Outages extended at Belgian plants

24 September 2018

Scheduled outages at Belgium's Tihange 2 and 3 have been further extended while concrete degradation issues in adjacent non-nuclear buildings are addressed, operator Electrabel has announced.

Tihange (Image: Electrabel)

Engie subsidiary Electrabel said on 21 September that Tihange 2 is now expected to restart on 1 June 2019, and not on 31 October 2018 as previously planned. Tihange 3 is now expected to restart on 2 March 2019 instead of 30 September. There has been no change to the expected restart of date 15 December 2018 for Doel 4, where similar issues are being addressed.

The revisions to the outage calendar will result in a shortfall of around EUR250 million (USD295 million) in the Group's 2018 EBITDA, Electrabel said. Based on these dates, the availability factor for Belgium's nuclear plants - four units at Doel and three at Tihange - is expected to be 52% for 2018, and 74% for 2019.

Electrabel in 2017 noted a deterioration in the concrete in the ceilings of buildings housing the outlet nozzles for the steam exhaust valves in the building attached to the reactor building at Doel unit 3. These buildings, which are located in the non-nuclear zone of Belgian plants, offer an additional safety facility but are subject to intense steam pressure, which degrades concrete over time, the company said.

Work on Tihange 3 and analysis at Tihange 2 and Doel 4 show that the deterioration varies from one building to another, Electrabel said. "The teams are currently working on diagnosing the problem and on calculations that should enable the submission of action plans to the authorities," it added.

"Electrabel emphasises that these dates are best estimates in light of the information currently available and may be altered depending on the optimisation of scheduling, the results of future inspections, the progress of the works and injunctions issued by the authorities," it said.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News