Belgium’s Doel 1 nuclear power plant was disconnected from the grid yesterday, 15 February, after 40 years of operation.

Operator Electrabel announced last week that the plant would be shut down, but said that discussions on possible life extension of Doel 1&2 were underway with the government.

In December, Belgian authorities agreed that the two units, both pressurised water reactors, could continue to operate for an additional ten years to 2025, subject to approval from the Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (FANC).

Electrabel said it is participating ‘constructively’ in discussions while recalling the need to define a clear legal and economic framework to consider investing the 600 to 700 million euro needed to extend Doel’s operating life.

In Belgium, unlike other countries, the operating lifetime of a nuclear plant is currently limited to 40 years by law, except for Tihange 1, which has received a ten-year lifetime extension to operate until 2025.

Doel is the first Belgian nuclear plant to reach 40 years of operation. Since it started up in February 1975, Doel 1 has generated 127TWh of electricity and has achieved an average availability of 89%.

Photo: Four-unit Doel nuclear plant (Credit: Electrabel)