Restart for Doel 3 and Tihange 2 now slated for July

23 January 2015

Doel (Electrabel)
Doel (Image: Electrabel)

The process potentially to restart Electrabel's Doel 3 and Tihange 4 nuclear reactors has been extended to 1 July so the utility can answer further questions from an independent panel.

The panel was put in place by the Belgium's Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (FANC) to give its opinion on a mechanical review of the reactors' pressure vessels, which feature hydrogen 'flakes' introduced during manufacture in the late 1970s but only detected in 2012 using the latest ultrasound techniques.

Electrabel provided a report on the tests and the panel met to review this in November. "These experts have formulated additional requests and recommendations," said Electrabel, adding that, "There is now a clear view on the action plan needed to adequately answer these questions."

The two reactors were allowed to operate for a time during investigation of the flakes but were taken offline in March 2014 and have not operated since then. Electrabel said the units, which total 2014 MWe in generating capacity, would remain out of action until 1 July.

FANC wants to be sure that the flakes do not alter the vessels' strength to an extent that would compromise nuclear safety.

Some 21 nuclear reactors around the world feature pressure vessels made by the same manufacturer, the now-closed Rotterdamsche Droogdok Maatschappij, but none has been found to have the same issue.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News