Investigation begins into explosion at Belgian nuclear plant

BRUSSELS, Nov. 2 (Xinhua) -- An investigation is under way to determine what caused a fire and explosion at a nuclear power plant in northern Belgium, which caused no injuries and does not pose any danger to public health, local media reported Monday.

According to the Sudpresse newspaper group, the incident took place in the Doel 1 plant in Beveren, near the north Belgian city of Antwerp on Oct. 31. The reactor has been shut down since Feb. 15 as it has reached the end of its 40-year working life set by Belgian law.

Belgian electricity supplier Electrabel said a transformer exploded, causing a fire, adding that it was "not a nuclear incident" and there was no danger to employees or nearby residents, and no impact on Belgian electricity supply.

Electrabel said it would cooperate with two separate investigations by the public prosecutor's office and with the Belgian Federal Nuclear Safety Agency.

Sudpresse reports that only one of the four reactors at the Doel nuclear plant in Belgium is currently active, supplying 1,000 megawatts of energy.

Numbers 1 and 2 were closed down earlier this year because of their age, and reactor 3 is out of action because of microscopic cracks in the casing.

The Belgian federal government in June voted in favor of extending the lifespan of the first two reactors until 2025.

Sudpresse reports that energy minister Marie-Christine Marghem must have the extension approved and passed in law by Nov. 30 or the reactors will be definitively shut down.


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