All Belgian nuclear reactors up and running after glitches, outages

A defect-afflicted Belgian nuclear reactor came back online Wednesday after almost two years of outages, meaning that the country's seven reactors were all producing energy for the first time since March 2014, according to the Belga news agency.

The Doel 3 nuclear reactor, which is located near the border with the Netherlands and dates back to 1982, resumed work at around 1 pm (1200 GMT), Belga reported. It is expected to reach full capacity by Friday.

The reactor had been offline since March 2014 due to safety concerns and was fired up again on December 21, but was switched off again days later due to a water leak.

Belgium's oldest nuclear reactor, Doel 1, was also restarted last week after a 10-month outage. It dates back to 1975 and was supposed to be decommissioned after 40 years, but has been granted an extra 10-year life span, along with a second reactor at the site.

More than half of Belgium's electricity is generated by the four-reactor Doel plant in northern Belgium and a three-reactor plant at Tihange in the east, near the German border.

Technical problems with Belgium's ageing nuclear plants have created tensions with neighbouring Germany, which is moving toward clean and sustainable energy sources and has passed legislation that requires the closure of all its commercial nuclear reactors by 2022.

Although all of Belgium's reactors were built at least 30 years ago, they are not among the oldest in operation in Europe.

Last update: Wed, 06/01/2016 - 17:22
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