December 6, 2010 / 11:22 AM / in 7 years

Belgian nuclear reactor switched off after fire

BRUSSELS, Dec 6 (Reuters) - One of Belgium’s seven nuclear reactors has been switched off for the foreseeable future after a small fire late on Friday, Electrabel GSZ.PA said on Monday.

The 1,040 megawatt (MW) reactor, the fourth and largest at the Doel nuclear plant, was itself not damaged.

The fire was in a non-nuclear part of the plant and damaged the alternator, the device that converts mechanical energy to electrical energy.

Electrabel, which operates Belgian nuclear power stations and is part of French energy group GDF Suez, said there was no danger at any time for the surrounding area.

It was not clear when it would be able to restart the reactor. Doel’s four reactors produce a third of Belgium’s elecricity needs.

A spokeswoman said other power plants within the GDF Suez and Electrabel network could step up production in order to match the shortfall caused by the idle reactor. (Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek, editing by Jane Baird)

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