The Tihange nuclear power plant is located in Belgium about 80km from the Luxembourg border. Photo credit: Shutterstock
A Belgian court has ruled that the Tihange-2 nuclear reactor does not have to shut down despite the possible presence of tiny cracks in the reactor’s walls.
Defects were discovered during inspections in 2012, per Paperjam, Reuters and the Brussels Times. Belgium’s Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (FANC) ordered the reactor shut down in 2012. The FANC then authorised Tihange-2 to restart in 2015, saying the cracks were “hydrogen flakes” in tank walls that did not pose a safety risk.
Several state and local governments in Luxembourg, Germany and the Netherlands appealed against that decision in 2016. The plaintiffs included 19 local councils in the grand duchy, including the commune of Wiltz.
On 3 September, the Brussels Court of First Instance found the claims unfounded, agreeing with the FANC’s assessment.
The Tihange nuclear plant is operated by Electrabel, the Belgian unit of the French utility giant Engie. It is located in Huy, between Liège and Namur, about 80km northwest of the grand duchy.
According to the World Nuclear Association, Tihange-2 is a 1,008 megawatt reactor that began commercial operations in 1983. The Belgian government has previously said the reactor would be permanently closed in 2023.