Two Belgian nuclear reactors may be closed permanently: state media

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A man cycles towards Doel's nuclear plant

A man cycles towards Doel's nuclear plant, northern Belgium August 20, 2014. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Two Belgian nuclear reactors owned by GDF-Suez unit Electrabel may remain offline until spring and may need to be halted permanently, Belgian state broadcaster VRT reported on Tuesday.

The Belgian nuclear regulator ordered production to be stopped at the 1,008 megawatt Tihange 2 reactor and the 1,006 megawatt Doel 3 reactor in 2012 after finding indications of cracks in their core tanks.

After reopening in May of 2013, the reactors were closed again in March of this year for further tests after inspections uncovered irregularities in the strength of the tanks.

The interim results of the tests, which are not yet completed, show the tanks are weakened by the cracks and may need to remain closed until spring or may even remain shut permanently, VRT reported citing sources.

Electrabel was not immediately available for comment.

With another reactor, Doel 4, also closed because of damage to its turbine, just over 3 GW of Belgian nuclear capacity is offline, more than half of the total.

(The story was refiled to correct the Reuters instrument code for GDF in first paragraph)

(Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek; Editing by Andrew Heavens and David Holmes)