Belgium may delay the shutdown of key nuclear reactors in the country, Reuters reported. Two sources close to government coalition talks told the news outlet that Belgium may keep the Doel 1 and 2 reactors online 10 years longer than originally scheduled.
The Doel 1 and 2 reactors operated by Electrabel of GDF Suez have a combined power generation capacity of 433 megawatts and are among Belgium’s oldest. Plans were in place to shut down the reactors in 2015, but sources are now saying their operation life may be extended until 2025.
Belgium has seen a 3 gigawatt reduction in its nuclear capacity because of safety challenges that have taken some of the country’s other reactors offline. The 1,008 MW Tihange 2 and the 1,006 MW Doel 3 reactors have been offline since 2012 because of cracks discovered in their steel reactor casings. In August, Electrabel shut down its Doel 4 nuclear reactor following the discovery of an oil leak, which revealed evidence of sabotage at one of the plant’s steam turbines on the non-nuclear side. Altogether the lost capacity nearly halved the country’s nuclear output.
To remain open past their scheduled closure date, Doel 1 and 2 will need the approval Belgium’s Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (FANC). Even if the extensions are granted, the country still expects to shut down all nuclear reactors by 2025 as planned.