The first findings of the investigation into the fire at a high voltage sub-station at the Tihange 3 power plant reveal no ill-intentioned human intervention. “Early conclusions are putting forward a technical cause”, explained Geetha Keyart, spokesperson for Electrabel, on Sunday. It seems this was not the result of an act of sabotage, as was the case at the Doel 4 reactor, which has been inactive since August. The fire, affecting a transformer, automatically interrupted all activity at Tihange 3. No-one knows when it will be restarted.
A GDF Suez press release sent to Belga explains that safety mechanisms stopped power plant activity when the fault was first discovered. “Safety procedures worked perfectly, and unit 3 at Tihange is therefore in a hot soak phase.”
Electrabel insists that the incident has had “no effect on nuclear safety or on the safety of power plant employees or local inhabitants.”
Contrary to initial reports, the fire was still active at 1:30pm, but contained. “Firefighters on site will not intervene until the high voltage installation is securely secured.”Electrabel also confirms that the fire is under control and that there is no risk of it spreading to other equipment.
Technicians were sent on site to determine the cause of the fire and to prepare the site for repair works. Inspectors from AFCN (Federal Agency for Nuclear Control) are also present to check that all procedures are followed to the letter, said AFCN itself.