Belgium postpones restart of Doel 3

18 December 2015

The scheduled restart of unit 3 at Belgium's Doel nuclear plant has been postponed because of issues related to planning and not because of any abnormality with the plant, operator Electrabel said.

According to Electrabel, the 1006MWe pressurised water reactor (PWR) unit had been scheduled to restart on 17 December. Doel 3 was taken offline in 2012, along with unit 2 at the Tihange nuclear plant, because of uncertainties over the structural integrity of their reactor pressure vessels. In June 2013 the units were restarted, but were shut down again in March 2014 after unexpected results from additional tests.

In November, the Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (Fanc) authorised the restart of both units following satisfactory results from structural assessments.

Tihange 2, a 1008MWe PWR, was restarted earlier on 14 December. Electrabel's schedule also shows that the Doel 1 and Doel 2 are scheduled to restart on 24 December and 19 December respectively. Doel 1 was shut down in February 2015 when it reached the end of its 40 year operating life and Doel 2 has been in a maintenance outage since October 2015. Both units have had their commercial operating licences extended by 10 years until 2025.

There are seven reactor units in commercial operation in Belgium, four at Doel and three at Tihange. Together, they generate about 55% of Belgium's electricity.

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