Unplanned Events

Tihange-2 / Belgian Regulator Approves Restart After Concrete Degradation Problems

By David Dalton
12 June 2019

Belgian Regulator Approves Restart After Concrete Degradation Problems
The Tihange nuclear station in Belgium. Photo courtesy Engie Electrabel.
Belgium’s nuclear regulator has approved the restart of the Tihange-2 nuclear power unit following work to resolve concrete degradation and stability issues in a bunkerised building that houses backup safety systems.

The Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (Fanc) approved the restart earlier this week. It said repair work had been carried out by operator Engie Electrabel and monitored by Fanc and its technical subsidiary Bel V.

“The Fanc now considers that it has sufficient guarantees for the reactor to be able to restart safely,” a statement said.

Engie Electrabel said the 1,008-MW pressurised water reactor unit, which began commercial operation in 2008, would return to service by the end of the month.

The issue first came to light in 2017 when, during planned shutdowns of the Tihange-3 and Doel-3 plants, Engie Electrabel noted deterioration in the concrete ceilings and walls of the bunkerised buildings. Similar concrete degradation issues were discovered at Tihange-2 and Doel-4. Tihange-3, Doel-3 and Doel-4 have all returned to service.

Seven Belgian nuclear reactors produce around half of the country’s electricity – three at Tihange near Liege and four at Doel near Antwerp.

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