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Oil leak causes shutdown at Belgian nuclear power station

11 August 2014

Belgian energy company Electrabel, part of the French GDF Suez group, said it had shut down its Doel 4 nuclear reactor after a lubricant leak, thought to have been caused by  a worker leaving open a valve. FANC, the country’s nuclear regulator, said the incident had no impact on the safety of workers or the public.

Stock image
Stock image

FANC nevertheless said that it is investigating the precise circumstances behind the event in conjunction with local legal authorities.

This means that three of the country’s seven reactors are now shut down.Two other Belgian nuclear reactors - Doel 3 and Tihange 2 -have been closed for testing since 2012 following the discovery of cracks in steel reactor casings.

Reuters estimates that just over 3 gigawatt (GW) of nuclear capacity is offline, more than half of Belgium's nuclear capacity of 5.7 GW, which can generate almost 50 terrawatt hours (TWh) of electricity per year, meeting over half of Belgium's annual electricity demand of around 90 TWh.

The country is likely to make up the difference by importing more gas by pipeline from Norway and LNG from Qatar.

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