May 2, 2018 / 11:31 AM / 7 months ago

UPDATE 1-Engie's Belgian Doel 1 reactor to remain closed until Oct 1

(Adds detail on Doel 2 closure)

PARIS, May 2 (Reuters) - Belgium’s Doel 1 reactor, which was closed on April 23 following a leak in a back-up pipe on its primary cooling circuit, will remain closed until Oct 1 as operator Engie brings forward planned maintenance, the company said on Wednesday.

Doel 1 had been scheduled to close from May 29 to Oct. 1 for maintenance and to allow the French gas and power group to upgrade the reactor to extend its lifetime to 2025.

A spokeswoman for Engie’s Belgian unit Electrabel, which operates seven nuclear reactors in Belgium, said the leak was minor and did not endanger staff or the local population.

“The loss of water was well below the limit which would have triggered an automatic stoppage of the reactor,” she said.

The Doel 2 reactor will also close for major maintenance from May 22 to Oct. 8.

The lifespan of the Doel 1 and 2 reactors, as well as Tihange 1 - Belgium’s three oldest reactors - will be extended to 2025, 10 years beyond their originally scheduled closure date. The government decided in March to phase out nuclear by 2025.

Belgium’s seven reactors - four at Doel and three at Tihange - produce about half of the country’s electricity. (Reporting by Geert De Clercq; editing by Bate Felix and Jason Neely)

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