Vermont Yankee goes to 40% power

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The Vermont Yankee nuclear plant was forced to reduce its power output by 60% today after staff at the Vernon reactor detected problems with one of its two cooling towers.

Neil Sheehan, a spokesman for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said the problems did not raise a safety concern at the plant.

But he said if they continued, they likely would cause the plant to violate its state water discharge permit by having to rely more on Connecticut River water for cooling.

Sheehan says the problem came to light late last week, when plant technicians heard rubbing that he says originated with a fan in one of the cooling towers.

Sheehan says the plant likely would be operating at about 40% of its output while repairs are under way.

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