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Updated Oct 15, 2013 - 12:07 pm

Inspection reveals tiny leak in Arizona nuclear reactor vessel

WINTERSBURG, Ariz. -- Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station engineers are studying how to repair a tiny leak of water from the reactor vessel of one of the plant's three units.

Officials said the situation doesn't represent a public health threat.

Plant spokesman Alan Bunnell said evidence of the leak consisted of residue around a pipe. That pipe is on the outside of the bottom of the reactor vessel that normally holds the unit's radioactive fuel.

Bunnell and a federal inspector said the leak was discovered during an inspection after the unit shut down Oct. 5 for refueling. And

Bunnell said operators believe the leak resulted from a tiny crack in the welding that connects the pipe to the reactor vessel.

He said repairs could extend the scheduled 30-day outage by 30 more days.

The plant is located about 45 miles west of downtown Phoenix.

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