June 10, 2018 / 10:48 AM / 3 months ago

Belgium's Doel 4 reactor closed by technical fault, seen reopening by Monday night

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Electrabel, the Belgian arm of French group Engie, shut down the Doel 4 nuclear reactor in northern Belgium on Saturday evening because of a technical defect in a non-nuclear part of one of the units, the power station said.

“Doel 4 was automatically shut down yesterday evening (9:30 pm) following a defect on the electronic steering (controls) of the turbine. We expect to go back in operation by tomorrow night,” Doel spokeswoman Nele Scheerlink said in an emailed statement.

Scheerlink told Belgian broadcaster VRT that there was never any danger to the facility, the local population or the surroundings.

With Doel’s other three units closed for maintenance, it means none of the power station’s four reactors is currently operating.

“An automatic shutdown of a nuclear reactor is expected to happen once per year. That is the worldwide average. The fact that we had an automatic shutdown yesterday is thus not unusual nor abnormal. It was the first automatic shutdown we had this year, on a total of 4 reactors,” Scheerlink said.

Electrabel operates seven nuclear reactors in Belgium, four at Doel and three at Tihange, producing about half the country’s electricity. Doel accounts for 15 percent of Belgian output.

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Adrian Croft

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