A crack has been found in the core shroud of a nuclear reactor and the utility that operates the site announced Tuesday that the defect must be repaired.
Carolina Power & Light Co. officials described the crack as microscopic. They said the 767-megawatt Unit 1 reactor at its Brunswick nuclear power plant on the Atlantic coast has been shut down since April, 1992, for unrelated repairs.
The crack, which the utility attributed to normal stress and internal corrosion, was discovered by company workers in July.
Nuclear Regulatory Commission officials said the crack was the first of its kind to be found on a U.S. unit. They added that there was no release of radioactive material at the plant, located near Cape Fear, N.C.
The utility said the repairs could keep the unit off line for an additional four weeks, returning to service in December.
The reactor shroud is a 14-foot-wide stainless steel cylinder that surrounds the nuclear core and directs the water that flows over the core to produce steam.