Belgium’s Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (FANC) has confirmed that there was a lack of maintenance on the concrete of a bunker at the Doel 3 nuclear plant by the operator, Engie Electrabel, as reported by Le Soir daily on Wednesday. The FANC did not mention a timeline for restarting the plant. FANC, known as the AFCN in French, reported that the operator had informed the agency in early October, when the reactor was due to be closed, that there was a problem with the concrete of the bunker. The FANC conducted inspections with its technical division, Bel-V, and is now waiting for Electrabel to resolve the problems identify to give the green light for the plant to resume operations.
Engie has recalled on its Internet transparency website that Doel 3 is closed until the 15th of April, but for the FANC, this date is not final. “As long as the state of the concrete has not improved, there will be no restart, so we cannot say anything about a timeline. We are in continuous consultation,” the agency said.
The reactor had been stopped because steam caused the concrete of a bunker in a non-nuclear part of the plant to deteriorate. The parts affected by the problem held the emergency system stock such as pumps or generators. This is “double” equipment that must be available in the event of an emergency. The concrete in the other reactors is reportedly at an acceptable level.