Nuclear power station in Doel, Belgium

Doel is a cracking, often malfunctioning and already sabotaged plant with possibly the largest number of people living in its near proximity of all nuclear power plants. After more than 40 years of operation, it's time to close it down.

<div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Description</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld"></td><td class="columns"> The <b>Doel Nuclear Power Station</b> has 4 reactors and is one of the two nuclear power plants in Belgium. The plant is located on the bank of the Scheldt, near the village of Doel in the Flemish province of East Flanders, very near the Dutch border. The Belgian energy corporation Electrabel is the plant's largest shareholder. Doel 1 and 2 came online in 1975, while Doel 3 and 4 came online in 1982 and 1985, respectively. Doel 1 and 2 had a license to operate for 40 years, but in 2015 their retirement was <a>postponed for 10 years</a>. This decision re-heated a long existing conflict around the nuclear power plant. Calls to retire the whole nuclear power plant grew from both civil society, from mayors in neighbouring countries and even from the chairman of the European Parliament. Issues for concern include: ·         The station is located in the most densely populated area of all nuclear power stations in Europe, with 9 million inhabitants within a radius of 75 kilometres. Some 1.5 Million live within just 30 kilometers from the plant. ·         Belgian nuclear power plants do not have filtered containment venting systems installed. German nuclear reactors have them since the nuclear disaster in Chernobyl in 1986, other countries followed after the Fukushima nuclear disaster. ·         In June 2012, ultrasonic inspection revealed that there were <a>13047 cracks</a> in the reactor vessel's steel rings. At the end of March 2014, test results revealed they were bigger than anticipated, leading to a shut-down of Doel 3. The material scientists who studied the case said that these cracks may be due to normal reactor operations, thus putting into question the safety of all nuclear power plants on earth. ·         In August 2014 a major incident happened with a turbine in the non-nuclear part of the plant. Authorities and the plant operator suspect that this was an act of deliberate sabotage. The unit was eventually back on the grid at 19 December 2014. ·         A transformer feeding the non-operating Reactor 1 exploded October 31, 2015 causing a small fire ·         In December 2015, police found a camera set up outside the house of a nuclear researcher. Seven people had their access to the Doel facility revoked after the <a>2016 Brussels police raids</a> in March 2016. Actions against keeping the nuclear power station in Doel open come from many different sources and take many different forms. Some activists make a point by finding ways to get close to the reactor by breaching the security system. Others like Greenpeace have put up a tent in a huge pole standing in the middle of the Schelde, which transports electricity from Doel to the net. Still others have marched from Antwerp city to Doel and from Doel to Brussels in a 3 day long march. Greenpeace has also taken the government to court for its decision to prolong the life of Belgium’s nuclear power plants by 10 years. Politicians from neighbouring countries have written letters to Belgium’s nuclear safety agency. </td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Basic Data</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Name</td><td>Nuclear power station in Doel, Belgium</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Country</td><td><a href="/country/belgium">Belgium</a></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Province</td><td>Vlaanderen / Flanders</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Site</td><td>Antwerpen</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Accuracy of Location</td><td>HIGH local level</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Source of Conflict</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Type of Conflict (1st level)</td><td>Nuclear</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Type of Conflict (2nd level)</td><td>Nuclear power plants</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Specific Commodities</td><td><a href='/commodity/uranium'>Uranium</a><br /><a href='/commodity/electricity'>Electricity</a></td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Project Details and Actors</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Project Details</td><td class="columns"><div class="less">As so many other nuclear power stations of their generation, the reactors at Doel near Antwerp are old and dangerous. They are owned by Electrabel, that itself belongs to a French company. Doel 1 and 2 are old, and there is opposition against the renewal of the permission to operate. Court cases are pending. Meanwhile, Doel 3 had to be temporarily stopped for some time because of fissures in the reactor, while Doel 4 was stopped temporarily in August 2014 because of an internal sabotage. (Le Monde, 28/1/2016). However, companies find the old reactors profitable, and make small investments to prolong their lives up to 50 ad later maybe up to 60 years. There are complaints in Belgium (a small, densely populated country) and also in The Netherlands and Germany.</div><a class="seemore" href="#">See more...</a><div class="more" style="display:none">Electricity generated, capacity: <br/><br/> Doel 1 : 433 MWe<br/><br/> Doel 2 : 433 MWe<br/><br/> Doel 3 : 1006 MWe<br/><br/> Doel 4 : 1047 MWe<br/><br/>Total capacity 2,919 MW<br/><br/>Average generation 21,670 GWh<br/><br/><a class="seeless" href="#">(See less)</a></div></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Project Area (in hectares)</td><td>80</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Type of Population</td><td>Urban</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Potential Affected Population</td><td>7 million</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Start Date</td><td>01/01/1975</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Company Names or State Enterprises</td><td><a href='/company/engie-electrabel'>ENGIE - Electrabel</a> from <a href='/country-of-company/belgium'><small>Belgium</small></a></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Relevant government actors</td><td>Belgian State: Ministry of Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development; Agence fédérale de contrôle nucléaire (AFCN)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Environmental justice organisations and other supporters</td><td>National: Greenpeace Belgium<br/><br/><br/><br/>Regional: Coalition of the 2 federations of environmental NGOs in Flanders and in Wallonia:<br/><br/><br/><br/>Local: Antwerpen leefbaar<br/><br/><br/><br/>A longlist of organisations who are active against nuclear power in Belgium:<br/><br/></td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">The Conflict and the Mobilization</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)</td><td>MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">When did the mobilization begin</td><td>In REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Groups Mobilizing</td><td>International ejos<br /> Local ejos<br /> Local government/political parties<br /> Neighbours/citizens/communities</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Forms of Mobilization</td><td>Artistic and creative actions (eg guerilla theatre, murals)<br /> Creation of alternative reports/knowledge<br /> Development of a network/collective action<br /> Development of alternative proposals<br /> Involvement of national and international NGOs<br /> Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism<br /> Media based activism/alternative media<br /> Official complaint letters and petitions<br /> Public campaigns<br /> Sabotage<br /> Street protest/marches<br /> Occupation of buildings/public spaces</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Impacts</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Environmental Impacts</td><td><strong>Potential: </strong>Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Fires, Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Waste overflow, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Other Environmental impacts</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Other</td><td>Radiation that kills life in a vast circle around the plant is a potential threat</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Health Impacts</td><td><strong>Visible: </strong>Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Accidents<br /><strong>Potential: </strong>Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Occupational disease and accidents, Deaths, Other environmental related diseases</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Socio-economic Impacts</td><td><strong>Potential: </strong>Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Other socio-economic impacts</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Outcome</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Project Status</td><td>In operation</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Pathways for conflict outcome / response</td><td>Court decision (undecided)<br /> New legislation<br /> Under negotiation<br /> New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study<br /> Moratoria<br /> Project temporarily suspended</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Development of Alternatives</td><td>Many different EJOs have put forward various plans for replacing the energy produced by Belgium's nuclear power plants with energy from renewables.</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Do you consider this as a success?</td><td>No</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Why? Explain briefly.</td><td>Until December 2016 the reactors remain open although they represent a threat.</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Sources and Materials</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">References</td><td><table><tr><td><p> Report by environmental NGO federations from Flanders and Wallonia that sums up why nuclear power is a bad idea<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> Cuves défectueuses des réacteurs nucléaires belges Doel 3 et Tihange 2. Commentaires sur le Rapport Final d’Évaluation de l’AFCN de 2015. Ilse Tweer. Spécialiste en matériaux, Consultante<br />Janvier 2016. Commandité par Rebecca Harms, Co-présidente du Groupe des Verts/ALE au Parlement européen. Bruxelles.<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Links</td><td><table><tr><td><p> A long list of media articles on the wikipedia page of the power plant<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> Belgium's neighbours fret over reboot of ageing nuclear reactors, January 2016<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> Le Monde, 18 Jan. 2016, Les centrales nucléaires belges inquiètent les Allemands et les Hollandais, Jean-Pierre Stroobants<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> Le Quotidien (Luxemburg), Parc nucléaire belge : le Luxembourg n’est pas le seul à s’inquiéter, 14/4/2016<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> Libération, Pourquoi le parc nucléaire belge provoque-t-il des inquiétudes ? Par Isabelle Hanne — 2 février 2016<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Media Links</td><td><table><tr><td><p> More than 100 articles about nuclear energy in Belgium by Greenpeace Belgium<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> La Libre Belgique. Centrales nucléaires : manifestation à Maastricht contre les centrales "fissurées" de Doel et Tihange, 21 mai 2016<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Other Documents</td><td><table><tr><td><p> <a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> <a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Meta Information</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Contributor</td><td>Nick Meynen, European Environmental Bureau, [email protected]</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Last update</td><td>13/12/2016</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div>