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Investigation into sabotage at Doel nuclear power plant

12:50 11/08/2014

The federal anti-terrorism agency OCAD has joined in an investigation of an oil leak at the nuclear power reactor Doel 4 in Beveren, East Flanders. Last week the agency for nuclear control (Fanc) said it was looking into allegations of sabotage.

The reactor was shut down unexpectedly last week, after about 90,000 litres of oil leaked into the steam turbine, causing it to overheat. Electricity producer Electrabel called it “an apparently deliberate manual intervention”.  A spokesperson for Fanc said inspectors had been to the scene and found “indications” that the leak had been caused deliberately.

The investigation began with representatives of the agency and Electrabel interviewing members of staff. The prosecutor’s office of Dendermonde was then included in the enquiry, according to Jan Bens, director of Fanc, who previously served as the director of the Doel plant.

“There are numerous cameras on the site, but they don’t see everything,” he said. “Several hundred people have access to the technical zone where the incident took place. The prosecutor is now leading the investigation with our co-operation.”

Both Electrabel and Fanc stressed that the zone where the leak took place is not connected to the reactor, and that the nuclear zone was at no point at risk. However, many of those with access to the technical zone also have access to the nuclear zone.

Later it was revealed that OCAD was also involved in the investigation. At present, investigators have said only that they are assuming the involvement of one or more people, who may have set off the leak deliberately or accidentally.

“We are ruling nothing out,” said Jurgen Coppens of the prosecutor’s office. “We’re dealing with very recent events, so it’s still far too early to talk about results.”


photo by Alan Hope

Written by Alan Hope