'Significant damage' to Doel 4 turbine

15 August 2014

Unit 4 of Belgium's Doel nuclear power plant will remain out of operation until at least the end of this year, Electrabel has announced.

Doel plant 460 (Electrabel)
The four-unit Doel plant in northern Belgium (Image: Electrabel)

The unit shut down automatically on 5 August following the loss of oil in its steam turbine. Initial inspections found that the lubricant had been discharged through a valve which had probably been left open by a worker.

Plant owner and operator Electrabel said yesterday, "Following the opening of the high-pressure part of the turbogenerator, the initial results available today suggest that significant damage has been caused to the high-pressure turbine."

"Based on this partial analysis, it appears that Doel 4 will definitely not return to operations before 31 December 2014," said Electrabel, part of the GDF-Suez group. The company said that the low-pressure parts of the turbogenerator will now be inspected, after which "a more in-depth assessment of the time needed for repair will be made."

Belgium's nuclear safety regulator, the Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (FANC), said that the loss of lubricant probably resulted from "voluntary manual intervention," but said the incident had no impact on the safety of workers or the public.

FANC said it is investigating to "reveal the precise circumstances behind this event" and is working with the Public Prosecutor of Dendermonde municipality.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News