Reactor at Tihange nuclear power plant knocked offline

Reactor at Tihange nuclear power plant knocked offline
Tihange represents about 15% of total electricity production capacity in Belgium. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

The primary reactor at the Tihange nuclear power plant broke down unexpectedly on Sunday morning, nuclear operator Engie confirmed. Shortly before 11:00, one of the plant's reactors went into automatic standby due to a problem with one of its two steam turbines. Elia rules out any threat to the security of supply.

The shutdown, Engie explained, is the result of a safety mechanism which is activated in the event of a technical failure in one of the turbines. The source of the problem has yet to be identified.

Engie hopes to relaunch the nuclear power plant on Tuesday, but this date may change “depending on the technical analyses” carried out by the operator.

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“Security of supply is not at all compromised,” network operator Elia assured. “At the moment, the production capacity is particularly large and can completely cover the demand, In the short term, the situation should not pose a problem."

In November, the Tihange nuclear power plant was briefly closed due to health and safety concerns by the Federal Agency for Nuclear Control, who have since put the plant under tighter supervision.

The problems were said to be "not dramatic in themselves but.. not permissible at a nuclear plant." Increased monitoring and inspections have been in place at the plant since mid-October and will end in February 2023.

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