Belgium to re-start two reactors halted since 2012

The Belgian authorities have agreed to restart two nuclear reactors which were closed down in 2012 after micro-cracks were found, sparking fears about their safety in the aftermath of Japan's Fukushima disaster.

Belgium's nuclear safety authority, AFCN, is expected to announce the decision formally later Friday.

In a document seen by AFP, the AFCN said one reactor at the Tihange plant and another at Doel "could be restarted in full confidence because all the safety issues ... have been resolved satisfactorily."

Many "potential cracks" were found during inspections early last year at the base of Doel 3 reactor vessel, near the northern city of Antwerp, which was closed in June, as well as Tihange 2, near the southern city of Liege.

The two reactor vessels are among the most modern of the seven operated by Electrabel, part of the French giant GDF-Suez.

Environmental groups oppose restarting the reactors and have called on the government to delay.