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NRC Sends Additional Inspectors To Duke Nuclear Plant

Federal nuclear regulators have begun a special inspection of Duke Energy's Catawba Nuclear Plant on Lake Wylie. The plant abruptly lost power last Wednesday, causing a reactor to shut down. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission initially had resident inspectors at the plant review the situation but has now sent three additional experts to do a more thorough examination. Duke Energy spokeswoman Mary Kathryn Green says the company welcomes the inspection and will cooperate fully. Green says Duke's inspectors believe a small pinhole in the insulation of a cable associated with a coolant pump for the reactor caused a chain reaction that shutdown the plant's electrical switchyard. Back up generators came on immediately, so Duke Energy says the public was not at risk during the incident. Green says both reactors at the Catawba plant remain off. The NRC's inspection report will be issued within 45 days.