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Three Mile Island studying new leak

By WITH ANALYSIS FROM MONITOR CORRESPONDENTS AROUND THE WORLD, EDITED BY RANDY SHIPP / December 12, 1980



Middletown, Pa.

Technicians conducted a fifth inspection tour inside the sealed reactor at Three Mile Island and a company official disclosed a new radiation leak at the facility. Metropolitan Edison Company vice-president Robert Arnold said he was concerned about high levels of radioactive cesium and strontium discovered about two weeks ago at a sealed doorway connecting the crippled Unit No. 2 reactor building to an auxiliary building.

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The inspection was conducted to try to get the first close-up look at a damaged nuclear fuel vessel involved in the March 28, 1979, nuclear accident, which caused a major release of radiation into the atmosphere and left the interior of the containment building highly radioactive.

Mr. Arnold said plant officials did not believe the new radiation leak was coming from the reactor containment building itself, but "we do not have the confidence level that we would like to have" to rule it out. He said discovery of the leak "suggests once more that we do have to worry about the reactor building leakage."