/ratified by the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the field of nuclear cooperation.

AGREEMENTS WITH THE IAEA

Statute of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

Entry into force:
Ratification date:

26 October 1956
20 July 1957

Agreement on Privileges and Immunities

Entry into force:

29 August 1963

Amendment of the IAEA statute

Entry into force:

27 September 1984

NPT related agreement INFCIRC/193

Entry into force:

21 February 1977

Additional Protocol to the Agreement between the NNWS, Euratom and the IAEA for the Application of Safeguards (GOV/1998/28)

Signed:

22 September 1998

Improved procedures for designation of safeguards inspectors

Proposals rejected but agreed to special procedure:

16 February 1989

Supplementary Agreement on Provision of Technical Assistance by the IAEA

Entry into force:
 
INTERNATIONAL TREATIES

Paris Convention on Third Party Liability in the Field of Nuclear Energy

Entry into force:
Ratification date:
29 July 1960
28 December 1979
Additional Protocol to the Paris Convention of 31 January 1963 Supplementary to the Convention on Third Party Liability

Entry into force:
Ratification date:
28 January 1964
28 September 1979
Amendment to the Paris Convention on Third Party Liability in the Field of Nuclear Energy

Entry into force:
Ratification date:
16 November 1982
1 August 1991
NPT

Entry into force:
2 May 1975
Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material

Entry into force:
6 October 1991
Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident

Entry into force:
Ratification date:
24 October 1991
23 September 1991
Joint Protocol Relating to the Application of the Vienna and the Paris Conventions

Entry into force:
Ratification date:
21 September 1988
1 August 1991
Convention on Assistance in the Case of a Nuclear Accident or Radiological Emergency

Entry into force:
24 October 1991
Vienna Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage

Non-party
 
Protocol to Amend the Vienna Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage

Not signed
 
Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage

Not signed
 
Amendment to the Convention on Physical Protection

Entry into force:
8 July 2005
Treaty against Nuclear Terrorism

Entry into force:
7 July 2007
Protocol to the 1960 Convention Regarding Third Party Liability

Entry into force:
12 February 2004
Joint protocol

Entry into force:
27 April 1992
Protocol to the 1963 Convention Regarding Third Party Liability

Entry into force:
 12 February 2004
Framework Convention on Multilateral Nuclear Environmental Programs in the Russian Federation (MNEPR) 

Entry into force:
14 April 2004
Convention on Nuclear Safety

Entry into force:
13 January 1997
Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management

Entry into force:
Ratification date:
18 June 2001
26 April 2000
ZANGGER committee

Member
 
Nuclear export guidelines

Adopted
 
Acceptance of NUSS codes
Summary: Serve as basis for national requirements, Design, Operation and QA Codes (once adapted) introduced into regulatory framework

Accepted:
6 September 1989
Partial Test-Ban Treaty

Entry into force:
14 September 1964
Nuclear Suppliers Group

Member
 
OTHER RELEVANT INTERNATIONAL TREATIES

European Atomic Energy Community

Entry into force:
Ratification date:
25 March 1957
13 December 1957
EURATOM

Member
 
Security control in the field of nuclear energy

Entry into force:
Ratification date:
20 December 1957
9 July 1959
European Company for the chemical processing of irradiated fuels (Eurochemic)

Entry into force:
Ratification date:
20 December 1957
9 July 1959
Establishment at Petten of the Joint Nuclear Research Centre

Entry into force:
Ratification date:
25 July 1961
30 October 1962
Civil liability in the field of maritime carriage of nuclear material

Entry into force:
Ratification date:
17 December 1971
1 August 1991
MULTILATERAL AGREEMENTS

Netherlands, Germany and United Kingdom on collaboration in the development and exploitation of the gas centrifuge process for producing enriched uranium

Entry into force:
Ratification date:
4 March 1970
18 June 1971
Netherlands, Germany, United Kingdom and United States of America regarding protection of information transferred into the United States of America in connection with the initial phase of a project for the establishment of a uranium enrichment installation in the United States of America based upon the gas centrifuge process developed within the participating countries

Entry into force:
4 November 1990
Netherlands, Germany, United Kingdom and United States of America regarding the establishment, construction and operation of a uranium enrichment installation in the United States of America

Entry into force:
Ratification date:
8 July 1993
21 March 1993
Exchange of Notes between the Netherlands and the United States of America concerning the application of non-proliferation assurances to low enriched uranium supplied to Taiwan, China

Signed:
21 July 1999
BILATERAL AGREEMENTS


Kingdom of the Netherlands and Brazil Application of safeguards to proposed exports to Brazil of uranium enriched in the Kingdom of the Netherlands by Urenco

Entry into force:
1 September 1978

Kingdom of the Netherlands and Germany concerning exports of enriched uranium to Brazil

Entry into force:
4 September 1978

Kingdom of the Netherlands and the United Kingdom concerning reprocessing of certain quantities of irradiated nuclear fuel

Entry into force:
Ratification date:
12 September 1978
30 June 1981

Kingdom of the Netherlands and France concerning reprocessing of certain quantities of irradiated nuclear fuel


Entry into force:
Ratification date:
Changed/adapted:

29 May 1979
17 August 1981
9 February 2009 (Trb. 2009. 41)


Extension of the agreement of 4 April 1990 regarding protection of information transferred into the United States of America

Entry into force:
Ratification date:
5 April 1991
7 July 1992
Memorandum of Understanding between the Netherlands and Germany
Entry into force:
28 October 1977
Memorandum of Understanding between the Netherlands and Belgium
Entry into force:
20 December 1990
Memorandum of Understanding between the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Belgium (BeNeLux)
Entry into force:
1 June 2006
Memorandum of Understanding between the authorities ANVS and the US NRC
Entry into force:
17 June 1985

Appendix 2. Main Organizations, Institutions and Companies Involved in Nuclear Power Related Activities

NATIONAL AUTHORITIES

Authority of Nuclear Safety and Radiation protection
Bezuidenhoutseweg 67
P.O. Box 16001
2500 BA The Hague. The Netherlands

tel.: (+31) 70-348.73.56
web site: http://www.anvs.nl/
Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment
Anna van Hannoverstraat 4
P.O. Box 90801
2509 LV The Hague. The Netherlands

tel.: (+31) 70-333.44.44
fax: (+31) 70-333.40.33
Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate
Department
P.O. Box 20401
2500 EK The Hague. The Netherlands

tel.: (+31) 77-465.67.67
web site: https://www.government.nl/ministries/ministry-of-economic-affairs-and-climate-policy

NUCLEAR RESEARCH INSTITUTE

NRG Petten
Westerduinweg 3
P.O. BOX 25
1755ZG Petten. The Netherlands

tel.: (+31) 224 564082
fax: (+31) 224 563912
web site: http://www.nrg-nl.com/index.html
OTHER NUCLEAR ORGANIZATIONS

International Radiation Protection Association (IRPA)

web site: http://www.irpa.net/
The Netherlands Nuclear Society (NNS)

web site: http://www.ecn.nl/society/nns
Reactor Institute Delft RID
TU-Delft. Mekelweg 15
2629 JB Delft. P.O. Box 5042
2629 JB Delft. the Netherlands

tel.: (+31) 15-278.67.12
fax: (+31) 15-278.64.22
COVRA
Spanjeweg 1
4455 TW Nieuwdorp
P.O. Box 202

4380 AE Vlissingen. The Netherlands
tel.: (+31) 113-61.39.00
fax: (+31) 113-61.39.50
GKN N.V.
Waalbandijk 112a
P.O. Box 40
6669 ZG Dodewaard. The Netherlands

tel.: (+31) 448-41.88.11
fax: (+31) 448-41.21.28
Enrichment Technology Nederland B.V.
P.O. Box 30 7600 AA Almelo
tel.: (+31) 546 54 55.00
fax: (+31) 546 54 55.01
email: info@nl.enritec.com
 
URENCO Nederland B.V.
P.O. Box 158
7600 AD Almelo
 
tel.: (+31) 546-54.54.54
fax: (+31) 546-81.82.96
web site: http://www.urenco.nl
OTHER ORGANIZATIONS
Netherlands Energy and Research Foundation (ECN)
Westerduinweg 1
P.O. Box 1
1755 ZG Petten. The Netherlands

tel.: (+31) 224-56.49.49
fax: (+31) 224-56.34.90/56.44.80
http://www.ecn.nl/main.html
European Association for Grey Literature Exploitation
(EAGLE/SIGLE)

http://www.konbib.nl/infolev/sigle/ea/index.html
Elsevier Science

http://www.elsevier.nl
FOM-Institute for Plasma Physics
Rijnhuizen

http://www.rijnh.nl
The Chemical Weapons Convention (OCPW)
http://www.opcw.org

Coordinator information

Name of report coordinator:

Hedwig Sleiderink

Institution:

Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate

Contact details:

Energy Market & Innovation Department

Directorate-General for Energy, Telecommunications and Competition

Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate

Bezuidenhoutseweg 73, 2594 AC The Hague, The Netherlands

P.O. Box 20401, 2500 EK The Hague, The Netherlands

tel.: (+31) 6 506 86 471

email: H.M.Sleiderink@minez.nl

 


(1) Exception from this requirement is possible, under specific circumstances, and with explicit authorization by the minister.

(2) See Appendix 1 for a list of international agreements.

(3) 8 October 2015; Click for Link