Belgium has been left without half of its nuclear capacity, as GDF Suez subsidiary Electrabel confirmed that its Doel 4 nuclear reactor has been shut down due to sabotage.
Reuters reports that a GDF Suez (Euronext: GSZ) spokesman confirmed Belgian press reports about suspicion of sabotage. “There was an intentional manipulation,” he said, adding that somebody had tampered with the system used for emptying oil from the Alstom-made turbine at the nuclear power plant.
He said no outsiders had penetrated into the plant but declined to say whether an employee could have purposely caused the leak, as has been reported in some Belgian media. He said Electrabel had filed a complaint and that the Belgian police had started an investigation.
Repairs being carried out on the major damage inflicted on a steam turbine, which caused an oil leak at the site, means it most likely won’t be reactivated until the end of the year, a situation that could lead to Electrabel losing 40 million euros a month on net recurring income.
The firm say the main damage is to the turbine’s high pressure section.
The closure of Doel 4 takes place after two other reactors – Doel 3 and Tihange 2 – were forced offline because of fractures in steel casings housing their respective reactors. The closure of all three takes 3 GW off the Belgian grid, more than half its total nuclear capacity.