Nuclear scare in Mol: "No radioactivity"

The Study Centre for Nuclear Energy in Mol (SCK-CEN) was confronted with a leak in the cooling system for its research reactor. The incident did not lead to any radioactivity escaping, the SCK says. However, it was discussed by the nuclear watchdog, the Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (FANC) today.

The research reactor BR2 in Mol (Antwerp province) was taken offline around 6pm yesterday after a leak was discovered in the so-called secondary cooling water circuit. This circuit is used for extra cooling during nuclear experiments and not for the cooling of the reactor itself.

An amount of cooling water ended up on the road between the reactor and the cooling towers. "There was never a risk for public health or for the environment", the SCK-SEN said. "This was also confirmed by measurements. There were no consequences for the safety of the reactor itself."

An investigation has been started into the cause of the accident. The nuclear watchdog FANC is discussing the incident today.

BR2 was put online in 1962. It is said to be one of the most powerful and flexible research reactors in the world. It accounts for 20 to 25 percent of the global production of the main radio-isotopes. These are used to diagnose and to treat cancer.