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Thursday, February 7, 2013

FANC Approves Electrabel / GDF Suez Action Plan

Briefly, for FANC (the Belgian nuclear regulator) has not made an official release on the web yet, it has been reported several places today (such as here) that FANC has approved the GDF plan for testing submitted in response to FANC requests.  Once these tests are complete, the present "Provisional Evaluation Report" on the Doel Unit 3 and Tihange Unit 2 will be replaced by a "Final Evaluation Report," to contain the final decision on whether or not to permit power operation of the reactors.

The retest plans were submitted by Electrabel as response to a request for information by FANC on January 15. 

FANC has made a number of "Requirements" for Electrabel to demonstrate various proofs concerning the vessels and their testing, which according to today's reports could be finished by the end of March.

The FANC interim report points out, in terms of how the hydrogen flaking appears in these two vessels made by Rotterdam Dockyard (and apparently appears in none others made by that firm) that the "Potential root cause factors among others are a cooling of the ingot to room-temperature before forging (as a result of the transport of the ingot from Krupp to RDM) or an inadequate heat treatment."

The statement has already been made by FANC that nothing it has seen so far indicates that permanent shutdown of these reactors is warranted.  Assuming that Electrabel properly and completely meets the testing requirements (which include a fair number of further observations and tests for maximum safety assurances) there is no reason why these plants cannot be back in service before mid-year.

Atomic Power Review has reported on this story as recently as February 4; see link for details and background.

3:00 PM Eastern 2/7/2013

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