Row brews over Belgium's nuclear tax bill

7 October 2008 - The news agency Reuters has reported energy company Electrabel saying the Belgian government's proposals to charge its nuclear power generators a one-off tax of €250m ($3390m) are in conflict with previous agreements.

The Belgian cabinet is set to present a bill to parliament to levy the charge against all nuclear players in the country for 2008 in return for keeping five out of seven of the country's nuclear reactors open.

The tax, which would help to fill a budget gap this year, would mainly affect Electrabel, which is owned by France's GDF Suez and is responsible for 90 per cent of nuclear power generation in the country.

According to Electrabel, the decision conflicted with agreements reached back in 2006 between GDF Suez and the Belgian state.

The bill also reinforces the powers of Belgian energy market regulator CREG to ensure the tax is not passed on to consumers,

Belgian newspaper L'Echo reported that the law is likely to be adopted before the end of the year.

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