The Belgian Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (Fanc) has given its approval  for the replacement of the part of the pipeline at Doel 1 where a leak had occurred in April. The work had begun in the meantime. Research into the cause of the leak is still being completed. 

When operator Engie Electrabel diagnosed the leak in Doel 1’s cooling water circuit the reactor was shut down and schedule repair and maintenance was brought forward. Subsequently, Doel 2 was also shut down, as planned, for routine maintenance and to inspect the similar pipelines. Fanc said inspections are still under way of a second pipe in the same cooling circuit of Doel 1 and of two similar pipes at Doel 2. Engie Electrabel has decided to also carry out preventive replacement work on the Doel 2 pipelines. Fanc said this is being prepared and is not yet approved.  

Doel 1&2 are both 433MW pressurised water reactors. Engie said on 7 November that the two Doel reactors will restart on schedule in December. Doel 3&4 are different models of power reactor and were not affected by the problem. 

Meanwhile, unplanned outages at Belgian nuclear reactors are expected to impact Engie’s total annual earnings by €600m, and the plants’ technical availability “is now expected at 52% for 2018”, Engie said. Six of Belgium’s seven reactors are currently offline, for various reasons. Unit 1 at the Tihange NPP is offline for maintenance and refuelling, but approved for restart; Tihange 2&3 and Doel 4 are offline because of concrete degradation issues. Only Doel 3 is operating.

Photo: Doel 3 is currently the only reactor operating in Belgium