Region/Countries: Benelux Countries, Europe Industry: Energy, Power and Control Date: July 2016

Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: With opportunities for maintenance, upgrades, and decommissioning, this market holds potential for Wisconsin companies in the sector.

When it comes to nuclear energy, the relationship between Belgium and the U.S. started at the end of the Second World War and has remained close since Belgium’s involvement in the Manhattan Project.

Belgium’s civil nuclear industry offers the opportunity for U.S. companies to enter a multicultural market (consisting of the Flemings with their Germanic language and the Walloons, who speak French) with connections to the major European consumers and economies. Another benefit for U.S. companies expanding to Belgium in the civil nuclear industry is that Belgium is well-located in Europe, allowing for U.S. companies to reach more than a half of Europe’s purchasing power within one day. One of the advantages U.S. companies have, compared to those from Belgium, is their strong expertise in the civil nuclear energy sector and advanced technology, as well as after-market service. Another opportunity exists for U.S. companies that specialize in decommissioning nuclear plants, as many plants in Europe are being decommissioned.

Even so, investment in nuclear plants continues. For example, the largest utility company in Belgium will be investing $700 million in equipment in the upcoming 10 years, and the life of the oldest nuclear plants in Belgium has been extended another 10 years, creating opportunities for maintenance equipment and upgrading equipment. This creates a big opportunity for U.S. companies to enhance local partnerships with Belgian companies.