The Shearon Harris Nuclear Power Plant, located near Raleigh (North Carolina), has been shut down today because of a serious emergency as a major crack in the reactor was discovered.
The crack measuring a quarter inch wide (~65mm) was not all the way through the reactor (meaning that it was almost all the way through the reactor?) and apparently no radioactive material has escaped yet.
Robots will need to be used for the repairs, as the crack is in a highly radioactive area.
The crack showed up in a secondary revision of tests performed last year.
While the owner, Duke Energy, minimizes the importance of this problem, it is a fact that cracks may force the total closure of a nuclear reactor because of the massive costs of repairing them. DE already lost another nuclear power plant in Florida in 2009 after the cost of reparations became overwhelming.