Belgium believes there may be more possible cracks in nuclear reactors

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The president of the Federal Agency for Nuclear Control in Belgium (AFCN), Willy De Roovere, said in an interview published today by the Flemish newspaper “De Morgen” the probability that the central Tihange have problems similar to those of Doel is “more than 50 percent.”

“I seem surprising that there was nothing,” said De Roovere.

The second reactor vessel from the central Tihange is similar to that of Doel 3 and was built in the 70’s by the same Dutch company, “Rotterdamsche Droogdok Maatschappij”.

That company, now defunct, manufactured items used in nuclear power plants around the world including Spanish Garoña, in Burgos, and Cofrentes in Valencia, although in many cases is completely different constructions, according authorities have made clear.

The anomalies detected in Doel 3 with novel ultrasound tests show evidence of thousands of small cracks in the reactor vessel, a problem that Belgium does not know whether to the manufacturing process of the structure or deficiencies in the steel used.

If ultimately it is the second stage, “the problem would be greater,” he has said of Roovere to “De Morgen”, as it could affect all reactors of the same generation.

“This is a global problem,” said the head of the AFCN, who has relied on all countries with similar facilities to conduct inspections, especially if the review of Tihange 2 shows that repeat deficiencies Doel 3.

Belgium gave details of their findings to other countries at a meeting of experts held last Thursday in Brussels with the participation of Spain, U.S., France, Switzerland, Sweden, Holland, Germany and the UK.

The AFCN has convened another meeting of this type for October, when he hopes to make known the results of further tests being carried out in Doel 3 and more information on the status of another reactor under suspicion.

Belgium also plans to review the rest of its nuclear facilities soon, since it considers that it is possible that the cracks are given also in vessels made by other companies.

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