Police call for witnesses to identify man suspected of sabotaging nuclear reactor

Police call for witnesses to identify man suspected of sabotaging nuclear reactor

Police are calling on the public to assist in the identification of the man suspected of sabotaging a reactor in the Doel nuclear power plant which caused a months-long shutdown, more than five years after the facts.

Federal prosecutors have released a composite portrait of the man suspected of tampering with one of the reactor's turbines, prompting the shutdown of the Doel 4 reactor for more than five months.

On 5 August 2014, a valve in the reactor was deliberately opened, causing thousands of litres of oil to leak and the reactor to overheat.

The incident kept the reactor offline until the end of 2014, severely straining Belgium's overall energy-production capacity and costing more than €100 million in repairs.

Police have uncovered a string of evidence showing how the sabotage was carried out, including certain clues about the profile of the suspected culprit, whom they say could've been assisted by others.

"The person who pulled the lever must be an employee or a subcontractor of Engie," prosecutors said in an online statement, referring to Belgium's leading energy producer. "It is, in any case, someone who had access to the technical zone."

After the years-long investigation failed to deliver concrete clues about the person or persons responsible, police said that dozens of people had already called in with tips following the release of the portrait on 5 November.

"It's a white man who was wearing dark clothes and glasses, which could have been security googles," the prosecutors' statement read.

Anyone who recognises themselves in the description of the facts, "even if they have nothing to do with the facts," is asked to contact police, as it would help the investigation move forward.

Gabriela Galindo

The Brussels Times

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