updated 6/4/2008 4:27:58 PM ET 2008-06-04T20:27:58

Slovenia shut down the reactor at its nuclear power plant after a water leak Wednesday, the country's nuclear watchdog said. There was no danger to people or the environment, the group said.

European Union headquarters, which issued an alert to its 27 member nations after Slovenia informed it about the incident, later said Slovenia had informed it the reactor was completely shut down. The EU said the situation was under control.

In the alert to its members, the EU said no discharge into the environment was immediately detected.

The statement issued by Slovenia's Nuclear Safety Administration said the reactor at the Krsko power plant was being shut down "as a precaution" so that technicians could inspect the cause of the problem.

The head of the agency, Dr. Andrej Stritar, said in the statement that "there has been no impact on the environment and none is expected" following the Wednesday afternoon leak in Krsko in northwestern Slovenia.

He said the "event did not affect employees, the nearby population or the environment."

Shutdown in progress
The EU's executive body said Slovene authorities informed it about a problem with the primary cooling system at the plant and that a safe shutdown procedure was carried out.

"A loss of coolant has occurred in the primary cooling system," said the statement from the European Commission. "At the moment of issuing this press release, the power of the reactor was at 22 percent and the safe shutdown is still in progress."

The EU later said the reactor was completely shut down.

It said the alert from Slovenia came at 5:38 p.m. The information was immediately passed on to all EU nations and an emergency team at the EU's energy directorate was placed on alert.

In neighboring Austria, the Environment Ministry said it confirmed initial reports suggesting that Slovenia's Krsko nuclear power plant did not release radioactivity during Wednesday's malfunction of its cooling system.

Ministry spokesman Daniel Kapp said radiation readings in the area were "within normal levels," and he said the plant continued to function at 22 percent capacity.

The plant was built in the 1980s and is jointly owned by Slovenia and neighboring Croatia. It has one 2,000 MW reactor.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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