Japan utility says nuke reactor had crack in pipe

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WIRE:04/10/2000 01:27:00 ET Japan utility says nuke reactor had crack in pipe TOKYO, April 10 (Reuters) - Kansai Electric Power Co Inc, Japan's second biggest utility, said on Monday it had found a small crack in a pipe at its nuclear reactor which was shut down last week after it leaked cooling water. There was no leak of radiation into the environment from the incident at the number two Mihama power plant in Fukui Prefecture, some 350 km (220 miles) northwest of Tokyo on the Sea of Japan coast, he said.

A spokesman for Kansai Electric said it was not clear at this stage when the utility would be able to resume operations at the reactor.

The leak was discovered at around 10 a.m. (0100 GMT) last Friday, and the company began manually shutting down the plant at around noon that day. The spokesman said the volume of the coolant leak was estimated at around 500-600 litres.

Nuclear power accounts for about a third of Japan's electricity demand.

A series of accidents at nuclear-related facilities in recent years, including the nation's worst nuclear accident at a uranium processing plant last September, has heightened public distrust of nuclear power.

At 0438 GMT, Kansai Electric shares were down 1.31 percent or 21 yen at 1,580 yen.


-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), April 10, 2000

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