Nuclear: Doel 3 and Tihange 2 cannot be extended for safety reasons

Nuclear: Doel 3 and Tihange 2 cannot be extended for safety reasons
Credit: Belga

Operations at the Tihange 2 and Doel 3 reactors cannot be extended for technical and safety reasons, Engie Electrabel, which runs Belgium’s nuclear power plants, said on Thursday.

The Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (FANC) has not commented on the issue since neither the government nor Engie has requested a risk analysis.

The Doel 3 power plant will be shut down on the night of September 23 to 24 in accordance with the nuclear phase-out law. Tihange 2 will close in February.

Calls have been made in Flanders, in particular by Flemish Minister for Energy Zuhal Demir, for the decision to be reviewed to guarantee the security of the country’s energy supply at a time when the Europe is bearing the brunt of the energy crisis spawned by the war in Ukraine.

Within the majority, the Mouvement Réformateur (MR) has already pleaded several times for an extension that goes beyond the two planned reactors.

Speaking in the Chamber on Thursday, Christian Leysen (Open Vld) called on the government to show “pragmatism”. “The boycott of Russian energy is turning against us,” he said.

Federal Energy Minister Tinne Van der Straeten, for her part, was evasive on the issue when queried by legislators. The government has asked all energy producers in the country to be on “maximum availability” this winter, but nuclear safety will always take precedence, she said.

Engie was asked earlier this month whether the Doel 3 and Tihange 2 reactors could be maintained until after winter, but the company said that solution could not be implemented for technical and safety reasons, an opinion confirmed by experts from Minister Van der Straeten’s office.

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