Fire shuts down Tihange 3 nuclear plant in Belgium

Electrabel’s Tihange 3 nuclear reactor in Belgium remains offline following an electrical fire that prompted an automatic shutdown over the weekend.

An electrical fire tripped a shutdown of Electrabel’s 1,048-megawatt Tihange 3 nuclear reactor over the weekend, reports Belgium’s transmission system operator Elia. The 2,985 MW Tihange Nuclear Power Station is comprised of three pressurized water reactors located on the Meuse River southwest of the city of Liege.

According to an update provided on the Elia website, the fire occurred Sunday morning at the high-voltage transformer station at Tihange 3, which resulted in an automatic shutdown of the unit.

Damages are still being assessed and it is currently unknown how long the reactor will remain offline. No injuries were reported.

Belgium is home to seven nuclear reactors, which generate approximately half of all electricity consumed in the country when all units are operational. With Tihange 3 offline, four of Belgium’s nuclear units are currently shut down – two units at the Doel Nuclear Station and now two at the Tihange Nuclear Power Station.

In its Tihange 3 update Elia said immediate power forecasts for the week remained very stable. However, many have still expressed concern about longer term reliability with more than half of the nation's nuclear capacity offline as Belgium approaches its high-demand winter season.

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