BRUSSELS, Sept 3 (Reuters) - A Brussels court ruled on
Thursday that Belgium does not have to shut down Engie's
Tihange-2 nuclear reactor after a challenge from
several Dutch, German and Luxembourg cities and states citing
possible safety defects.
Belgium's nuclear regulator AFCN allowed the 1,008 megawatt
reactor to restart in 2015 after it was closed for an
investigation into apparent cracks. The plaintiffs said this
permission should not have been granted.
"We are sure and we are convinced that the reactor vessel is
safe," Ines Venneman, a spokeswoman for the AFCN, told Reuters
in an interview.
A lawyer for neighbouring cities, including Aachen and
Maastricht, told Reuters the outcome of the trial was
disappointing as nothing would change for the plant, which is
some 45 kilometres (28 miles) from the Dutch border and 70 km
"This is, of course, a disappointing ruling for us,"
Annemarie Penn-te Strake, the mayor of Dutch town Maastricht,
said in a statement. "It will not remove many people's feelings
The reactor, one of three at the Tihange plant operated by
Engie's Belgian unit Electrabel, was closed in 2012 and again in
2014 after inspections revealed tiny cracks in its core tanks.
In an unusual diplomatic move, Germany requested in 2016
that the nuclear plant be taken offline until safety concerns
But the Belgian regulator authorised a restart in November
2015 after finding the cracks were hydrogen flakes in the walls
of the reactor tank and did not compromise the plant's safety.
The Belgian government decided in 2018 that the country's
nuclear power plants, Tihange and Doel, would be closed in 2025.
Tihange-2 is scheduled to close in February 2023.
(Reporting by Marine Strauss @StraussMarine, Bart Biesemans;
editing by Philip Blenkinsop, Mark Potter and Barbara Lewis)