The emails predict a long period of analysis, evaluation and advice before a decision is made on the reopening of the reactor and stresses “rejecting further exploitation unless it is clearly demonstrated there is no risk. In the current state of the situation, it cannot be ruled out that Doel 3 may not reopen.” The reactor was due to close in 2022.
The problem came to light during a routine inspection and is thought to possibly have something to do with the design of the casing. The casing was manufactured by the now defunct Dutch company Rotterdam Drydocks. Federal interior minister Joëlle Milquet stressed that there is no current danger to the public and promised that the safety of workers and public would be the primary concern in any enquiry.
The continued closure of Doel 3 does not represent an immediate problem for the electricity supply, according to grid manager Elia, because of the low peak demand during the summer months. If the situation were to continue until winter, however, meeting demand could be a problem.
FANC, meanwhile, pointed out that it is too soon to come to conclusions about the future of Doel 3. “The mail states the two most extreme possible conclusions: Either there is no problem, and the reactor can be restarted, or the integrity of the reactor cannot be guaranteed, and it cannot be restarted,” said spokesperson Karina De Beule. “But between those two extremes are a hundred other possibilities.”