Cracked Belgian Reactors May Be Retired, Same Risk at 22 Nuclear Plants Worldwide
Two Belgian reactors are receiving continued investigations into the structural cracking problems of their reactor vessels. The steel reactor vessels in question were all made by the now defunct Rotterdam Steel Company. Problems with the fabrication and steel quality lead to unusual cracks that were discovered during routine ageing inspections. A 22 US, European and South American reactors were made by this company and subject to the same potential problem.
The reactors appear to all be either Westinghouse PWR units or GE BWR units made by this particular steel company. When the issue was first discovered the US NRC said they would consider more inspections of the units made by Rotterdam Steel. Since that initial statement nothing has come out of the NRC about the issue or any findings of new inspections.
Belgian officials admitted that the cracks may lead to the impacted units in their country being permanently shut down.
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