The Engie Electrabel energy company fears it may have to do without three nuclear reactors in winter 2019-2020, according to an 11-January letter consulted by Le Soir. “We cannot rule out that simultaneous stoppages at Tihange 1, Doel 1 and Doel 2 may be prolonged and/or recur beyond the year 2019 and into 2020,” Electrabel CEO Philippe Van Troeye said in the letter, addressed to Energy Minister Marie-Christine Marghem (Reformist Movement).
Production at the three reactors had hitherto been scheduled to be suspended in the second half of 2019 to allow for maintenance work needed to keep them in activity through to 2025.
According to the official calendar, the maintenance work should have ended on 28 November 2019 for Tihange, 20 December 2019 for Doel 2 and 27 December 2019 for Doel 1.
Electrabel’s letter now casts doubt on the feasibility of the original timelines.
Minister Marghem could constitute a strategic reserve to offset the potential energy shortfall. However, Le Soir learned that she has just decided not to contract any reserve for winter 2019-2020. The reserve can be reviewed up to September.