Press release:

Work on Doel 1 will take longer than expected.
On the other hand, Tihange 3 could come back quicker than expected if Electrabel’s proposed action methodology is accepted by the AFCN.
Tihange 1 restarted on November 12, ahead of schedule.

Belgian nuclear reactors continue to gradually come back to the network. After the restart of Tihange 1 this Monday, November 12, five days days ahead of schedule, Doel 4 should restart as scheduled on December 15, according to current estimates. Indeed, civil works on Doel 4’s concrete continues, with around one hundred professionals mobilized 7 days a week and almost 24 hours a day. Electrabel does remind us that the restart of the operations is dependent on the AFCN’s (Agence Fédérale de Contrôle Nucléaire) approval.

In addition to Tihange 1 and Doel 3, Doel 4 should be on the network by mid-December.

As for Doel 1 and Doel 2, major improvements to the units’ design and efficiency were scheduled for 2018. Theses works made it possible to further strengthen the safety level of these twin units, with a capacity of each 440 MW. In addition to these works, the inspections on the primary circuit of Doel 1 and Doel 2 are done using a specially designed multi-sensor robot for the inspection campaign of these units. On November 2, the AFCN approved the replacement of the section of the pipe that was involved in Doel 1’s leak. The operations on Doel 1 revealed that a larger section of these pipes had to be repaired. Such work is complex and is combined with particularly demanding qualification tests. Consequently, in the current state of the investigations that are being carried out under the AFCN’s supervision, Electrabel considers that the time required to carry out the work extends Doel 1’s unavailability to December 10, 2018 to January 31, 2019.

Based on the feedback received from Doel 1, additional controls will be done on Doel 2 in the coming weeks. At this point in time, the restart estimate for Doel 2 remains set at December 31.

Regarding Tihange 3, Electrabel has submitted an adapted action methodology to the AFCN. This methodology would allow Tihange 3 be back on the network in January. It consists of completing all concrete work to meet the safety requirements and to completely replace non-critical concrete structures in phases. If the AFCN were to approve this action methodology, Tihange 3 could be back online in January (Tihange 3’s current estimated restart date is March 2, 2019).

In order to manage the tense situation in the local electricity production and to fulfill its obligations towards its two million customers, Electrabel has deployed, since September, exceptional measures which freed up an additional 1,000 megawatts of local capacities. These measures are:
  • The restart of Vilvoorde’s gas power station, which had been stopped since 2014 after an agreement with the owner, EMGB (255 megawatts)
  • The optimization of the thermal park’s efficiency (100 megawatts)
  • The installation of additional mobile units at Electrabel’s production sites (255 megawatts)
  • The management of the demand from industrial customers (540 megawatts) 
The ENGIE Group’s thermal and hydraulic power stations in France, the Netherlands and Germany have also been activated.

The nuclear park’s safety is Electrabel’s top priority. The company and its staff are fully mobilized to efficiently and quickly carry out the work required by the Safety authority.

Depending on the elements available, Electrabel, a responsible company, communicates to the market, but also to its customers, in a transparent way, particularly via the website

Press contacts ENGIE Electrabel:

Anne-Sophie Hugé (fr)
Tel.: + 32 2 518 60 20

Hellen Smeets (nl)
Tel.: +32 2 519 51 69