Cause of fire in former nuclear reactor unclear

Summary

A fire that broke out yesterday in the dismantled nuclear reactor at Mol was quickly extinguished and no cause has yet been determined

No danger to public

A fire in a former nuclear reactor at the Study Centre for Nuclear Energy (SCK-CEN) in Mol, Antwerp province, may have been caused by a fault in the dust-removal system, investigators said. The fire in dismantled reactor BR3 had no radiological effect on the area.

The Mol fire brigade was in attendance together with the centre’s own firefighters, and the fire was put out in less than an hour, according to SCK-CEN spokesperson Dirk Ceuterick. “No-one was present on the spot when the fire broke out,” he said. “Measurements taken show that neither fire nor smoke had any radiological effect. The fire brigade, emergency services and centre personnel were never at risk.”

SCK-CEN was Belgium’s first nuclear reactor, built for research in the field of nuclear energy. Since it was established in 1952, the campus has grown to include teaching and administrative facilities as well as housing for staff.

The centre’s third reactor, BR3, constructed in 1962, was the country’s first Pressure Water Reactor (PWR) and served as a model for PWR power plants. It was taken out of use in 1987. Since it was dismantled, only the concrete shell remains.

 

photo: About 700 international staff work at Mol’s Study Centre for Nuclear Energy

©courtesy gva.be