With the shutdown of Doel 3, a new phase with new activities will begin:
- Shortly after the shutdown, operators will open the reactor for one last time, remove all the fuel and transfer it to the cooling basins.
- To remove as much radioactivity from the systems as possible, employees will flush the primary circuit with a chemical solution.
- In the spring of 2023, operators will begin transferring the already sufficiently cooled fuel elements (from previous reactor operating cycles) from the cooling basins to special storage and transport containers. Completely emptying the cooling basins will take over four years.
- In parallel, nuclear power plant staff will gradually take all technical systems out of service. Only the systems that play a role in cooling the fuel basins or operating the other reactors will remain operational.
- Once the fuel basins are also completely emptied and cleaned, 99% of the total radioactivity will have been removed from Doel 3's facilities. At that point, Electrabel can proceed with the complete dismantling of the plant. According to current schedule, the first decommissioning activities will start during 2026.
The final shutdown of Doel 3 marks an important milestone in the history of our site. Our staff have carefully prepared the dismantling of Doel 3; it involves a project on a scale hitherto unseen in Belgium. I know I can count on these colleagues to carry out this new phase with the same dedication and professional pride as before. One thing will not change anyway: nuclear safety will always remain our first priority, until the last day.
Peter Moens, Director of Doel Nuclear Power Plant