CORRECTED-(OFFICIAL)-Norway considering closure of research nuclear reactor

(Corrects to show closure being considered (not closure agreed), ministry says details of possible closure released prematurely)

OSLO, June 27 (Reuters) - The closure of a research nuclear reactor in Norway that has experienced financial and technical issues in the last few years, including a radioactive leak in 2016, will be considered at a board meeting of the Institute of Energy Technology (IFE) on Wednesday, the government said.

The small reactor, owned by the IFE foundation and located in a mountain cave in the town of Halden in southern Norway, has been temporarily closed since March due to a valve failure.

The Nordic country has two nuclear reactors, one in Halden and one outside Oslo. Both are owned and run by the independent IFE Foundation.

The government has provided additional support in recent years to maintain the expertise of the reactor, it said.

In October 2016, a leak in Halden’s reactor was detected, which caused the evacuation of its staff, with no injuries sustained and no environmental damage outside the facility.

The small reactor, able to produce up to 25 megawatts, was built in the late 1950s some 120 km (75 miles) south of Oslo. Norway does not have nuclear power stations and its two research reactors only study nuclear safety issues. (Reporting by Lefteris Karagiannopoulos; editing by Jason Neely)