December 18, 2018 / 7:21 PM / in a month

Engie extends outage at Belgium's Doel 1 nuclear reactor

FILE PHOTO: The logo of French gas and power group Engie is seen on the company tower at La Defense business and financial district in Courbevoie, near Paris, France. May 16, 2018. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Belgium’s Engie Electrabel (ENGIE.PA) has extended the outage at its Doel 1 nuclear reactor to March 15 for repairs on a water leak, the company said on Tuesday.

Reactors Doel 1 and 2 near Antwerp were scheduled to halt production in 2015 but the Belgian government subsequently extended their lives by 10 years.

Both reactors have been offline since April after a leak in Doel 1’s water cooling system was discovered.

Doel 2 will be offline until Jan. 28, with technicians now checking the systems and equipment, Engie Electrabel said. Last month it said Doel 1 would be off the grid until Jan. 31 and that Doel 2 would restart on Dec. 31.

It said Tihange 3 in Liege in the south of the country could be back online by Jan. 7, nearly two months ahead of schedule, conditional on approval from the country’s nuclear safety regulator FANC.

Belgium’s nuclear reactors account for about 50 percent of the country’s electricity needs. Currently only two out of seven are working.

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by David Goodman

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