The European Commission has been involved in technical meetings organised by the Belgian regulators discussing the implications of the Doel 3 nuclear reactor for other reactors built by the same manufacturer.

Last year it came to light that the reactor in Belgium was found to have thousands of fractures, compromising its safety. It later emerged that the same company responsible for the development had also built plants throughout Europe.
Doel 3 nuclear power plant
Marko Kravos, Policy Officer with the European Commission, told Power Engineering International (PEi) that the Commission was continuing to participate in “expert groups set up to further analyse this issue. These working groups focus on non-destructive examination techniques, structural mechanics and fracture mechanics, and metallurgical origin/root causes of the flaw indications.”

Mr Kravos confirmed that inspections like those which took place at the Doel nuclear power plant were also carried out at Tihange-2, where similar flaws in the reactor pressure vessel (RPV) were detected, although they appear to be fewer than those at Doel-3.

“Furthermore, such inspections were carried out in 2012 at Ringhals-2 (Sweden) and Mühleberg and Leibstadt (Switzerland) and no anomalies were detected. In 2013, similar inspections will be held at Borssele (the Netherlands). Reactors in Germany and Spain which have RPVs from the same manufacturer will not be investigated as they have already been closed (for non-safety related reasons).”

The European Commission’s representative said the Commission also noted that the Belgian regulator has recently requested further information from the operator before releasing a recommendation on a potential restart of the two reactors (Doel-3 and Tihange-2).

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