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Argentine Reactor Leaks Water, but Radiation Contained in Plant

December 26, 1987|United Press International

BUENOS AIRES — Fifty tons of radioactive water leaked from a pressure chamber inside one of Argentina's two nuclear power reactors, but no radiation was released outside the plant, the government's Atomic Energy Commission has reported.

The accident occurred earlier this week at the Atocha 1 generator, 173 miles north of Buenos Aires, as the plant was being restarted after a three-month shutdown for maintenance and routine repairs. The commission's statement said 50 tons of radioactive heavy water spilled into a containment reservoir when a plug in the reactor's pressure chamber became unfastened.

"The incident did not cause any contamination of the atmosphere, and there is no danger to the population," the commission said. None of the operators at the reactor were contaminated, a commission spokesman said.

Sources at the commission said technicians forgot to close a plug on one of the pressure chamber pipes and the water escaped as pressure increased.

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