After Doel 3, it will be the turn of the Tihange 2 nuclear reactor on Tuesday to be permanently disconnected from the power grid, after a career that lasted exactly forty years.
The nuclear reactor at Huy, Liège, on the banks of the River Meuse, was commissioned in 1983. The power plant – operated by Inge Electrabel – with a capacity of 1,008 megawatts produced enough electricity in all those years to supply Belgium with electricity for three years.
During all those years, the power station was also closed for a long time. Cracks were discovered in 2012 in the steel walls of reactor vessels at Doel 3 and Tihange 2. Both plants have been dubbed “crack factories”. In fact, it has to do with hydrogen flakes in steel. In 2013, Tihange 2 was allowed to restart, only to be decommissioned again a few months later as a precaution. It wasn’t until 2015 that a final reboot followed, after extensive research and a green light from the IAEA FANC.
An unexpected major halt followed in August 2018, after deteriorating concrete was noted in the construction of the vault. The reactor has been shut down for about a year.
The second reactor
On Tuesday, January 31st at 11:59 p.m. after a career of forty years, Tihange 2 will finally be retired, in accordance with the Nuclear Off Act. Then the factory will not produce electricity
Antoine Assis, director of the Tiang reactors, assures that the final separation will take place in complete safety. After the closure, another job will be provided for the nearly a hundred people working in Tihange 2. Some will continue to work for dismantling, and others can work in Tihange 1 and 3. “There are no jobs lost,” the manager assures.
Just like in the case of Doel, the finale will also be a difficult moment for the staff at Tihange. “It gets emotional,” said Tihange CEO.
years of work
As before for Doel 3, decommissioning Tihange 2 costs around €1 billion. This money comes from nuclear provisions. A total of €6.3 billion has been earmarked for the decommissioning of the seven reactors.
After, so to speak, the plug was pulled from Tihange 2, mountains and years of work remained. There is still the final shutdown phase, which could last until 2027. This includes reactor unloading. This is followed by a real decommissioning and conventional demolition planned for 2037.
This makes it the second reactor in our country to be permanently disconnected from the grid. In September last year, Doel 3 was disconnected forever, and starting from February 1, we will have to make do with the five remaining nuclear reactors. These power plants normally shut down in 2025, but for Doel 4 and Tihange 3 a ten-year extension is provided, following an agreement between the government and operator Engie Electrabel.
interview. Energy Minister Tini van der Straeten: “Don’t tell me I’m late. I made the switch when it was necessary.” (+)
The federal government and Angie come to an agreement on Doel 4 and Tihange 3, but whether the light will definitely stay on with this is still the question. (+)
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