Belgium’s Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (FANC) maintains its position that the safety of the Tihange 2 and Doel 3 nuclear reactors is guaranteed, a spokesman for the nuclear watchdog stated on Friday. “The safety of these two reactors is guaranteed,” Sylvain Jonckheere said. His statement came after a delegation of citizens’ associations handed over a petition with half-a-million signatures to FANC to press for the closure of the two fissured reactors.
“We received the delegation to ensure transparency,” Jonckheere said. “Our discussions were constructive and we heard the fears expressed; but our position remains the same: the Tihange 2 and Doel 3 reactors can be used in all safety.”
The fissures in the walls of Doel 3 and Tihange 2 were discovered in 2012. This led to the temporary closure of the two reactors operated by Engie Electrabel. After an investigation, the FANC gave them the green light to resume operations.
“This process is long,” Jonckheere said. “We have studied all the hypotheses, including the criticisms by certain experts. To this date there is no new element that justifies questioning our conclusions.”
On Friday morning, a delegation of many anti-nuclear groups submitted to the FANC a petition signed by half a million persons. The mainly Belgian, Dutch and German signatories called for the immediate closure of the fissured plants. They said there was no proof that the reactors had the same level of safety as the others.
They also called on the FANC to sit at a table with experts of the International Nuclear Risk Assessment Group (INRAG).
“We have taken their request into consideration and shall examine it internally,” Jonckheere said.