Technical problems for Belgium's Tihange

14 August 2015

Unit 3 of Belgium's Tihange nuclear plant has been shut down because of a technical issue and it is unclear when it will be able to restart, according to a spokeswoman for operator Electrabel, part of France's Engie.

"There was an irregularity during maintenance at the control and operating system and the reactor was shut down safely," she said. According to the Belgian Federal Agency for Nuclear Control, 10 similar incidents have occurred in recent weeks at the Tihange NPP.

With the closure of Tihange 3, all three units of the 3016MWe plant are now offline. Tihange 1 is closed for maintenance until September and Tihange 2 has been closed indefinitely after cracks were found in its reactor vessel.

In July, the government reached agreement with Electrabel to extend the lifespan of two reactors in the northern town of Doel until 2025 to help offset the absence of power from Tihange 2 and Doel 3, which is also shut down following the discovery of cracks.

The Tihange and Doel plants provide 55% of Belgium's electricity needs. Under current Belgian law, nuclear power is to be completely phased out by 2025.

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