(Updated 2015)


1.1. Country overview

Note: The content of this section, including Tables 1 and 2, has been removed by the IAEA to better focus the report on nuclear power.

1.2. Energy Information

The Netherlands has an advanced economy with a modern energy system and well developed energy markets. The country’s strategic location makes it an important transit and trade hub for natural gas, coal, oil and electricity. The Netherlands has significant natural gas production and a large oil-refining and chemical industry. The Dutch energy sector is strong, drives exports, innovation and economic growth. In 2010, the Dutch energy sector reached almost EUR 55 billion or 10.9% of Dutch GDP, generated around EUR 15 billion worth in exports and a net value-added of EUR 26.74 billion. There were around 1 270 firms and 47 000 people (full time equivalents) working in the energy industry. Revenues from the gas sector accounted for EUR 13 billion and around 70 000 jobs.

The country is both a major exporter and importer of energy, and so the competitiveness of Dutch industry also depends on affordable and secure energy supplies. The openness of the Dutch market place and the high share of trade have made the country resistant, but also exposed to the developments in global energy markets. While in 1989 the Netherlands was among the most competitive economies (next to Japan and Switzerland), in 2013 the country ranks 14th, indicating the acceleration of globalisation and increasing competitiveness pressure.

The energy policy of the Netherlands (a founding member state of the European Union) is also framed by EU requirements on issues such as the electricity and gas markets, energy efficiency, renewable energy, state aid, the environment and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. As the country is a major trade and transit hub for oil, gas, electricity and coal, close co-operation with its neighbouring countries (Benelux, the Pentalateral Energy Forum and North Sea Region) has been a priority and expanded from the electricity and gas markets to new energy policy challenges, including the transition to a low-carbon economy, the increase in the use of renewable energies, carbon capture and storage (CCS) in the North Sea, and to security of oil and gas supply.

Total primary energy supply (TPES) in the Netherlands was 78.6 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe) in 2012. The supply of energy peaked at 83.4 Mtoe in 2010 and has since declined for two consecutive years. Despite this contraction, TPES was higher in 2012 compared to ten years earlier, increasing by 3.8% since 2002. The Netherland’s energy mix is dominated by fossil fuels which represent more than 90% of TPES. Natural gas supplied 41.7% of energy in 2012, followed by oil at 39.4% and coal at 10.4%. With less than 6% of total supply, renewable energy is made up of biofuels and waste (4.7% of TPES), wind (0.5%) and solar (0.1%). Nuclear accounts for 1.3% of TPES, and the use of geothermal is still at the development stage. The importance of hydropower is marginal and provides a mere 0.01% of total energy.

Over the past decade, there has been a slight shift in the energy mix towards more use of renewables. Thus, the penetration of fossil fuels has fallen from 94% of TPES in 2002 to 91.5% in 2012. Total supply from natural gas has contracted the most, by 8.5% since 2002, while the use of coal saw a decline of 3%. Conversely, oil supply has increased by 13.6%, growing at a faster rate than overall TPES. The strongest developments have been in wind power and biofuels and waste, with energy from these sources increasing by 427.2% and 85.6% respectively. The use of solar energy has also risen by 60%. Despite these enormous increases, however, renewable energies remain at a very low base. There have been no significant changes in the supply of energy from nuclear or hydro.

The Netherlands has one of the largest shares of fossil fuels in its energy mix among IEA member countries, ranking fifth-highest behind Luxembourg, Australia, Japan and Ireland. It is also the tenth-lowest with regard to the share of biofuels and waste in TPES. More than 80% of energy supplied in the Netherlands is produced locally, with total energy production reaching 64.7 Mtoe in 2012. Natural gas accounts for 88.8% of energy produced; biofuels and waste for 6.1% and oil for 2.8%; nuclear, wind, solar and geothermal energies together account for just over 2%.

The country has significant natural gas production, twice as much as the Netherlands consumes, and trades large quantities of gas. Oil is also traded through these main European ports as refined oil products. The country also imports large quantities of oil for domestic consumption as it has no significant indigenous oil production.

1.2.1. Estimated available energy

Table 3 shows the estimated available energy sources per January 2013.


Estimated available energy sources
 Fossil Fuels Nuclear  Renewables
Solid Liquid Gas Uranium Hydro Other
 Total amount in specific units*    47.1  1044      
Total amount in Exajoule (EJ)    2.011  33.04      

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

Source: Delfstoffen en Aardwarmte in Nederland, jaarverslag 2013, Estimated reserves per 1.1.2014.


Specific energy: Petroleum: 42.7 MJ/kg Natural gas: 31.65 MJ/Nm3

million tons
billion m3
Specific energy
Energy in MJ
×109 MJ
×109 MJ
Energy in EJ

1.2.2 Energy Statistics

Table 4 provides information on the historic growth rates of total primary energy consumption and energy production.


Average annual growth rate (%)
1970 1980 1990 2000 2005 2010 2013 2014 2000 to 2014
Total Primary Energy consumption* A)  
- Total 2.016 2.723 2.724 3.067 3.316 3.493 3.256 3.056 0.0
- Coal and coal products** 0.192 0.167 0.366 0.329 0.342 0.318 0.342 0.378 1.0
- Liquids 1.171 1.204 0.944 1.074 1.253 1.305 1.231 1.189 0.7
- Gases 0.635 1.267 1.303 1.469 1.480 1.643 1.396 1.210 -1.4
- Nuclear 0.004 0.046 0.038 0.041 0.041 0.038 0.028 0.039 -0.4
- Hydro 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.001 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 -
- Biofuels and waste 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.033 0.044 0.051 0.056 0.057 4.0
- Electricity -0.001 -0.001 0.033 0.068 0.066 0.010 0.066 0.053 -1.8
- Other
0.000 0.000 0.000 0.053 0.089 0.127 0.137 0.129 6.6
Energy production B)  
- Total 1.225 3.032 2.547 2.417 2.628 2.935 2.873 2.409 0.0
- Coal and coal products ** 0.119 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 - - -
- Liquids 0.082 0.067 0.170 0.102 0.098 0.061 0.065 0.082 -1.5
- Gases 1.005 2.878 2.300 2.189 2.357 2.657 2.587 2.102 -0.3
- Nuclear 0.004 0.046 0.038 0.041 0.041 0.038 0.028 0.039 -0.4
- Hydro 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.001 0.000 0.000 - - -
- Biofuels and waste 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.033 0.044 0.051 0.056 0.057 4.0
- Electricity 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0 -
- Other
0.000 0.000 0.000 0.053 0.089 0.127 0.137 0.129 6.6
Net import (Import - Export) C)  
- Total 1.225 0.166 0.721 1.453 1.611 1.294 1.090 1.354 -0.5

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

** Solid fuels include coal, lignite

Source: IEA.


  1. Section ‘Totaal energieaanbod’

  2. Section’ Winning’

  3. Section ‘Invoersaldo’

Note: In the past, biofuels & waste and ‘other renewables’ might have been categorized slightly different. Therefore numbers might slightly differ from previous versions.

1.2.3. Energy policy

Since 2008, the Netherlands has relied upon the Clean & Efficient Programme and the Energy Transition Framework.

The country’s energy policy is based on the EU framework, notably the EU 20-20-20 targets, which call for the reduction of 20% in GHG emissions, a 20% increase in energy efficiency and a total share of 20% of renewable energy in 2020. Those objectives were translated into national targets as follows: the country has a national target of 14% of renewable energy in TFC under the EU Renewable Energy Directive 2009/28/EC and is committed under the EU Effort Sharing Decision to a binding reduction of GHG emissions by 16% in 2020 (for the non-ETS sector), below 2005 levels.

In 2011, the government presented the Energy Report 2011, which is prepared every four years to set the energy and climate policies. The 2011 version outlined the ambition of the Netherlands to become more sustainable in energy terms and less dependent on fossil fuels in the transition to a low-carbon economy by 2050. The report presented the pillars of the Dutch energy strategy: ensuring reliable energy supply at competitive prices and green growth as primary economic objectives, while maintaining an international approach in the long-term transition to a sustainable energy supply. The Netherlands adopts the following approach and key policy objectives:

  • A modern industrial policy to strengthen the competitiveness of the Dutch energy sector through public support to businesses and knowledge institutes to work together in the development of energy technologies (for both green and grey energy) in which the Netherlands excels on the international market. This should make renewable energy cost-effective and bring benefits to the Dutch economy.

  • Expanding the share of renewable energy to reach European targets by stimulating the production of the most efficient renewable energy options through the Sustainable Energy Incentive Scheme (SDE+), efforts to promote offshore wind and the co-firing of biomass in coal-fired power plants within the sustainability criteria.

  • Encouraging energy conservation and decentralised sustainable energy generation by promoting a Green Deal for energy with the society.

  • Providing scope for all energy options for a reliable energy supply to ensure a balanced mix of green and conventional energy, including nuclear energy.

  • Investing in a sound European energy market with a good infrastructure by ensuring careful spatial planning, including the connection of future offshore wind, and cross border co-operation of transmission system operators (TSOs).

The national energy agreement for sustainable growth

Sustainable growth is a key priority of the Rutte-Asscher coalition government with a view to achieve a sustainable energy supply system within the international context of the Dutch economy.

Observers had seen that the Dutch energy transition policy, which was largely an industrial policy, had reached a point of stagnation and suffered from short-term priorities of changing government coalitions. The Dutch Parliament therefore called for a longer term vision and more consistency in policy making with regard to energy in its motion of April 2011 concerning a “National Energy Transition Agreement”.

The coalition agreement Building Bridges of 29 October 2012 sets out an agenda for economic recovery from the financial and economic crisis. The coalition agreement raised the ambition for the share of renewable energy to reach 16% by 2020 and made energy efficiency a key priority. On the basis of the coalition agreement and the Dutch Parliament’s motion of 26 April 2011, a new Energy Agreement for Sustainable Growth (hereafter the Energy Agreement) was adopted in September 2013. Focussed on driving investment at time of the economic recession, the Energy Agreement is expected to deliver around EUR 13 to 18 billion of extra investments and approximately 15 000 extra jobs between 2016 and 2020.

The Netherlands has a strong tradition in taking a consensus-driven approach for the setting of the energy policy actions, the so-called polder model. The Energy Agreement was prepared by the Social and Economic Council (SER) throughout an eight-month negotiation process between employers’ federations, trade unions, government representatives and environmental non-governmental organisations (NGOs). The SER acted as a platform to facilitate the process.

The Energy Agreement presents a ten-point action plan for 2020. The aims are to ensure a balance between sustainability and competitiveness, enhancing energy efficiency and stimulating new investment in the sector, while reducing the financial burden for citizens and companies. Next to quantified targets up to 2020, the Energy Agreement includes: commitments to longer-term actions, notably regarding CCS; the development of a bio-based economy; emissions reductions in the transport/mobility sectors; all of which were subsequently included in the new Climate Agenda of the government, as published at the end of 2013. Other areas, notably the development of shale gas or the future role of nuclear or cogeneration were not covered by the Energy Agreement. In general, it remains at the level of commitments by the parties and many detailed arrangements are to be elaborated.

Under the Energy Agreement, the Netherlands is committed to achieve the following objectives:

  • Energy efficiency savings of 1.5% or 100 PJ by 2020 (at least 35% by end-2016 and at least 65% by end-2018), by reinforcing energy efficiency in buildings, industry and agriculture. Commercial and transport/mobility sectors

  • A share of 14% renewable energy in TFC by 2020 and 16% by 2023 through the reformed SDE+ and R&D support with a focus on offshore wind and decentralised energy at local and regional levels

  • 60% CO2 reductions by 2050 and 17% reductions by 2030, compared to 1990 levels, in the transport and mobility sectors.

It is expected that the measures in the Energy Agreement will: deliver energy savings between 22 PJ and 60 PJ, depending on the actual implementation of the different saving objectives, and surplus potential; ensure the feasibility of the Dutch renewable targets for 2020-23; reduce CO2 emissions by 16 Mt to 17 Mt and create health benefits of EUR 70 million to 2020 from reduced particulates; and stimulate a total of EUR 13 billion to EUR 18 billion in investment.

The Energy Agreement relies on the responsibility of the parties to implement their commitments, and creates a shared responsibility and shared ownership. As a follow-up measure, the parties agreed to set up a committee at the SER to regularly monitor progress and amend measures, as needed. A major evaluation of the Energy Agreement is scheduled for 2016 in order to track progress towards achieving the agreed targets for 2020 and 2030, and the need for supplementary measures.

1.3. The electricity system

1.3.1. Electricity policy and decision making process

The Ministry of Economic Affairs (Ministerie van Economische Zaken) has the overall responsibility for the Dutch energy policy, 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 Co-ordination Programme for the planning of large-scale energy infrastructure projects.

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

Responsibility for energy efficiency is shared among several ministries and implementing agencies. The Ministry of Economic Affairs is in charge of overall energy policy, including energy efficiency, and measures in agriculture and other sectors. The Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment 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 new authority under the Ministry of Economic Affairs with regulatory powers to supervise electricity and natural gas markets as well as district heating markets. ACM is the result of the consolidation of the Netherlands Consumer Authority (CA), the Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa) and its energy branch, the Dutch Office of Energy Regulation (Energiekamer), and the Netherlands Independent Post and Telecommunication Authority (OPTA). The Energiekamer is charged with regulation and oversight duties stemming from the Electricity and Gas Act. The Energiekamer is also responsible for:

  • Issuing supply licenses 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

1.3.2. Structure of electric power sector

The liberalisation of the Dutch electricity market started in the 1990s in the framework of the EU energy market liberalisation 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 privatise 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 privatised 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 liberalisation and market integration, the Dutch market saw the entry of foreign vertically integrated players from neighbouring markets (RWE, Vattenfall, E.ON, Electrabel/GDF Suez) which acquired the 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.

1.3.3. Main indicators


The Dutch electricity system is dominated by fossil fuel capacity. In 2012, total installed generating capacity in the Netherlands was around 29 GW. Thermal power generating capacity amounted to 24.3 GW or 87% of total capacity and out of total thermal power 18.6 GW or 77% was natural gas-fired plant. Renewable generation represented only 2.8 GW or 0.099% of total generating capacity. Coal capacity runs at baseload with a capacity factor of 76%, which is the result also of the current overcapacity in the Dutch power system, growing imports and the age of current baseload coal-fired power plants. Natural gas capacity has a capacity factor of 45%, reflecting its role as a shoulder and peak service provider.

Electricity generation

Electricity generation in the Netherlands was 102.5 terawatt hours (TWh) in 2012. This represents a decline of 9.3% compared to 2011, the largest annual contraction over the past three decades. Nevertheless, since 2002 electricity generation has increased by 6.8%, with significant growth in the years between 2006 and 2010.

The electricity mix is dominated by fossil fuels, namely natural gas and coal. Natural gas accounted for 54.4% of electricity generation in 2012 while coal amounted to 26.6%. Oil had a small share of 1.1%. Over the past decade there has been a shift towards more renewables, with the total share of fossil fuels in electricity generation falling from 90.3% in 2002 to 82.1% in 2012. Electricity generated from natural gas has experienced only a marginal growth of 0.5% since 2002, while electricity from coal and oil has declined by 5.9% and 51.5% respectively. Nuclear energy accounted for 3.8% of electricity generation in 2012, a share which has reduced slightly from 4.1% in 2002.

Renewable energy sources in the electricity mix in the Netherlands are principally from biofuels and waste, and wind. Biofuels and waste accounted for 8.7% of generation in 2012 while wind represented a further 4.9%. Solar energy and hydro also play a role, albeit to a small extent, contributing 0.3% and 0.1% of the total respectively. Wind power has experienced the fastest growth over the decade to 2012, growing fivefold, from 1 TWh in 2002 to 5 TWh in 2012. Electricity from biofuels and waste has more than doubled over the same period, from 4.1 TWh in 2002 to 8.9 TWh in 2012. As a share of electricity generation, renewable energy sources have increased from 5.7% in 2002 to 14% in 2012.

Table 5 shows the historic growth in electricity production, consumption and capacity in the Netherlands and table 6 the energy related ratios.


Average annual growth rate (%)
1970 1980 1990 2000 2005 2010 2013 2000 to 2013
Net Capacity of electrical plants (GWe) D)
- Thermal 16.960 19.769 20.145 23.663 27.493 2.6
- Hydro 0.037 0.037 0.037 0.037 0.037 0.0
- Nuclear 0.508 0.449 0.449 0.510 0.510 1.0
- Wind 0.050 0.447 1.224 2.237 2.707 14.9
- Geothermal 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 -
- other renewable 0.001 0.080 0.123 0.161 0.792 19.3
- Total 17.556 20.782 21.978 26.608 31.540 3.3
Electricity production ( gross TWh) E)
- Thermal 40.49 60.61 68.30 85.03 94.26 109.80 91.55 0.6
- Hydro 0.00 0.00 0.09 0.14 0.09 0.10 0.11 -1.8
- Nuclear 0.37 4.20 3.50 3.93 4.00 3.97 2.89 -2.3
- Wind 0.00 0.00 0.06 0.83 2.07 3.99 5.63 15.9
- Geothermal 0.00 0.00 - 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 -
- other renewable 0.00 0.00 - 0.256 0.351 0.277 0.698 8.0
- Total 1) 40.86 64.81 71.94 90.18 100.77 118.14 100.89 0.9
Total net Electricity consumption* (TWh) F) 40.52 64.53 78.64 104.69 114.78 117.15 115.61 0.8

1) Electricity transmission losses are not deducted.

* Own use is excluded from total electricity supply.



F),140,310,480,565,650,701,718&HDR=G1&STB=T&VW=T (Totaal verbruik – bij de productie)

Source: Statistics Netherlands


1970 1980 1990 2000 2005 2010 2013 Average annual growth rate (%)
2000 to 2013
TPES per capita (GJ/capita) 1) 159 191 185 193 203 211 194 0.03
Electricity consumption per capita (kWh/capita) 2950 4365 5220 6570 6985 7021 6828 0.3
Electricity production/Energy production (%) 12 8 10 13 14 14 13 -0.4
Nuclear/Total electricity (%) 0.9 6.5 4.9 4.3 4.0 3.4 2.9 -3.2
Ratio of external dependency (%) 2) 62 5 27 47 49 37 33 -2.6

1) TPES = Total primary energy supply

2) Net import / Total energy consumption.

Source: Statistics Netherlands (


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 2012, the one and only nuclear power plant (NPP) produced about 4 terawatt hours electrical (TWhe), providing about 3.8% of total electricity and 1.3% of total primary energy supply (TPES). Over the period of operation, nuclear power has generated about 132 TWh of carbon-free baseload electricity in the Netherlands.

The nuclear programme started with the construction of a research reactor in 1955, the High Flux Reactor 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 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 back-fitting projects at both of them. The back-fitting 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 license 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 license. 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 nuclear new build at the site of the NPP Borssele. 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 License Holder and operator of the HFR. A foundation is established that will conduct all preparatory activities required for the realisation of the new reactor. The national government and the province of North Holland together provided a loan of about 80 Meuro to finalize licensing and design of PALLAS. An important precondition for support is the realisation 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

Nuclear Power Plant: 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 now 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 License 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 Dutch Parliament decided to phase out the plant by 2003. The decision was legally challenged and taken back. Instead, in 2006 a Covenant was signed by operator and owners of the plant and the government, allowing the plant to operate until end 2033 at the latest, under conditions, beside the license requirements.

The operating life of the Borssele NPP is to be extended with 20 years until 2034. The License 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-license application. In 2013 the LTO license entered into force. The regulatory review of License Holder’s LTO-programme has led to various license requirements on top of the measures proposed by the License Holder.

Nuclear Power Plant: 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 License Holder obtained a license for ‘deferred dismantling’ after 40 years of safe enclosure. In 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. June 1st 2005, the 40-years safe enclosure period started under a license that requires the owner to commence dismantling activities in 2045.


Reactor Unit Type Net
Status Operator Reactor
First Grid
BORSSELE PWR 482 Operational EPZ S/KWU 1969-07-01 1973-06-20 1973-07-04 1973-10-26 91.3
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 have decades long history of Periodic Safety Reviews (PSRs). Since about 20 years one of the conditions of the license 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, whilst 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, etcetera.

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 nuclear new build at the site of the NPP Borssele. Delta currently is the majority (70%) shareholder in the current NPP but also generates power using coal, Biomass, natural gas and wind. Early 2012 Delta announced to shelve 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. 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 liberalised 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 learnt 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

After shut–down, the 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

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 US. Urenco is one of the four major uranium enrichment suppliers in the world. Urenco consists of two main business units, the Enrichment Group (UEC) and the Technology Group (ETC).

The Enrichment Group is responsible for operating centrifuge enrichment plants and marketing the enriched uranium to nuclear utilities worldwide. It has contracts with over 40 utilities in 17 countries in Europe, North America and East Asia, and a growing world market share of around 30%. By the end of 2010, the Group built up an order portfolio of €19.5 billion. Along with other Urenco plants, the Almelo operation is being expanded. In 2011, Urenco NL was granted an increase in licensed capacity from 4950 tSW/yr (separative work units) to 6200 tSW/yr. Urenco has concluded a joint venture with Areva (Fr) that is building an enrichment facility on the basis of Urenco’s ultracentrifuge technology in Tricastin (FR).

The Technology Group (ETC) owns the world-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%). It has its main offices in Almelo. 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 in the US. ETC also designs uranium enrichment plants using centrifuge technology.

Radioactive waste and spent fuel management

The Netherlands’ 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, and social arrangements are to be made in such a way that geological disposal can really be implemented afterwards.

Implementation of this policy led to the establishment of COVRA, the Central Organisation for Radioactive Waste, located in Borsele. COVRA is a 100% state owned organisation, and is the only organisation allowed to manage and store the radioactive waste and spent fuel. Upon transfer to COVRA, COVRA takes over all liabilities, including the responsibility for final disposal.

According to the generally applied ‘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 envisaged costs for final disposal. Once the transfer of the waste has been accomplished, the customer is exempted from further responsibility for the waste. No surcharges can be made to make up for exploitation losses by COVRA and no waste can be returned to the customers.

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 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.

For Low and Intermediate Level Waste (LILW) there are fixed tariffs for specified categories of radioactive waste, which take into account all management costs. 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 to any proposal for an increase of the tariffs, in order to prevent the temptation of environmentally irresponsible behaviour with the waste by the customer.

While it is recognised that COVRA as a waste management agency has a public utility function, negotiations with the utilities on the transferral of shares to the State have resulted in an agreement in which they take a fair share in the future management costs of COVRA for this category of radioactive waste. This sum was disbursed to COVRA in the framework of the transfer of ownership of COVRA to the State and put in a separate fund which is managed by COVRA. Every 5 years since the basis for the cost estimate has been re-assessed.

For LILW a separate procedure is followed: COVRA raises a surcharge for waste disposal on the fees of generators of radioactive waste. This sum is added to the fund.


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

Reprocessing contracts have been concluded for all spent fuel generated by the current operating NPP until its end of operation. A new treaty was signed by the Republic of France and the Kingdom of the Netherlands on April 20. 2012, regulating for Dutch spent fuel (SF) produced after 2015 its receipt by Areva NC in France, its reprocessing and the return of radioactive wastes from reprocessing to the Netherlands before 31 December 2052. It is envisaged that Parliamentary discussion of the enabling law for this treaty will be finished in 2014.


Article 15f of the Nuclear Energy Act regulates License Holder’s obligations regarding having financial provisions for the decommissioning costs. In April 2011 the Nuclear Installations, Fissionable Materials and Ores Decree (Bkse) was amended, detailing these obligations.

The updated Bkse requires the License Holder to have and periodically (every five years) update a decommissioning plan during the lifetime of the facility. The plan shall be approved by the authorities every time it is updated. In addition to this, minimum-requirements on the content of a decommissioning plan are defined. 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 License Holder is obliged to act according to the decommissioning plan.

Furthermore, the License Holder is required to have a financial provision to cover the costs of decommissioning, which will have to be updated and approved by the authorities every time the decommissioning plan is updated. The License 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, in the Netherlands. The organization includes three business units and several supporting divisions; the total staff amounts to 428 persons (December 2011). 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. It is expected that the LFR will be decommissioned in 2014. NRG performs both funded and commercial services. Funded services are sponsored by the ministry of Economic Affairs, within the framework of national policy covering the following areas:

  • Nuclear safety and security

  • Waste management and reduction

  • Radiation protection

  • CO2-poor energy generation

  • Public information

Research activities include:

  • Safety studies on current as well innovative reactor systems

  • Deep geological disposal of high-active nuclear waste

  • Transmutation (burning) of long-lived actinides, including irradiation experiments in the HFR

  • 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 has 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 multi-purpose 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 co-operation and initiatives

Nuclear technology

Since the early days of the Netherlands’ nuclear programme, international co-operation has been considered as a necessity by all those involved. Since the joint exploitation of the Halden research reactor (together with Norway) in the 1950s and 1960s, until the Urenco co-operation in uranium enrichment of the present day, the Netherlands' nuclear activities have been undertaken in close co-operation with other countries. A strong interest in multilateral co-operation on nuclear energy matters within intergovernmental organizations complements the government’s orientation toward practical co-operation with others.

Within the context of the "Open nuclear energy option", the Netherlands is interested in and remains dedicated to the development of new reactor concepts, such as advanced light-water reactors and high-temperature gas-cooled reactors, as part of the long-term strategy towards continuous improvement of nuclear safety and towards a sustainable, CO2-poor energy supply. Particularly, representation of the Netherlands (NRG) in the European Technical Platforms (SNETP. IGDTP), F4E (Fusion for Energy) and the VHTR Steering Committee of GIF (Generation IV forum; on behalf of EURATOM) and EUR (European Utility Requirements) are worth mentioning.

NRG is involved in cooperation with JRC. SCK (Belgium) and CEA (France), Together, they are currently focussed on the establishment of the future nuclear infrastructure for Europe, i.e. the Pallas reactor in the Netherlands (Petten). MYRRHA in Belgium (Mol) and the Jules Horowitz Reactor in France (Cadarache)

Nuclear safety

The Netherlands is represented in relevant boards and committees under the supervision of major organisations like the EU/Euratom, OECD/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. International cooperation has clearly intensified in recent years.

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 in 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 flag of the IAEA and the 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 and the ensuing national action plans. 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, et cetera. 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 the fact that much of this transport crosses national borders.

2.9. Human resources development

One or more 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 regards 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 plays an important role particularly 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 continued. Where necessary and possible, our knowledge and experience is developed and carried out 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 authorisation are in order on time.

New nuclear plants 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 TU Delft has recently started to offer specialization in Nuclear Science and Engineering. In the province of Zeeland, secondary vocational training and a Bachelor’s degree specialising in nuclear technology are offered. These initiatives are a positive development. The Ministers of Economic Affairs, Education, Culture and Science will jointly consider what role the government can play in addition. Funding of the research activities at NRG in Petten, from the Ministry of economic Affairs, will continue.

2.10. Stakeholder Communication

In the event that legal provisions exist regarding public information in the context of licensing procedures, citizens and both public and private organisations / institutions are notified of new or modified licenses 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 organisation of presentations and discussion evenings. These events are organised, 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:

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.


3.1. Regulatory framework

3.1.1. Regulatory authority(s)

Ministerial responsibilities

The minister of Economic Affairs (EZ) is the primarily responsible authority for conducting the regulatory process under the Nuclear Energy Act and for the main functions of the Regulatory Body.

Several other ministers also have responsibilities in specific areas related to the use of radioactivity and radiation. The ministry of EZ is the coordinating ministry for all the issues related to the Nuclear Energy Act. The following list illustrates the responsibilities of the various ministers regarding the various areas of interest:

  • Minister of Economic Affairs (EZ) for nuclear safety, radiation protection, physical protection of fissile materials and radioactive materials and wastes. Also coordinating minister for the Act; i.e. minister reporting to Parliament and responsible for the ‘maintenance’ of the Act. The coordination function has been recorded in a special Decree.

  • Minister of Economic Affairs (EZ) for radiation protection in the mining industry.

  • Minister of Social Affairs and Employment (SZW) for worker safety and health.

  • Minister of Health. Welfare and Sports (VWS) for healthcare and patient safety.

  • Minister of Infrastructure and the Environment (I&M(1)) for non-radiological emissions into surface water.

  • Minister of Security and Justice cooperating in the execution of the National Nuclear Emergency Management and Response Plan (NPK).

  • Minister of Defence for applications of ionizing radiation by the military.

  • Minister of Finance for liability issues, including nuclear accidents.

  • Minister of Foreign Affairs for the coordination of Dutch foreign policy, regarding to the Nuclear Energy Act especially focused on non-proliferation and Euratom and IAEA affairs.

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 and transport safety.

At present, responsibilities and tasks of the Regulatory Body are spread over several organisations and ministries. The Dutch Council of Ministers decided on January 24, 2014 that the RB’s expertise in the area of nuclear safety. Radiation protection and related security and safeguards will be brought together in a single independent organisation. The reorganisation will make it possible to increase the RB’s efficiency and effectiveness in using available (budget and human) resources. Currently it is foreseen that the new RB will pick up its duties starting from the beginning of 2015 and about one year later the final legal formalities should be completed.

At present the separate entities of the Regulatory Body operate with working agreements under the responsibility of the minister of Economic Affairs. Their responsibilities and tasks are summarized below:

  • Within the ministry of EZ, the ‘programmadirectie voor Nucleaire Installaties en Veiligheid’ (pdNIV), i.e. Nuclear Installations and Nuclear Safety Directorate, is responsible for the preparation of legislation, formulating policies (excluding energy policy), regulatory requirements, licensing and related review and assessment.

  • Within the ministry of EZ, the ‘Rijksdienst voor Ondernemers’ (RvO), team Radiation Protection & Society(2) has been mandated to grant licenses under the Nuclear Energy Act, excluding licenses for nuclear installations and licenses for the larger transports of nuclear fuel. Such licenses are issued by the pdNIV.

  • The nuclear inspectorate of the Regulatory Body, the ‘Kernfysische dienst’ (KFD) is within the general responsibility of the Minister of EZ the organisation responsible for the independent supervision (safety assessment, inspection and enforcement) of compliance by the License Holders with the requirements on the safety, security and non-proliferation(3). The KFD is embedded in an organisational division of the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT) of the ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment (I&M).

  • It should be noted that in addition to the KFD, there are other inspectorates contributing in a limited way to the supervision of the activities of the License Holders.

Each of the entities pdNIV, RVO and KFD has its own set of responsibilities and tasks, related to the Nuclear Energy Act. Nevertheless, there are many projects of the Regulatory Body in which the entities work together in project teams. Examples are the National Report for the European stress test and associated Peer Review, the National Report to the Convention on Nuclear Safety and associated activities, the present national report related to Council Directive 2009/71/EURATOM, and the upcoming IRRS(4) mission and its preparation.

Supporting organisations

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

  • Governmental supporting organisation RIVM: The National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) is a specialised Dutch government agency. Its remit is to modernise, 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 back-office of the National Nuclear Assessment Team for radiological analyses and information (BORI). The RIVM supports the Ministries with scientific studies and independent analyses of samples of emitted radio isotopes. RIVM also maintains the National Radioactivity Monitoring Network, that includes a network of measuring posts. RIVM works together with other (governmental) expert organisations 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 Organisations (TSO): To date there is no national dedicated TSO. Organisations are contracted on ad hoc basis to support the Regulatory Body with various tasks. Support is provided by foreign TSOs and national and international consultancy organisations. Some major supporting organisations 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 organisations. GRS currently has a major framework contract with the Regulatory Body.

    • The Nuclear Research & consultancy Group (NRG) in Petten and Arnhem provides consultancy & educational services to government and industry. The company has implemented ‘Chinese Wall’ procedures to protect the interests of its various clients and avoid conflicts of interest. NRG also is a License Holder. NRG currently has a framework contract with the Regulatory Body.

Education and training organisations:

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

3.1.2. Licensing Process

Principal responsible authority

Currently, the minister of Economic Affairs (EZ) is the primarily responsible authority for conduction the regulatory process under the Nuclear Energy Act and for the main functions of the Regulatory Body.

However, 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 often there are several authorities, sometimes at several levels in the governmental organisation involved in the licencing procedures.

The Nuclear Energy Act stipulates (in Article 15, sub b) that a license must be obtained to construct, commission, operate, modify or decommission a NPP. Similarly, the Act states (in Article 15. sub a) that a license 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’ (IAEA definition).


The procedures to obtain a license under the Nuclear Energy Act (and other acts), follow the guidelines specified in the General Administrative Act (Awb), division 3.4. These procedures provide for public involvement in the licensing process. Any stakeholder is entitled to express his 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. According to the Coordination Law the ministry of Economic Affairs (EZ) is charged with the task of coordinating the activities, organising the interaction between the many authorities involved, each of which will perform its duties. Typical of such projects is the involvement of many levels of governmental organisations; from the ministries down to the municipal level.

Environmental Impact Assessment, Safety Assessment, and processing comments of stakeholders

Within a license application for a nuclear installation, it is often compulsory to conduct an Environmental Impact Assessment or EIA (Dutch: milieu-effectrapportage. m.e.r.). Such an assessment is compulsory for all reactors with a thermal power higher than 1 kW(5). A permanent commission, the Commission for the Environmental Assessment (‘Commissie voor de m.e.r.’, Cmer) 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 license procedures regulated by the Regulatory Body.

The EIA procedure (chapter 7 of the Environmental Management Act) is:

  • The initiator notifies the competent authority of his intention.

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

  • An independent external committee 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 independent external committee advices 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 application, the Regulatory Body 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 Regulatory Body 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 competent authority 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 license is evaluated by the inspectorate branch of the Regulatory Body, the KFD.

The Regulatory Body will consider all views expressed by the public. When appropriate, it will group the views into a number of unique topics/views. The Regulatory Body then will respond to all unique views and all responses are recorded with the documentation of the definite license. Common responses of the Regulatory Body include elaborations on policies, assessment techniques or other issues that need clarification.

License 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 license.

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.

Figure 1: Simplified representation of the hierarchy of the legal framework for applications of nuclear technology

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 continue to be updated in the light of ongoing developments. Notable is the recent update of the Decree on Radiation Protection (Bs).

At a lower level there are the Ordinances(6). These can be issued by the minister responsible for conducting the regulatory process under the Nuclear Energy Act.

At a lower level there are regulations and guides issued by the competent regulatory authority: the Nuclear Safety Rules (Dutch: NVRs(7)). The Nuclear Energy Act (Article 21.1) provides the basis for this system of more detailed safety regulations concerning the design, operation and quality assurance of (mainly) NPPs. Annex 2 provides a complete list of the current NVRs. In the NVRs the WENRA Reactor Safety Reference Levels published in 2008 have been implemented.

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

Appendix 1: International, Multilateral and Bilateral Agreements

In addition to the CNS, the Netherlands is party to many other Treaties and Conventions related to the use of nuclear technology and materials.

An important one is the ‘Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons’ (NPT). Related are guidelines of the Nuclear Suppliers Group that prescribe limitations to the transfer of sensitive nuclear technologies like the enrichment and the reprocessing technologies. In addition, the Netherlands has joined the ‘Proliferation Security Initiative’ (PSI), which is based on a UN Security Council Resolution 1540 (UNSCR 1540) for the non-proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD).

The Netherlands is also party to several Conventions on liability like the ‘Paris Convention on Third Party Liability in the Field of Nuclear Energy’ and the ‘Brussels Convention’ supplementary to the ‘Paris Convention’, and the ‘Joint Protocol Relating to the Application of the Vienna Convention and the Paris Convention’.

Other important Conventions are the ‘Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management’, and the ‘Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and Nuclear Installations’.

The Netherlands has brought Council Directive 2009/71/EURATOM of 25 June 2009 on nuclear safety into force(8) in 2011. The safety objectives of the Directive cover those of the Nuclear Safety Convention and are in some regards more specific and have a larger scope.

The Directive 2009/71/EURATOM prescribes the systematic evaluation and investigation of the nuclear safety of nuclear installations during their operating life possibly leading to changes in the installation (‘continuous improvement’). Also, the regulation prescribes inter alia that:

  • License Holders should give sufficient priority to nuclear safety systems;

  • License Holders must provide adequate human and financial resources to meet the obligations on the nuclear safety of a nuclear installation;

  • All parties, including the License Holder, are required to provide a mechanism for educating and training their staff responsible for the safety of nuclear plants to meet the expertise and competence in the field of nuclear safety to be maintained and developed.

The Netherlands is in the process of implementing Council Directive 2011/70/EURATOM of 19 July 2011 ‘establishing a Community framework for the responsible and safe management of spent fuel and radioactive waste’. The Netherlands is drafting the required ‘National Programme’ according to the definition provided by this Directive. This is out of the scope of the present report to the CNS. Progress on implementation of this Directive will be reported in future national reports for the ‘Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management’.

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


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)


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:

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

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

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

Nuclear export guidelines

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

6 September 1989
Partial Test-Ban Treaty

Entry into force:
14 September 1964
Nuclear Suppliers Group


European Atomic Energy Community

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

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

Netherlands, Germany and the 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, the United Kingdom and the USA regarding protection of information transferred into the USA in connection with the initial phase of a project for the establishment of a uranium enrichment, installation in the USA based upon the gas centrifuge process developed within the three countries

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

Entry into force:
Ratification date:
8 July 1993
21 March 1993
Netherlands, Germany, the United Kingdom and the USA regarding the establishment, construction and operation of a uranium enrichment installation in the USA

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

21 July 1999

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:

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

Entry into force:
Ratification date:
5 April 1991
7 July 1992

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


Ministry of Economic Affairs
Bezuidenhoutseweg 73
P.O. Box 20401
2500 EK The Hague, The Netherlands

Tel: +31-77-465.67.67
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
Nuclear Installation and Safety Department
P.O. Box 20401
2500 EK The Hague, The Netherlands

Tel: +31-70-379.60.14


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

Tel: +31 224 564082
Fax: + 31 224 563912

International Radiation Protection Association (IRPA)
The Netherlands Nuclear 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
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
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
URENCO Nederland B.V.
P.O. Box 158
7600 AD Almelo
Tel: +31-546-54.54.54
Fax: +31-546-81 82 96
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
European Association for Grey Literature Exploitation
Elsevier Science
FOM-Institute for Plasma Physics. Rijnhuizen
The Chemical Weapons Convention (OCPW)

Name of report coordinator: