Doel Nuclear Power Station
|Doel Nuclear Power Station|
Location of Doel Nuclear Power Station in Belgium
|Commission date||15 February 1975|
|Nuclear power station|
|Reactor type||pressurized water reactors|
|Reactor supplier||ACECOWEN, FRAMACECO|
|Units operational||2 x 433 MW
1 x 1006 MW
1 x 1047 MW
|Annual generation||21,670 GW·h|
The Doel Nuclear Power Station is one of the two nuclear power plants in Belgium. The plant is located on the bank of the Scheldt, near the village of Doel in the Flemish province of East Flanders. The Belgian energy corporation Electrabel is the plant's largest stakeholder. The plant employs 800 workers and covers an area of 80 hectares (200 acres).
The station is located in the most densely populated area of all nuclear power stations in Europe, with 9 million inhabitants within a radius of 75 kilometres (47 mi).
On 5 August 2014, Doel 4 was unexpectedly taken offline due to a loss of lubrication in the steam turbine. Sabotage by a worker at the reactor could not be excluded and investigations are ongoing. The unplanned automatic shutdown caused significant damage to the turbines and it is not clear when the reactor will be restarted although GDF Suez hopes to do so in mid-September. Based on the first investigations, Electrabel did not expect that the reactor could be restarted before January 2015.
The plant consists of four second-generation pressurized water reactors with a total capacity of 2,919 MWe, making it the second largest nuclear power plant in Belgium, after Nuclear Plant Tihange. Its four units are rated as follows:
- Doel 1 : 433 MWe
- Doel 2 : 433 MWe
- Doel 3 : 1006 MWe
- Doel 4 : 1047 MWe
Doel 1 and 2 came online in 1975, while Doel 3 and 4 came online in 1982 and 1985, respectively.
Doel 1, 2 and 4 reactors are based on designs by Westinghouse and where supplied by ACECOWEN a consortium between ACEC, Cockerill and Westinghouse. The Doel 3 reactor is based on a design by Framatome and was supplied by the FRAMACECO consortium (Framatome-ACEC-Cockerill).
Doel 1 and 2 have a license to operate for 40 years, but could operate for a further 10 years with a life-extension approved by the regulator. On 15 February 2015, Doel 1 was shut down after 40 years of operation, while discussions continue on a possible life extension.
With a height of 176 meters, the two cooling towers are the most visible structure in the Port of Antwerp. Due to its proximity to the Dutch-Belgian border, the towers and the accompanying vapor can be seen in large parts of Dutch provinces of Zeeland and western North Brabant. Since 1995, one of the cooling towers has hosted a nest of peregrine falcons.
2012 Doel 3 inspection
Doel 3 was shut down at the beginning of June 2012 for a planned inspection. The ultrasonic inspection revealed that there were thousands of semi laminar flaws in the reactor vessel's steel rings forged by Rotterdam Drydocks. These were determined to be hydrogen flakes, which influence steel brittleness and vessel pressure. The reactor remained offline for further inspections and assessment for a year. Eventually the nuclear regulator judged that the reactor could still operate safely and it was restarted June 3, 2013. The restart, however, was linked to an action plan concerning further investigations of the material properties of the reactor vessel. At the end of March 2014 the test results revealed a different outcome compared to what was anticipated by experts. At the moment no proper clarification for this outcome has been found. Therefore, the operator (GDF Suez) decided to stop the affected power plant until a clarification can be found and further operation of the powerplant is declared safe.
2014 Doel 4 turbine incident
In August 2014 there was a major incident in the non-nuclear part of the plant: the main turbine overheated when it suddenly found itself operating without oil. Rather than a leak it turned out that a valve was opened which rapidly evacuated the 65,000 liters of oil to an underground storage tank. This procedure is to be used in case of fire and is normally secured with a padlock. Hence authorities and the plant operator suspect that this was an act of deliberate sabotage. The unit was eventually back on the grid at 19 December 2014. Combined with the outage of Doel 3 and Tihange 2 blackouts were not ruled out for the winter period of 2014-2015.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Nuclear power plant, Doel.|
- Kerncentrale Doel in dichtstbevolkte gebied, deredactie.be
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- Doel 3: Safety Authorities Meet in Brussels, Belgian Federal Agency for Nuclear Control
- "More flaws found in Belgian RPVs". Nuclear Engineering International. 18 February 2015. Retrieved 20 February 2015.
- "Doel 4 ligt mogelijk tot einde van het jaar uit". vrtnieuws. August 12, 2014. Retrieved 10 September 2014.
- Geert De Clercq (2014-08-14). "Reuters: UPDATE 2-Belgian Doel 4 nuclear reactor closed till year-end". Reuters.