i on europe


Brussels blog by some wire service journalists

Belgian authorities share information with other countries on possible flaw in nuclear plant

Doel 3 nuclear facility


BRUSSELS — The head of Belgium’s nuclear regulatory agency said Thursday that a nuclear plant near Antwerp, where tests revealed possible hairline cracks in the vessel housing the reactor’s core, may never come online again.

Willy De Roovere made the comments after meeting in Brussels with technical experts from eight other countries, both to update them on the situation at the Doel 3 plant, which is north of Antwerp, and to exchange expertise on reactor vessel integrity and inspections. De Roovere leads Belgium’s Agence Federal de Controle Nucleaire, the Federal Agency for Nuclear Control.

The technical experts invited to the meeting came from the U.S., France, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Sweden and the U.K.

The possible cracks in the steel vessel _ “flaw indications,” De Roovere called them _ were revealed by ultrasonic tests this summer during a regular shutdown and safety inspection of the plant. He said such inspections are carried out on Belgian nuclear plants every 12-18 months and, in this case, worked exactly as intended.


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