90 municipalities going to court to have Tihange 2 closed

Some 90 municipalities from border regions in Germany, the Netherlands and Luxembourg are taking legal action to have the nuclear plant Tihange 2 (Liège) closed. They are making preparations to take energy suppliers Electrabel, who manage the plant, and the Belgian nuclear watchdog FANC to court, according to press reports in De Standaard, Het Nieuwsblad and Het Belang van Limburg.

The recent spate of ominous reports on Tihange 2 has been sparking unrest and major concerns in Belgium's neighbouring countries for several months. Now, it turns out they are preparing legal action to have Tihange 2 taken offline. Enough is enough, is the argument.

Tihange 2 has made the headlines various times as the reactor vessel contains small cracks. This has mainly sparked concerns in the Aachen region in western Germany and in the Dutch Limburg region. A study by the Vienna Institute of Safety and Risk Sciences shows that these regions, apart from Belgium, are exposed to major risk in the case of a nuclear accident. Large parts of Dutch Limburg province - 50 to 60 percent - would become inhabitable. For Aachen this is 10 percent.

"This risk is unacceptable"

Local municipalities have decided they can't take this risk, labelling it as "unacceptable". Professor Wolfgang Renneberg, the head of the German nuclear watchdog, says that the doubts surrounding the safety of the reactor vessels in Doel 3 and Tihange 2 haven't been wiped out.

Engie-Electrabel claims Belgium's nuclear reactors are "among the safest in the world". "We have a strong safety culture. Our people are trained to avoid accidents. Nuclear reactors are taken offline whenever there is the slightest problem."

Tihange 2 was offline for months to allow research into the problem, but was deemed safe enough to be restarted, also by the FANC.