In 2018, Belgium’s seven nuclear reactors worked on average 50.5% of the time, according to data collected by Le Soir and published on Thursday. The reactors at the Doel and Tihange plants never worked simultaneously last year, according to the statistics collected by Le Soir, which measured the availability of the country’s nuclear capacity. There were even 30 days in October and November on which there was just one operational reactor, Doel 3. Belgium could then no longer supply its consumers and had to rely on its Dutch, French and German neighbours.
The low level of availability was almost as bad as in 2015, a terrible year for the nuclear sector, when the rate fell below the symbolic bottom-line of 50%, whereas availability levels topped 80% in 2016 and 2017.
Le Soir’s statistics reflect the days the reactors worked and those on which they did not, making a distinction between planned and unexpected stoppages.