Engie shuts Belgian nuclear reactor due to alternator problem

BRUSSELS, Jan 3 (Reuters) - Electrabel, the Belgian arm of French group Engie, shut down the Doel 1 nuclear reactor in northern Belgium late on Saturday because of a problem with an alternator.

Engie’s website said that the 433 megawatt Doel 1 reactor had been stopped from about 6 p.m. (1700 GMT) on Saturday, adding that it was provisionally seen restarting at 11 p.m. on Sunday.

An Electrabel spokeswoman said that experts were at the site and that the restart time was the best estimate available.

“There is a problem with the alternator. It’s in the non-nuclear part of the plant,” she said.

The smaller and older Doel 1 and 2 reactors were to have been decommissioned this year, but the government and Engie agreed a 10-year extension at the start of December. Doel 1 was originally stopped for good in February, but restarted last month.

Electrabel has also shut the larger 1,006 megawatt Doel 3 reactor on Dec. 25 due to a water leak. It is seen resuming operations on Jan. 6.

Electrabel operates seven Belgian nuclear reactors, four in Doel and three in Tihange, with a total capacity of some 6,000 megawatts, covering about 55 percent of electricity consumption in Belgium.

EDF Luminus, majority-owned by France’s EDF, also has rights to a small share of the country’s nuclear power output.

Belgium plans to decommission all its nuclear plants by 2025. (Reporting By Philip Blenkinsop, editing by William Hardy)