Nuclear installations in Belgium need to be made safer

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The nuclear installations in Belgium such as Belgoprocess in Dessel need to be made safer. That’s the conclusion of a report by the Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (FANC). Problems could arise if there was a big fire or a heavy storm. 

In the aftermath of the disaster at the Japanese nuclear power plant at Fukushima, Belgium’s two nuclear power stations at Doel (East Flanders) and Tihange (Liege) were subjected to stress tests. Once the power stations had been tested, it was the turn of the Study Centre for Nuclear Energy in Mol (Antwerp province); Belgocontrol in Dessel (Antwerp province) and IRE in Fleurus (Hainaut).

In its report FANC outlines a number of points where there is room for improvement.

For example, earthquakes, tornados and large fires were not taken into account when most of the buildings at the various installations were constructed. There is also no safety cordon between the buildings and woodland that might be near to them.

Although the buildings are said to be capable of withstanding some kinds of earthquake, it is not clear what exactly they could withstand. FANC has asked for more information so that it can assess the risk of fires breaking out after an earthquake. FANC also wants stricter measures to be taken to protect nuclear installation from the consequences of a lightning strike. If there was a power cut, there would be a genuine risk of radiation escaping into the buildings.

FANC has asked the various installations to draw up a and emergency and disaster plan with the fire service and the Civil Defence Agency.

The green federal MP Kristof Calvo said that FANC’s report is clear that there would be risks in the event of earthquakes, fire and power cuts. The report is also very critical about sustainability issues and the strength of the emergency planning. Each and every one important issues that need to be addressed.