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Avaaz petition and other misleading information on Belgian reactors

Feb 9, 2016

In a recent statement, the Belgian Nuclear Forum urged internet users not to take for granted recent inaccurate and biased information conveyed by some organisations. For instance, a petition is circulating on the web calling for the closure of Belgian nuclear power plants. This petition includes wrong and slanderous information. Let’s clarify things:

«Cracked» nuclear power plants

During the periodic safety review of 2012, Electrabel found on two of its seven reactor vessels “defects due to hydrogen flakes”, which are not at all linked with nuclear activities. Electrabel immediately decided to shut down these reactors in order to carry out thorough assessments. After several months of tests made by a large panel of international and neutral experts, the organisation in charge of nuclear safety (AFCN) gave its greenlight to restart the reactors. AFCN ruled that “Electrabel was able to prove convincingly” the structural integrity of the reactor vessels.

No explosion in 2015

There was no such incident at any of the Belgian nuclear plants. The 2015 events which were extensively reported upon in the press are minor and frequent. They happened in the non-nuclear parts of the plants and are part of the normal operating life of any industrial facility. These events have not at all threatened the safety of the nuclear facilities. Electrabel spends over €200 million every year to maintain its nuclear sites and decides when necessary outside of planned outages for maintenance to carry out any extra work deemed useful by its technical teams.

No suspicion of gas leak

The Avaaz statement about a gas leak is utterly wrong and slanderous. There was no such incident at any of the Belgian reactors.

To conclude, the situation depicted by Avaaz is completely inaccurate and wrong. The nuclear plants were restarted based on the results of international tests conducted at a unique scale. Over 1,500 tests were carried out and an independent American laboratory was commissioned by the AFCN to reassess all the results of the tests provided by Electrabel. Following on from that, the AFCN which is a neutral and independent body in charge of nuclear safety, gave its approval to restart the reactors. As far as the latest incidents are concerned, they are either wrongly described or have simply never occurred.

Source: Belgian Nuclear Forum

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