Nuclear plant explosion no danger for Netherlands, Belgium

Centrale_nucléaire_de_Doel
The Doel Nuclear Power Station in Beveren, Belgium. Across the Schelde River is a BASF facility that leads to the Dutch border. January 23, 2012 (photo: Alexandre Jacquemin / Wikimedia). (The Doel Nuclear Power Station in Beveren, Belgium. Across the Schelde River is a BASF facility that leads to the Dutch border. January 23, 2012 (photo: Alexandre Jacquemin / Wikimedia))

An explosion at a nuclear power plant in Beveren, Belgium posed no threat for the surrounding area, a spokesman told Belgian media. A transformer blew up, causing a small fire at the site of Doel 1, a nuclear reactor that was closed down in February.

Doel Nuclear Power Station sits just five kilometers south of the Dutch border with Belgium. Nine million people live within a 75-kilometer radius of the plant, making it the most densely populated area to house a nuclear reactor in all of Europe, according to a 2011 analysis by science journal Nature and Columbia University in New York.

There was no fuel present at the reactor, and fire personnel were able to extinguish the flames, spokesman Els De Clercq told Belgium news organization HLN. The on-site fire department was assisted by fire fighters from nearby Beveren.

The incident took place at about 11 p.m. on Saturday. The cause of the explosion and extent of damages was unknown as of 8 a.m. the following day.

No power outages were reported because of the explosion or resulting fire.

The Doel complex is roughly 20 kilometers northwest of Antwerp, and 30 kilometers south of the Dutch city Bergen op Zoom in Noord-Brabant.

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