May 22 (Reuters) - The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) said Wednesday that it was launching a special inspection at Duke Energy Corp's Harris nuclear power plant in North Carolina over a 'quarter-inch flaw' on the plant's reactor vessel head.
Duke shut the 900-megawatt (MW) plant on May 15 when further analysis of ultrasonic data gathered during an earlier refueling outage revealed an irregularity about one-quarter inch long near a nozzle on the vessel head.
Duke normally does not comment on the length of outages for competitive reasons but in this case said the repair would take a few weeks, Kim Crawford, a spokeswoman at Duke, told Reuters.
The company commented after some mistaken information had been published about the plant, she said.
The flaw did not penetrate the vessel head wall and there was no evidence of leakage, the NRC said.
Duke said it has already begun the repair process.
'There was no immediate threat to the public or plant workers,' Victor McCree, NRC Region II Administrator, said in a release.
'Because the discovery is on the vessel head and was not seen in the original review, we are sending specialists from our Atlanta office to further evaluate the issue,' McCree added.
The plant is located near New Hill about 20 miles (32 km) southwest of Raleigh, the state's capital.
(Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Phil Berlowitz) Keywords: UTILITIES OPERATIONS/DUKE HARRIS
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