The Belgian nuclear emergency plan

For Electrabel safety is the number one priority. This means not only avoiding incidents, but also being prepared for unforeseen events.

All measures for such an exceptional incident are described in the Belgian nuclear emergency plan. There are 3 top priorities: the safety of the environment, the well-being of employees and the stability of the plant.

At Electrabel, there are procedures, emergency infrastructure, employees on standby duty and training programmes for internal incidents. The nuclear power plants of Doel and Tihange are also designed to withstand external risks such as earthquakes and floods. At each plant, a nuclear incident is simulated at least once a year. In addition, Electrabel exercises with the police and the public fire brigade. Six to seven major emergency planning exercises with different scenarios and participants are held per site each year. Each exercise is followed by a thorough evaluation.

Emergency planning and measures for the surrounding area, the population, agriculture, etc. are the responsibility of the authorities. Electrabel itself is responsible for the safe operation of its facilities and for the rapid and correct flow of information to the authorities.

In the event of an incident, the nuclear power plants must get the situation under control as quickly as possible. They are also responsible for the safety and well-being of the staff and any visitors during the incident.

Reporting thresholds in Belgium are very low. For example, as soon as a power station needs to reduce its power output for a maintenance intervention, Electrabel is obliged to report this through official channels. The same applies to automatic shutdowns. In our neighbouring countries, the notification thresholds are higher. As a result, Doel and Tihange are sometimes more topical than other nuclear power plants.

In the event of a nuclear accident, the government's Crisis Centre[SN(B1]  takes care of communication and protection measures for the population. Of course, this is done in constant consultation with the experts of the Federal Agency for Nuclear Control and those of the nuclear power plant.