October 22, 2009 / 1:48 PM / in 8 years

UPDATE 1-GDF Suez signs Belgian nuclear commitment

* Belgian PM says GDF Suez has signed deal for 2010-2014

* Additional agreement for 2015-2025 secured

* No agreement on 500 mln euro charge for 2009

(Adds confirmation from Belgian PM)

BRUSSELS, Oct 22 (Reuters) - France’s GDF Suez GSZ.PA has agreed to pay Belgium over the next five years to operate nuclear power plants there, but has not yet committed to provide a disputed 500 million euros ($747 million) for 2009.

A protocol agreement has been signed between the Belgian state and GDF Suez on an annual contribution of 215-245 million euros for 2010-2014, Belgian Prime Minister Herman Van Rompuy told the Belgian parliament on Thursday.

Under a mechanism for 2015-2025, “contributions will be determined on an annual basis”, he said.

The agreements have been signed by Belgian Energy Minister Paul Magnette and Van Rompuy, as well as GDF Suez Chief Executive Gerard Mestrallet and Electrabel Chief Executive Jean-Pierre Hansen.

Belgium had proposed to charge GDF Suez, whose Electrabel unit dominates the country’s electricity market, for extending the lifetime of Belgium’s three oldest nuclear reactors by 10 years but had not yet obtained guarantees from the firm. [ID:nLC213771]

Belgium has also charged nuclear producers a total of 250 million euros for 2008 and the same for 2009, as well as 250 million euros this year payable to a renewable energy fund. These fees remain in dispute.

The producers are challenging the 2008 payment in Belgium’s constitutional court.

A spokesman for Van Rompuy said the government would pass a law to enforce the 500 million euro charge for this year, adding that this could also be contested by GDF Suez.

Belgium’s two nuclear sites are operated by Electrabel. Its rival SPE, in which EDF (EDF.PA) plans to buy Centrica’s (CNA.L) 51 percent stake, has drawing rights on some 7 percent of production.

Nuclear power accounts for about 55 percent of electricity consumed in Belgium. (Reporting by Antonia van de Velde and Philip Blenkinsop; editing by Dale Hudson) ($1=.6697 euro)

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