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New cracks discovered at Belgian nuclear plant

Staff Writer | June 13, 2017
Three years after its last inspection, new microfractures have been discovered at the Tihange nuclear power plant in Belgium.
Tihange nuclear power plant
Nuclear energy   Confirmed by Belgian interior minister Jan Gambon:
Experts using ultrasonic technology found the latest cracks on the high pressure boiler at the facility, confirmed by Belgian interior minister Jan Gambon, whose government added that the security of the plant was not threatened.

The more than 40-year-old nuclear power plant consists of three reactors, which have been troubled by several shut downs and incidents due to maintenance and safety concerns.

The original life span of Tihange was 30 years but plants such as this remain open as Belgium endeavours to build up alternative power sources and reduce its 39 percent dependency on nuclear.

The cracks do not pose any danger to operations at the nuclear plants, says operator Engie-Electrabel, which carried out the inspections under instructions from the Belgian Atomic Regulatory Authority (FANC).

The operator said the new flaws were discovered due to a “different positioning of the ultrasound device.”

Engie-Electrabel maintains that as long as cracks do not expand, they do not pose a danger to the reactor’s operations.