4 Jun (NucNet): GDF Suez’s Belgian subsidiary Electrabel successfully restarted the Doel-3 nuclear reactor at approximately 18:00 local time yesterday and is preparing to restart Tihange-2 tomorrow morning.
Electrabel confirmed that Doel-3 was brought back into commercial operation on 3 June with a delay of several hours due to “a starting issue”.
The company said Tihange-2 will remain offline until its planned restart at 10:00 local time on 5 June, but added delays to the restart process are possible.
Both units have been out of commercial operation since 2012 because of issues relating to flaws in their reactor pressure vessels (RPVs).
Plans began for the restart of the two units when the Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (FANC) said last month it considered both reactors to be safe.
FANC told NucNet today that it was overseeing the restart process, but that it was “a standard procedure”.
FANC said it will carry out a new inspection of Doel-3 and Tihange-2 at the end of the first fuel cycle to ensure that the reactors are operating normally.
In September 2012 an inspection of Doel-3 confirmed the presence of a large number of flaws in the upper and lower shell rings of the RPV. Electrabel said the flaws were probably due to fabrication defects.
The flaws in the Doel-3 RPV were originally suspected in August 2012 and at that point the unit was shut down for inspection. As a precaution, Belgium’s six other commercially operational reactors were also checked for RPV flaws.
Later in September FANC said there were indications of similar flaws in the Tihange-2 RPV.
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