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Growing concern sin Europe over restarting aging Belgium nuclear stations

Concerns mount over reactivation of aging Belgian nuclear stations

German environment minister Barbara Hendricks is due to meet Belgian interior minister Jan Jambon in Brussels on Monday to express concern over the reactivation of two nuclear reactors which were shut down in 2012 because of safety concerns. Officials from the Netherlands and Luxembourg have also requested meetings over the decision to reboot the reactors. As of 1pm Belgian time on Monday, over 722,000 people had signed a petition on Avaaz, an activist website, entitled ‘Belgium: Stop the next Chernobyl’.
“Now it’s not a nuclear incident but maybe tomorrow it is. These worries are serious and this is why we are here, to give maximum transparency,” Dutch environment minister Melanie Schultz van Haegen told reporters on January 20 after inspecting the Doel plant, near the Dutch border.
 One of the reactors is part of the Doel plant; the other is part of the Tihange plant, which lies around an hour’s drive from Luxembourg and Germany. Both were taken offline in 2012, pending closer checks, after small cracks were found in their walls.
 Belgium’s nuclear watchdog approved their reactivation in December, and in mid-January it released a statement saying that tests had shown the cracks “do not pose an unacceptable safety risk”.
ays after being rebooted in December, the Doel reactor was shut down to fix a water leak. It has since been restarted again.
 Over the past two years a series of faults in non-nuclear parts of the two plants have led to temporary reactor shutdowns. In August 2014, for example, a different reactor at the Doel plant was taken offline because of an oil leak in the turbine hall.
 “There are concerns because of the age of the nuclear plant and the incidents that have been occurring,” Ms. van Haegen told reporters on January 20. But she added: “What the experts are telling me gives me the certainty at the moment that the Doel plant is safe.”

February 3, 2016 - Posted by | general

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