Belgian judge: Tihange 2 nuclear reactor does not need to be shut down

The Belgian Tihange 2 nuclear reactor does not have to be shut down. This was determined by the court in Brussels in a case brought by German, Dutch and Luxembourg authorities and by local residents. They consider the reactor unsafe because of the thousands of hairline cracks that have been in the wall for years.

The court did not rule on whether the nuclear power plant is safe enough. However, the judges have ruled that the supervisor has looked sufficiently into this. Nor have the authorities and local residents been able to demonstrate that safety is so seriously threatened that the reactor must be shut down.

The small cracks were discovered in 2012. Last year, the reactor was restarted after months of repairs to the concrete. The bunker building was also given a new roof plate.

Close to the border

The Tihange nuclear power plant is located approximately 30 kilometres southwest of Liรจge. As this is relatively close to the Netherlands, Germany and Luxembourg, there too are safety concerns.

The case was brought against the operator of the power station, Electrabel, the Belgian state and the Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (FANC). According to the parties initiating the process, the operator cannot demonstrate that Tihange 2 is safe. The FANC would neglect its control function.

So in the ruling the court says that the FANC investigation was thorough enough. Experts also to a very large extent confirmed the opinion of the regulator that the power station is safe enough, according to the judges.