The German city of Aachen is set to sue a nearby Belgian nuclear power plant due to the hazardous nature of the facility. The border city's authorities say the nuclear station officials have not satisfactorily conducted safety checks before restarting the ageing plant.
According to the lawsuit, which is set to be formally filed, the Tihange power station was made operational without rectifying the cracks in the protective concrete. The suit, unanimously agreed by the government officials of the metropolitan area, will be filed in a Belgian administrative court.
"In recent weeks, the nuclear power plants Doel and Tihange have had several hazardous incidents. People in the 'three-country region' [of German, Belgium and the Netherlands] are deeply unsettled and worried," reads a press statement by Aachen authorities.
One of the nuclear reactors – Tihange 2 – of the power facility was shut down after hairline cracks appeared in the outer concrete in March 2014. However, it was taken online in March 2015 without necessary precautions, alleges the legal team of Aachen, according to German broadcaster Deutsche Welle.
The suit aims to close both Tihange 2 and Tihange 1 reactors eventually. Belgium gets 60% of its power supply from seven nuclear reactors, but the country is gradually phasing out its dependability on nuclear power.
"People are starting to realise what's happening across the border. They're scared because nobody is really prepared for something happening in Tihange. We don't even have iodine. I want the Belgian government to shut the reactor," a student named Simon Sybertz was quoted as saying by the Guardian. Local leaders have welcomed the legal action but it appears the judicial process could even take years to get completed.