(Corrects Reuters instrument code for GDF in first paragraph)
BRUSSELS Aug 20 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.
(Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek; Editing by Andrew Heavens
and David Holmes)