by Staff Writers
Brussels (AFP) June 11, 2016
Belgium's ageing Tihange 2 nuclear reactor was automatically shut down following a motor failure in a non-nuclear part of the plant, a spokesman said Saturday.
"An electrical motor that turns a steam turbine in a non-nuclear part of the site broke down," spokesman Serge Dauby said, following the incident which could again raise safety concerns from neighbouring countries.
The failure of the electrical motor automatically led to a shutdown of the 40-year-old Tihange 2 reactor on Friday afternoon, "a common procedure," he added.
The reactor could be restarted on Wednesday once repairs of the motor have been completed, he said.
Located in southeast Belgium, around 70 kilometres (43 miles) from the German border, the Tihange 2 reactor as well as the Doal 3 near the Netherlands have caused safety concerns for some time after a series of problems ranging from leaks to cracks and an unsolved sabotage incident.
The Doel and Tihange power stations have been in service since 1974-1975, and were scheduled to be closed in 2015.
But the Belgian government in December decided to extend their lives to 2025.
Just this week Dutch lawmakers called on their government to join with Germany and Luxembourg in asking Belgium to close the creaking nuclear plants.
Belgium's official nuclear safety agency (AFCN) has said that the two plants "respond to the strictest possible safety requirements."
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