A forced shutdown of one nuclear reactor in the lead up to winter may be regarded as unfortunate. But the closure of six of the seven reactors responsible for supplying 40% of Belgium’s electricity is raising eyebrows, even in a country so prone to chaotic administration. An emergency “load shedding” plan has been updated, under which motorway lights will be switched off, industrial production suspended and rolling three-hour blackouts launched in homes nationwide should temperatures drop in the coming months and demand outstrip the now limited electricity supply. Residents have also been warned bills could increase, despite the suggestion that they might need to iron less and use just one pot to cook. The impending crisis stems from the discovery at the end of last month of “concrete degradation” at the Tihange nuclear power plant, west of Liege, forcing the closure of its three reactors. Unfortunately, three of the four reactors at Belgium’s second nuclear plant, in Doel, near Antwerp, are also out of action due to planned repairs.
Guardian 30th Oct 2018 read more »