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Panel orders 5 A-reactors shut for faults in pipes

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission ordered five commercial reactors to shut down within 30 days for extensive inspection and possible repair of pipe corrosion and cracking in crucial cooling water lines.

The four commissioners took the action after NRC experts told them that at least 11 other nuclear reactors have experienced potentially dangerous cracking in their piping.

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Harold Denton, NRC director of reactor regulation, said that if the corrosion problem were left unchecked, it could lead to a ''major leak'' at a reactor, triggering a meltdown of the reactor core.