After a 20-year political battle, Belgium was set to shut its nuclear plants in 2025 but the war in Ukraine and rising energy prices have forced a U-turn — and reignited debate across Europe over the best route to a secure, low-carbon energy future.

Christophe Collignon, mayor of Huy — whose skyline and history are dominated by the Tihange nuclear plant — said most people in the medieval city in eastern Belgium welcomed the decision to extend the aging reactor's life until 2035.

"Sometimes you have to be more pragmatic and less ideological," said Collignon, who remembers the first plant opening in 1975, adding that everyone in Huy knows someone who works there.