2 Oct (NucNet): Belgium’s nuclear regulator has extended the commercial operating licences of the Doel-1 and Doel-2 nuclear reactor units by 10 years until 2025, a statement said today.
The Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (Fanc) said it had reviewed an action plan submitted in April by operator Electrabel and concluded that both units could be operated safely over the next decade, beyond their original 40-year lifetimes.
Fanc said the Doel-1 licence has been extended until 15 February 2025 and the Doel-2 licence until 1 December 2025, both extensions of 10 years.
The action plan detailed actions Electrabel will undertake to ensure the safe operation of the two reactors. Fanc said the action plan incorporated elements related to the modernisation and management of aging facilities. It also established a timetable and gave a priority level for the various actions.
Based on an initial assessment, Fanc gave preliminary approval to the action plan in July. Since then, Fanc said it had analysed the action plan in depth and concluded that the proposed modernisation programme for both units is feasible.
Doel-1 was shut down when its operating licence expired on 15 February 2015 and it reached its 40-year lifetime. Doel-2 will reach the end of its 40-year lifetime in December 2015.
In December 2014, the Belgian federal government agreed to extend the operating lifetimes of Doel-1 and Doel-2.
Both units are Westinghouse two-loop pressurised water reactor units with a net electrical capacity of 433 megawatts each. They began operation in February and December 1975.
Belgium has seven commercial nuclear reactor units, but two of them, Doel-3 and Tihange-2, have been inoperative since March 2014 due to defects found on their reactor pressure vessels.
Doel-3 and Tihange-2 are both scheduled to close when they reach the end of their 40-year lives in 2022 and 2023, with Doel-4, Tihange-1 – which has already been given a 10-year life extension – and Tihange-3 closing in 2025.
According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, 48 percent of Belgium’s electricity came from nuclear power in 2014.
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