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Friday, January 18, 2013

FANC decides to request information on Doel / Tihange vessel situation

FANC, the Belgian regulator, has postponed making a final decision on the restart of Doel-3 and Tihange-2, even after having received what it calls an honest and thorough document from Electrabel.  FANC has made a press release in English; below is the text of the release.


Doel 3 and Tihange 2: the FANC requests more information from Electrabel

In the light of the detection, last summer, of flaw indications in the basic steel material of the Doel 3 and Tihange 2 reactor vessels, the FANC requested Electrabel to draw up a justification file in this respect. This file was submitted to the FANC on 5 December 2012.

The FANC asked its technical subsidiary Bel V and the certified organisation for inspection of pressure equipment, AIB-Vinçotte, to assess the file. The Agency also called upon the experts of the regulators of several other countries to conduct a thorough analysis of the Electrabel file.

Given the exceptional nature of the file, and the Agency’s intention to increase the scientific contribution to the analysis as much as possible, the FANC also asked several expert groups to study this file:

1) A group of international experts, presided by professor Labeau;

2) A group of Belgian professors that was mandated by the Scientific Council for Ionising Radiation.

The FANC emphasizes that the licensee has performed a profound piece of work and that the information was given in all transparency. The reports are of excellent quality.

At this very moment, the FANC sees no elements that would have to lead to a permanent shutdown of the nuclear power plants. Nevertheless, it has asked for additional information from the licensee before it can make a recommendation on a potential restart. Only when having examined all the data, the FANC will be able to determine whether the safety margin remained intact.

As already announced on 7 August last, the FANC intends to examine all the analyses before formulating any recommendations, in line with its mission of controlling the safety of nuclear power plants.

That is why the FANC asked Electrabel to provide more information in the coming weeks and to perform some extra tests.


For background on this matter, see my previous post which covers Electrabel's proposal to restart the reactors (from December 21, 2012) and which contains links back to the beginning of this investigation.

1:05 PM Eastern 1/18/2013

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