The Belgian nuclear safety authority yesterday announced that it is postponing a decision on the restart of two reactors (Doel 3 and Tihange 2) that were shut down over the summer due to the discovery of fissures in their cores. The authority has asked for more information before any decision to reopen the damaged reactors can be taken. Last week, a study commissioned by the Greens/EFA group (1) underlined some of the outstanding safety issues (notably steel deficiencies) that have not been addressed with the two reactors, with Greens/EFA co-president Rebecca Harms calling on the Belgian authorities to address these issues before approving any restart. Commenting on the latest announcement, Rebecca Harms said:
"The decision by the Belgian authorities is the only option given the available evidence. These risky reactors cannot be restarted so long as doubts persist about their safety, notably as regards defects in the steel used in the core and the risk of the fissures continuing to grow.
"The whole situation is unfortunately still plagued by a lack of transparency, with vital documents having been withheld so far. There is a need for all documents and test reports to be brought into the public domain. EU energy commissioner Günter Oettinger and EU governments must put pressure on the Belgian authorities to ensure full transparency and that the very real concerns about the safety of these reactors are addressed.
"The issue raises wider implications for the EU. The next step must be to assess which other reactors in the EU require further fundamental testing in light of the problems uncovered in the steel of the reactors in Tihange and Doel."
1) Study by Dr. Ilse Tweer can be found at the following URL (pdf):