Doel 2 nuclear reactor unexpectedly shuts down due to falling control rod

Doel 2 nuclear reactor unexpectedly shuts down due to falling control rod
The nuclear power plan in Doel. Credit: Belga/Dirk Waem

On Thursday morning, the Doel 2 nuclear reactor unexpectedly shut down after one of the control rods at the top of the reactor fell off.

Control rods are used in nuclear reactors to control the rate of fission of nuclear fuel (uranium or plutonium). It is not yet clear how the rod could have fallen but there is no security risk, said operator Engie.

"The control rod control system short-circuited causing one to fall down. After that, an automatic stop occurred," high-voltage grid operator Elia told VRT.

It is not clear how long Doel 2 will be unavailable, or whether the security of supply will be compromised. It is one of the smaller nuclear reactors, with a capacity that is approximately half that of the larger Doel 4 reactor and the reactors in Tihange.

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Earlier this week, the Tihange 3 nuclear reactor also shut down unexpectedly due to a drop in pressure in one of the generators and will be out of service until mid-October at the earliest.

Additionally, the Doel 3 nuclear reactor was closed as planned at the end of September as part of Belgium's nuclear phase-out, despite intense media coverage and political disagreements focusing on a potential postponement.


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