i on europe


Brussels blog by some wire service journalists

Belgian official says possible new cracks in reactor vessels unrelated to those found in 1979

The Doel 3 nuclear reactor


BRUSSELS (AP) — Cracks in the steel reactor vessels of two nuclear plants in Belgium were found in 1979, three years before they came online, but they are unrelated to possible cracks discovered this summer, a spokeswoman for the country’s nuclear regulatory agency said Thursday.

Belgium’s nuclear regulator announced this month that ultrasonic tests showed possible hairline cracks in the vessel housing the reactor at the Doel 3 nuclear plant near Antwerp. The plant was offline for a regular safety check, and it has yet to be determined whether it will ever go online again.

The Federal Agency for Nuclear Control also ordered the shutdown of the Tihange 2 reactor, 90 kilometers (55 miles) southeast of Brussels, for checks because it had a vessel manufactured by the same company.

De Morgen newspaper reported Thursday that its archives showed it had reported that cracks were found in the reactor vessels of both plants 33 years ago. It quoted a 1980 article as saying, “question marks exist over small cracks in the inlet and outlet sections” of the reactor vessels. The paper also quoted a government official as telling the Senate in 1979 that there were possible cracks.


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