Ultrasonic testing for Belgian RPVs

25 August 2015

The reactor pressure vessels (RPVs) of units 1 and 2 of Belgium's Doel nuclear plant are to undergo ultrasonic testing respectively in October and November 2015 to check for possible flaws, according to local media.

The tests are deemed necessary because both RPVs were forged in the same facility as the RPV of Switzerland's Beznau 1 where flaw indications were found during an examination in July.

The checks on Beznau 1 had been recommended in connection with flaw indications found in Belgium's Doel 3 and Tihange 2 reactors. The Swiss unit will not be allowed to restart before the regulator decides the findings do not represent any risk to the safety of the unit.

The tests on Doel 1 and 2 will form part of the investigation into the safety assessment of a possible 10-year lifetime extension.

Doel 1 shut down in February 2015 when it reached the end of its 40-year operating life. Doel 2 is scheduled to close for a maintenance outage on 17 October and has an operating licence until 31 March 2016. The lifetime extension project has been endorsed by Belgium's parliament.

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