Alert triggered at Pennsylvania nuclear plant

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August 10, 2010 11:22:59 AM PDT
A nuclear power plant in northeastern Pennsylvania has been partially evacuated because of a non-radioactive refrigerant leak.

PPL Corp. said Freon gas was detected leaking from a chiller in the Unit 1 reactor building of the Susquehanna plant in Berwick around 9 a.m. Tuesday. The Allentown-based utility said the affected building was evacuated, not the entire plant.

PPL spokesman Joseph Scopelliti said the chiller cools equipment within the reactor building. He said PPL switched to its backup chiller and the reactor remains at full power.

No injuries have been reported and teams are trying to find the source of the leak.

Freon is an ozone-depleting gas that can cause dizziness and an irregular heartbeat when inhaled, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.