Electrabel wants to communicate transparently on the ongoing revisions of its units.


At Doel 3, the Electrabel teams noticed during the inspections at the planned stop of the reactor that the concrete ceiling of the building adjacent to the reactor building needed to be repaired. This particular building contains the 2nd level security systems, which are only used if there is a problem with the 1st level systems. Analyses have shown that in these installations, located in the non-nuclear part of the plant, the state of the concrete could be weakened as a result of the hot and humid conditions. However, safety requirements foresee that the bunker buildings need to withstand an external event, such as the fall of an aircraft. The necessary actions are being taken and the restart is scheduled on August 1.


Since the observations at Doel 3, Electrabel has launched a preventive program for inspections and repair works at the other units.


The Doel 1, Doel 2 and Tihange 1 units have a different design than the other units. Here, the concrete is not an issue.


The planned revision of Tihange 3 is ongoing. In April 2018 Electrabel has also noticed a degradation of the concrete of the ceilings of the rooms sheltering outlet nozzles of the steam exhaust valves. A repair program has immediately been put in place.


During the inspections, the teams have scoured the damaged zones. This scouring has shown anomalies on the metallic structure of the reinforced concrete that were present since the construction of the building. It appears that some reinforcements elements of the concrete ceiling are not exactly positioned as shown on the blue prints. Pins of the metallic structure have most probably moved when the concrete was poured at the time of the construction.


The engineers of Electrabel are currently performing analyses and computations under the control of independent experts. These computations have to determine the impact of the non-conform positioning of these pins compared to the blue prints in case of external event such as the fall of an aircraft. This file will subsequently be handed to the Federal Nuclear Control Agency that will decide on the matter. The analyses are still ongoing and no conclusions may be drawn at this stage.


Electrabel reminds that nuclear safety is its top priority. The design of the Belgian units was qualified as very robust after the European stress tests. The margins that were used during the building of the units, are far higher than in neighboring countries. In case of doubt, the operator immediately shuts down the unit and the restart needs to be permitted by the Federal Nuclear Control Agency.


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