Reactor Vessel Steel with Micro-Cracks More Likely to Rupture During Reactor Shutdown. (w/ Transcript & Translation of VRT Belgian TV News Feb. 25, 2015)

Colorado Rocky Mountains (USA) – Feb. 27, 2015



(Apologies that some hyperlinks direct to untranslated Dutch-language sources.)

Photo: De Wereld Morgen (click for article:

If the Belgian nuclear regulator, FANC, somehow fails at stopping the utility company Electrabel (a subsidiary of the French GDF Suez) from extending their very profitable gamble… and it goes terribly wrong…  then London, Brussels, Amsterdam, Paris, Köln, Rotterdam, Essen,  Antwerp,… (altogether over 50 million people, as well as much of the economic motor of Western Europe), would be within 400 miles of the subsequent fallout-spewing Doel nuclear disaster site…

Click for my Sept 8, 2014 blog post, “Nuclear Power Company ELECTRABEL chooses to gamble… Belgium and surroundings.”   The date the troubled plants would reopen has been shifting around.  There is a chance they’ll stay closed due to the risks after all.

This is a follow-up on my Feb. 19, 2015 blog post, “TERZAKE (Belgian TV) on Reactor Vessel Micro-Cracks. Leuven & UC Berkeley Expert Findings: Situation More Dangerous than Previously Thought, Urging UltraSound Inspections of ALL Planet’s 435+ Nuclear Reactors / Greenpeace Briefing“.   Now two weeks later, turns out, the situation is likely éven worse than thought, again.

The cracks are being measured with increasing precision, with the lengths going up each time.  As VRT reporter Luc Pauwels tweeted:

LucPauwelsTweet_Feb25_2015Note:  Those cracks aren’t so “micro” anymore;  18 cm = 7.08661 inch

FANC, the Belgian Nuclear regulator (currently headed by Jan Bens, former director of the troubled Doel nuclear site) is said to be ‘concerned‘, and demands an explanation for the apparent temperature-shifts-induced steel weakening of the cracked reactor vessel steel.  Without a good explanation, the reactors will not be allowed to be started back up.

!-> FANC has an English section on which the gist is relayed @  (“Doel 3/Tihange 2:  new update“), from which this a quote from the Feb. 13, 2015-updated version:

“After a large number of flaw indications was discovered in the walls of the reactor pressure vessels (RPVs) of Doel 3 and Tihange 2 during a scheduled maintenance in the summer of 2012, the Belgian nuclear safety authorities (FANC and Bel V) decided that Electrabel had to submit a Safety Case to justify the restart of both reactors. Electrabel had to demonstrate specifically and convincingly in its Safety Case that the flaw indications in the walls of the RPVs do not compromise its structural integrity.

After an analysis of the safety cases of both reactors, the FANC and Bel V decided on May 17, 2013 that Doel 3 and Tihange 2 could be restarted. Linked to this agreement, however, was the condition that Electrabel had to perform a series of medium-term actions to consolidate the hypotheses of its Safety Case. These actions were divided into three major themes:

1. The ultrasonic inspection technique of the RPVs: detection and measurement of hydrogen-induced flaw indications 2. Material properties of steel containing hydrogen flakes 3. Structural integrity of a rpv containing hydrogen flakes

The results of the actions on issues 1 and 2 provide the input for theme 3.

In carrying out tests related to theme 2 during the spring of 2014, a fracture toughness test revealed unexpected results, which suggested that the mechanical properties of the material were more strongly influenced by radiation than experts had expected. As a precaution both reactors were immediately shut down again. Electrabel launched a test campaign to find an explanation for the unexpected test results.

At the same time, the licensee continued the execution of the medium termed-action plan. In the mean, this has led to the following results:

More accurate information about the flaw indications

In February 2015, Electrabel completed the actions related to the theme of the ultrasonic inspection technique.

This technique was originally designed for the control of the welding and the cladding of the RPV, but it also proved to be able to detect flaw indications in the wall of the RPV. Electrabel had to qualify the technique, i.e. prove that all hydrogen-induced flaw indications can be found and can be measured correctly using the ultrasonic inspection. By doing so, Electrabel found that the inspection procedure had to be slightly modified and that the detection threshold of the probes had to be lowered to ensure the proper detection of all flaw indications.

In 2014, a further inspection was carried out based on the improved procedure and the modified settings of the machine, resulting in the detection of a greater number of flaw indications than was measured in 2012 and 2013. This means that Electrabel now has to take into account

  • 13047 flaw indications for Doel 3 and
  • 3149 flaw indications for Tihange 2

in its calculations. These additional flaw indications are similar to those which were previously considered and are located in the same area of the RPV.

[…] In April 2015, the FANC will organize a new meeting of the international panel of experts to obtain their advice on the results of the new material tests and on the new data provided by Electrabel. […]”  Read in full at FANC.

  • Below is the transcript (in Dutch, with English Translation) of another news segment on one of Belgium’s main Flemish TV stations, VRT;  this one was aired Feb. 25, 2015, with long-time news anchor Martine Tanghe (‘MT’ in transcript) [] interviewing energy expert and VRT reporter Luc Pauwels (‘LP’ in transcript) [].
The image shows several cracks so close together they need to be regarded as one large crack.   Title of newscast segment: ...

The image shows several cracks so close together they need to be regarded as one large crack. Title of newscast segment:  “Steel in Nuclear Reactors weakens during stark temperature fluctuations.”

!–> Direct link to that VRT news segment [only 3:13 long]:

TRANSCRIPT in Dutch, followed by my approximate English translation in purple, further below.

MT:   Luc Pauwel, onze energiespecialist.  Je zat hier bijna 2 weken geleden, ‘t was vrijdag de 13de, met nieuwe gegevens over die – ja die famueze – scheurtjes.  Nu blijkt dat ze nóg groter zijn dan gedacht, en het is Electrabel zelf, een onverdachte bron, die het zegt: twee keer zo groot.  Is het probleem dan ook zóveel groter?

LP:  Wel, er zijn er méér gevonder, ook gróter, maar of dat dan het probleem ook vergroot is dan nog maar de vraag.  Eigenlijk is me nu microscopisch aan het inzoomen op de onderzoeksresultaten, en heeft men gezien: er zitten daar veel meer onzuiverheden in, en die zitten ook dicht bij mekaar.  En we hebben hier een voorbeeld van zo’n blok staal waarin die scheurtjes zitten.  Als je dan kijkt zie je daar verschillende rood-opgelicht dicht bij elkaar zitten.  En dat is nu wat er naar boven is gekomen:  Beschouw je dat als verschillende scheurtjes, pakweg 6 scheurtjes van 3 cm naast mekaar, of beschouw je dit nu als één grote scheur van 18 cm.

MT:  Ja. En wat moet je nu doen?  Hoe moet je het beschouwen?

LP:  Wel, het Federaal Agenschap Voor Nucleare Controle (FANC) is daar heel duidelijk in.  Die zeggen: Je moet dat beschouwen als één grote scheur van 18 cm, we gaan dat ook zo interpreteren, want die kunnen dan gemakkelijker doorscheuren.

MT:  Ja.  Electrabel zegt ook nu, en dat hebben ze ook in het verleden gezegd, “Ja, er is eigenlijk geen nieuw probleem, er zijn geen nieuwe gegevens, alleen blijkt nu dat we betere methodes hebben om dat te meten.”  Maar het FANC maakt zich wél zorgen, want die hebben nieuwe testen geëist.

LP:  Ja

MT:  Wat is me nu weer aan het testen?

LP:  Wel, dat is in de reportage eventjes toegelicht… M’n heeft eigenlijk verleden jaar vastgesteld dat dat staal waar dat die scheurtjes in zitten weldegelijk écht vezwakt.  Wat gebeurd daarmee?  Wanneer er grote temperatuurschokken komen, en dat is met name wanneer je een kernreaktor heel snel moet afkoelen wanneer hij in een gevaarlijke situatie terecht komt, dan breekt het staal veel sneller dan staal zonder scheurtjes.

Dus als je dan plots van 300 graden, dat is de temperatuur waarop een kernreaktor draait, plots moet gaan naar 30 graden, dat is 270 graden verschil, dan zou dat staal, dan zou… nee dan ZAL dat staal met die scheurtjes in sneller breken dan niet-aangetast staal.  Men heeft dat al drie keer onderzocht.  Men is dat nu opnieuw aan het doen.  En het FANC eist daar een verklaring voor.  Waarom is dat?  En zolang die verklaring er niet is zullen de kernreaktoren niet open gaan. MT: Nu, ze liggen al stil nu sinds eind maart vorig jaar.  Denk jij dat ze ooit nog open gaan? LP:  Wel het Federaal Agentschap voor Nucleare Controle (FANC) begint zijn geduld te verliezen.  Die zeggen, “Dit mag niet blijven aanslepen.  We kunnen geen tien keer gaan testen of dat probleem van dat scheurend staal zich opnieuw en opnieuw gaat voordoen.  Dat kan je niet onbeperkt blijven doen.  Bovendien is het ook zo: men is dus opnieuw aan het testen op een blok staal, een Duits blok staal, dat uit een Duitse kernreaktor komt, waar zo ook die blaasjes inzaten.  Die kernreaktor is afgekeurd.  Men had dat toen gezien, toen hij ging aangezet ging worden: Daar zitten onzuiverheden in. Die mocht niet draaien. MT: Door de Duitsers LP:  Door de Duitsers, ja, die hebben die afgekeurd.   En wij zitten daar nu met twee kernreaktoren, waar m’n blijkbaar die scheurtjes niet heeft gezien en die wel draaien, al 30 jaar lang.  De vraag is gaan ze nog verder mogen draaien natuurlijk. MT:  Veel vragen.  Ik denk, Luc, dat we jou nog zullen horen. Dankjewel.

—- end Dutch transcript —

 —Translated transcript (Dutch –> English): —

MT:  Luc Pauwels, our energy specialist.  You sat here nearly two weeks ago, it was Friday the 13th, with new data on those – yes, the now famous, – cracks.   Now it appears that they are even bigger than thought, and it’s Electrabel itself, a credible source, who makes the claim:  the cracks are twice as big.   Is the problem also that much bigger?

LP: Well, they found more, and they’re even bigger, but if that also increases the problem is still in question.  Actually, basically they are now microscopically zooming in on the research results, and what they found is: there are much more impurities in it, and they’re located close to each other.  And we have an example of a steel block here in which are shown cracks.  If you look, you will see several red-lit areas close together. And that is what has arisen:  Do you see that as different cuts, roughly 6 cracks of 3 cm each next to each other, or do you consider it now as one large 18 cm-long tear?

MT:  Okay.  And what should you do now? How should you consider it?

LP: Well, the Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (FANC) is very clear about this. They say:  “You have to consider that as one large tear of 18 cm, and that’s how we will interpret it, because they can easily tear further.”

MT:  Okay.  Electrabel now also says, and they have also said this in the past, “There really is not a new problem, there is no new information, we only have better methods to measure that now.”  But the FANC appears concernd:  They demanded more tests.

LP: Yes

MT: What are they testing now?

LP: Well, that’s touched upon in the report briefly…   This past year they actually determined that steel with crack truly is weaker.  What was discovered?  Well: when there’s large temperature shocks, and that is especially the case when you must quickly cool down a nuclear reactor, such as when they’re in a dangerous situation, in such a case the steel with crack breaks much faster, compared to steel without such cracks. So when you suddenly go from 300 degrees, which is the temperature [of the cooling water in the reactor’s containment vessel] at which a nuclear reactor is running, suddenly to 30 degrees, a 270 [centigrade] degrees difference, then that steel would be … no, then it WILL … break faster if the steel has cracks, compared to non-affected steel.  It has been investigated already three times.  They’re investigating it yet againFANC demands an explanation for the findings.  “Why is this? ” And as long that question is not answered, the nuclear reactors will not be turned back on.

MT: Well, they’ve been off-line since the end of March last year.  Do you think they ever be restarted?

LP: Well, the Federal Agency of Nuclear Control (FANC) is beginning to lose their patience.  They say, “This should linger on and on.  We can not ten times test whether that ripping steel problem will manifest again and again; You can not continue to do so indefinitely.”    By the way, they now are also testing on a block of steel, a German steel block, which came from a German nuclear reactor, one which also had those types of bubbles in it.  That reactor did not pass inspection.  They had noticed the impurities back then, when it was about to be turned on.  That one was never allowed to run.

MT:  The Germans noticed…

LP: Yes, the Germans noticed that and rejected that reactor vessel.  And now we sit here with two nuclear reactors with such tears which apparently were not noticed, and which have been operating for 30 years…  The question is, are they allowed to continue operation?

MT:  Many questions.   I think, Luc, we will hear from you again.   Thank You.

—- end translated transcript —

!–> More information and latest updates might be available through some of the outlets listed on my Nuclear News Links page, such as Simply Info, Enformable, ENEnews, or Greenpeace-Nuclear.

— — — — — — — — —


If you are viewing this page on any website other than it may be plagiarized.  Please let me know.   All content is copyright © Michaël Van Broekhoven, administrator of the Allegedly Apparent Blog.  Content cited, quoted etc. from other sources is under the respective rights of that content owner.  For more details, see my Disclaimer, Share Policy and Fair Use Notice  If you wish to reproduce any of my content in full or in more than a paragraph or quote, please contact me first to (maybe not) obtain permission.

[Except for minor edits, last updated:  February 28, 2015]

This entry was posted in Politics and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Reactor Vessel Steel with Micro-Cracks More Likely to Rupture During Reactor Shutdown. (w/ Transcript & Translation of VRT Belgian TV News Feb. 25, 2015)

  1. Pingback: Anti-Nuclear Protests in Belgium four years after Fukushima | Not All Alleged Is Apparent…

  2. Pingback: A Visit to Belgium’s Nuclear Waste Depository Lab, HADES, 750 feet Underground… | Not All Alleged Is Apparent…

  3. Pingback: The Tibetan Buddhist “Stupa of Miracles” in Huy, Belgium | Not All Alleged Is Apparent…

  4. Pingback: Blip… | Not All Alleged Is Apparent…

  5. Pingback: Nuclear News Links (@ Mid-August 2015) | Not All Alleged Is Apparent…

  6. MVB says:

    And Yup… Insane they are:

    Nov 18, 2015: “Electrabel prepares restart of Doel 3 and Tihange 2”
    SEE more @

  7. Pingback: Dark Morning in Belgium | Allegedly Apparent Blog

  8. Pingback: Suffer Your Interpretation | Allegedly Apparent Blog

  9. Pingback: Does Belgium play a key role in my “Data Thriller Series” of the Spring 2016 Radioactive Cloud that No Media Outlet Dared Touch Upon? | Allegedly Apparent Blog

  10. Pingback: BREAKING: Ruthenium-103, Cobalt-60, Niobium-95 & Cesium-134 Validated Detections in Finland, Cesium-137 Uptick, Artificial BETA upticks in The Netherlands and Italy, as yet another Mystery Radiological Disturbance rolls across Europe… (EURDEP, M

  11. Pingback: 50,000 Demand Closure of Microcracked Nuclear Reactors, some EURDEP, Etc. | Allegedly Apparent Blog

  12. Pingback: Iodine Tablets For Everyone | Allegedly Apparent Blog

Thank you for commenting. Your comment won't show until approved. Sometimes that can take awhile. - mvb

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.