26 Mar (NucNet): The Doel-3 and Tihange-2 nuclear reactor units in Belgium were shut down today after tests related to the reactor pressure vessels (RPVs) showed “unexpected results”, Electrabel, a subsidiary of French energy company GDF Suez and operator of the stations, said.
Tests carried out at Belgium’s nuclear research reactor BR-2 in Mol consisted of accelerated irradiation of a test block with the same composition and properties as the Doel-3 and Tihange-2 RPVs.
According to Electrabel, the tests produced “unexpected results” regarding the mechanical resistance of the material.
Electrabel said it decided to stop operations at both units today as a precaution and to run further tests.
The results of the tests are expected on 15 June 2014 and the reactors will not be restarted before that, Electrabel said.
Doel-3 is scheduled to be decommissioned in 2022 and Belgium plans to close all its nuclear reactors by 2025.
There are seven reactor units in commercial operation in Belgium, four at Doel and three at Tihange. Together, they generate about 55 percent of the country’s electricity.
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