May 17, 2013 / 10:21 AM / in 5 years

UPDATE 1-Belgian regulator clears GDF to restart nuclear reactors

* A third of Belgium’s nuclear capacity closed since last yr

* Reactors should restart in 2-3 weeks (Recasts with regulator confirmation)

By Philip Blenkinsop

BRUSSELS, May 17 (Reuters) - Belgium’s nuclear safety regulator has given approval for GDF Suez to restart two nuclear reactors closed last year over safety concerns, it said in a report on Friday.

“The Federal Agency for Nuclear Control considers that the Doel 3 and Tihange 2 reactor units can be restarted safely,” the report said.

It added that all of the safety concerns had been resolved satisfactorily.

Belgium halted the 1,006-megawatt (MW) Doel 3 reactor in August last year after indications of cracks were discovered on the core tank during ultrasound checks.

A month later, it found similar flaws on the 1,008-MW Tihange 2 after it tested the tank during a routine stoppage, leaving Belgium without a third of its nuclear power generation capacity.

It will take two to three weeks to restart the reactors, a spokeswoman for GDF Suez’s Belgian division Electrabel said following the decision. (Writing by Ben Deighton; Editing by Rex Merrifield and Mark Potter)

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