The Belgian nuclear watchdog cleared two nuclear reactors to restart operations since they were shut down last year.
The Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (FANC) approved operator Electrabel to restart operations at its 1,000 MW-each Tihange 2 and Doel 3 reactors in Belgium. The units were shut down in summer 2012 after error indications were found in the steel core tanks during a maintenance outage. Further inspections showed there were hydrogen bubbles left in the material in the manufacture of the reactor vessel rings that were then flat-rolled into hydrogen flakes.
FANC gave Electrabel permission to restart in May 2013, but Electrabel had to complete a series of additional safety checks approximately one year after the restart. In March 2014, the operator said another test provided unexpected results, and both units were shut down again as a precaution.
FANC decided Nov. 17 that Electrabel showed the hydrogen flakes have no adverse impact on plant operations and safety and approved their restart. Doel 3 is set to operate until the end of its lifecycle on October 1, 2022 and February 1, 2023 for Tihange 2.
Subscribe to Nuclear Power International magazine