Who inspects ENGIE Electrabel in its capacity as a power station operator?

The performance and security of Belgium's nuclear power stations are closely monitored by many independent bodies. It is the most inspected industry in the world. The Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (AFCN/FANC) continually monitors the safe operation of nuclear power stations. Inspectors from the inspection agency Bel V (a subsidiary of AFCN/FANC) have permanent access to the site and all documents and reports.

 

In addition, the Doel and Tihange nuclear power stations are also regularly audited externally by insurance companies, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO). A great many internal audit services also oversee safety and security. The Doel and Tihange nuclear power stations are subjected to around 50 audits per year, i.e. an average of one per week. All information is exchanged globally. This enables us to continually learn from the experience and good practices of other nuclear power stations. We aim to continuously improve on the basis of shared ideas.

What is the role of the Belgian federal government?

Inspecting Belgium's nuclear facilities is the responsibility of the Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (AFCN/FANC), a public service institution overseen by the Minister of Foreign Affairs. The AFCN/FANC ensures that the population and environment are efficiently protected from the danger of ionising radiation. The AFCN/FANC's status gives the institution a large degree of independence, which it requires in order to be able to impartially meet its responsibilities to society.

 

For ongoing inspections of nuclear sites, the AFCN/FANC calls on the services of its technical subsidiary Bel V. Like the AFCN/FANC, Bel V has unrestricted and permanent access to the Doel and Tihange nuclear power stations.

What does the IAEA do?

The International Atomic Energy Agency is an independent intergovernmental organisation under the aegis of the United Nations. The IAEA develops standards for nuclear safety and promotes, on the basis of these standards, efforts to achieve and maintain a high level of safety in the applications of nuclear energy, as well as protecting human health and the environment from ionising radiation. As the number of nuclear facilities in the world grew, the IAEA expanded its activities to include services that are most closely connected with our own operation: the IAEA put together international teams that not only examined documents, but also conducted on-site visits to ascertain that the safety of nuclear facilities was ensured in everyday practice. This led to the creation of OSART (Operational Safety Review Team). The Doel and Tihange nuclear power stations have been visited multiple times by an OSART team.

What is the WANO?

The WANO (World Association of Nuclear Operators) is an association of all the world's nuclear operators. The purpose of the organisation is to maximise the safety and reliability of nuclear power stations. This is done by exchanging information and encouraging communication, by encouraging healthy competition between its members and by comparing them to each other.