(Reuters) - Dominion Virginia Power has discovered two damaged nuclear fuel rods at its North Anna power plant, 90 miles (140 km) southwest of Washington, and has shut it down, a spokesman said on Tuesday.

Dominion Virginia Power, a unit of Dominion Resources Inc, said it discovered the rods during a routine refueling at the 34-year-old power plant northwest of Richmond.

The company shut down the reactor on Sept. 7 and reported the incident to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Sept. 17.

The two damaged nuclear rods released about 15 radioactive uranium fuel pellets into the reactor cooling system. The radioactive material was contained to the reactor system and poses no environmental threat, according to the company.

The spokesman declined to say when the plant would resume operations, citing competitive reasons. The North Anna plant generates nearly 2,000 megawatts, enough electricity to power 450,000 homes.


(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)