July 5, 2013 / 12:40 PM / in 6 years

UPDATE 1-Belgium wants lion's share of Tihange 1 nuclear profits

(Adds minister’s quotes, cost of keeping reactor open)

BRUSSELS, July 5 (Reuters) - Belgium will guarantee the costs of extending the life of one of the country’s oldest nuclear reactors but will take 70 percent of the profits to invest in other energy sources, Belgium’s energy minister said on Friday.

In July 2012, Belgium decided to delay the closure of Tihange 1 until 2025, due to concerns that it would not have enough alternative forms of energy.

Tihange 1, a 962 megawatt reactor commissioned in 1975, is jointly owned by French energy groups GDF Suez and EDF .

The operators estimate that keeping the reactor open will require investments of 600 million euros ($774.81 million).

“We will guarantee them an amount that pays for the operation of Tihange 1,” said Melchior Wathelet, junior minister in charge of energy.

“This guarantees a very interesting profitability for the state. We want this profitability to allow us to guarantee the energy security of the country at the best price,” he added.

One third of these profits would be used to invest in medium term energy projects, the rest would be invested in wind power.

Electrabel, the GDF Suez unit in Belgium, said it would study the proposal before giving further comment. ($1 = 0.7744 euros) (Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek; editing by Robin Emmott and Jane Merriman)

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