North Carolina nuclear plant shut down after crack discovered
RALEIGH, N.C. – A nuclear plant near North Carolina's capital city was shut down after operators reviewing ultrasonic tests from last year found the results showed tiny marks of corrosion and cracking that need repair, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said.
Operators at the Shearon Harris plant on Wednesday found a quarter-inch flaw in the covering of the reactor vessel, which contains superheated steam produced by the nuclear reaction's energy.
The crack did not penetrate the vessel head and there is no evidence of radiation leakage, an NRC incident report said. The discovery did not affect the health and safety of employees or the public at the New Hill plant, federal regulators said.
NRC inspectors will want to ask plant owner Duke Energy Corp. — which acquired the 26-year-old plant through its buyout last year of Progress Energy — why the testing performed during a spring refueling outage last year didn't find the problem, agency spokesman Roger Hannah said Thursday.
"I think that's a question, from our perspective, that we'd like to have answered," Hannah said. "We'll follow up on that to see if it was something that should have been seen."
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