MONTICELLO  (AP) -- A major manufacturer in the nuclear industry is reporting a potential "substantial safety hazard" with control rods more than two dozen nuclear reactors around the country, including the Xcel plant near Monticello.

GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy told federal regulators that has discovered extensive cracking and "material distortion," and likely would recommend that the boiling water reactors using its Marathon control rod blades replace them more frequently than they had been told to previously.

Monticello site vice president Tim O'Connor says four of about 120 control rod blades potentially could be affected. O'Connor says the affected blades will be replaced in a refueling outage scheduled to begin in early March.

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