Alert at N.Y. A-plant is eased to 'recovery'

The nuclear alert at the damaged Ginna power near Rochester, N.Y., was downgraded Tuesday morning to recovery phase as the reactor temperature moved toward a complete cold shutdown, officials said. The plant was closed down Monday because of a radioactive steam leak that touched off the worst nuclear alarm since the Three Mile Island accident.

A pipe in the cooling system burst Monday, leading to the release of a small amount of radioactive gas from the plant, less than 20 miles from populous Rochester. The leak automatically switched off the reactor and forced evacuation of 100 employees. Then the Rochester Gas & Electric Corporation said the threat to the public had passed.

A Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesman said the plant would probably remain closed for three to four months.

And in Vernon, Vt., Tuesday, the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant was shut down early to repair a low-pressure steam leak, which officials said posed no hazard to public health.

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