Belgium’s oldest nuclear reactor fires up for 10-year extension

Wednesday 30th, December 2015 / 22:21 Written by
Belgium’s oldest nuclear reactor fires up for 10-year extension

BRUSSELS: Belgium’s oldest nuclear reactor was restarted early on Wednesday following a 10-month outage, its operator said, under a scheme prolonging the life span of the 40-year-old power plant until 2025.
Technical problems with Belgium’s ageing nuclear plants have created tensions with neighbouring Germany, which is moving toward clean and sustainable energy sources and has passed legislation that requires the closure of all its commercial nuclear reactors by 2022.
The Doel 1 nuclear reactor, which is situated near the border with the Netherlands, first went online in 1975.
It was switched off in February, when its 40-year operational license expired.
Earlier this year, however, the government decided to delay the decommissioning of Doel 1 and another reactor at the plant, Doel 2,by 10 years.
More than half of Belgium’s electricity is generated by the four-reactor Doel plant in northern Belgium and the three-reactor Tihange plant in the east, near the German border.
Doel 1 was switched on at around 6:15 am (0515 GMT) on Wednesday, a spokeswoman for Electrabel said.
It will take around two days to reach full capacity. Almost 300 people were involved in bringing the plant back online. Doel 2 has been running again since December 24.
Another reactor at the site, Doel 3, was switched off for nearly two years due to safety concerns.
It was fired back up on December 21, but was taken offline again days later due to a water leak.
Doel 3, which dates back to 1982, is expected to be operational again from around January 6, after repairs have been carried out, the Electrabel spokeswoman said.— dpa