November 7, 2018 / 5:29 PM / 9 days ago

Engie says plans to restart two Belgian nuclear reactors on time

PARIS/BRUSSELS, Nov 7 (Reuters) - Engie Electrabel said on Wednesday its plans to restart two nuclear reactors in Belgium in December were on track after Belgium’s energy minister voiced concerns over possible delays.

Belgian Energy Minister Marie-Christine Marghem said on Tuesday she was worried that the restart of the Doel 1 and 2 reactors could be delayed by a few days from Dec. 10 and Dec. 31, respectively.

That comes as Belgium’s energy production is plunging with six of its seven nuclear reactors offline for repairs and maintenance.

Engie’s Chief Operating Officer Paulo Almirante told a call with analysts that the restart schedule outlined in September still stood: “Today, there is nothing that should prevent that,” he said.

Inspections and repairs are ongoing at the Doel 1 and 2 reactors, which have both been offline since the spring after a leak was discovered in the backup cooling water system of Doel 1 in April.

Almirante said that at Doel 1 - Belgium’s oldest reactor - repairs were going as planned. At Doel 2, inspections are due to start this week, as soon as the robot used in Doel 1 is finished there.

Approval for the reactors to restart will be given once repairs are made and they are shown to be in line with regulation, a spokesman for the Belgian nuclear authority (FANC) said. (Reporting by Geert De Clercq and Daphne Psaledakis; Editing by Adrian Croft)

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