New cracks discovered at Belgian nuclear plant

Three years after its last inspection, new microfractures have been discovered at the Tihange nuclear power plant in Belgium.

Experts using ultrasonic technology found the latest cracks on the high pressure boiler at the facility, confirmed

by Belgian interior minister Jan Gambon, whose government added that the security of the plant was not threatened.

The more than 40-year-old nuclear power plant consists of three reactors, which have beenà‚ troubled by several shut downs and incidents due to maintenance and safety concerns. The original life span of Tihange was 30 years but plants such as this remain open as Belgium endeavours to build up alternative power sources and reduce its 39 per cent dependency on nuclear.
The cracks do not pose any danger to operations at the nuclear plants, says operator Engie-Electrabel, which carried out the inspections under instructions from the Belgian Atomic Regulatory Authority (FANC).

The operator said the new flaws were discovered due to aà‚ “different positioning of the ultrasound device.” Engie-Electrabel maintains that as long as cracks do not expand, they do not pose a danger to the reactor’s operations.

Tihange 2 a capacity of 1,008 MW. Its proximity to the German border has seen high level talks between both countries in terms of addressing safety concerns.

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