Second tiny fuel leak found at Richland nuclear plant

RICHLAND, Wash. (AP) — A leak the size of a pinhole has been discovered in a second fuel rod at Energy Northwest's nuclear power plant near Richland.

The Tri-City Herald reports ( ) that this week's discovery of the defect at the Columbia Generating Station comes after another leak was detected last week. The tiny leaks could be caused by a manufacturing glitch or by a foreign object.

The exact cause will not be determined until the plant's next refueling outage in May 2017, when the plant will reduce power to about 0.3 percent per day.

The discovery of both leaks was prompted by findings that showed slightly higher levels of xenon and krypton gasses in the reactor's recirculation system.

Despite the leaks, the plant is still producing electricity at full power.