MONTPELIER, Vt. – The Vermont Yankee nuclear plant shut down Sunday night after workers detected radioactive water seeping from a leaky pipe in the complex.

A Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesman said the public is not in any danger.

Plant spokesman Larry Smith said the reactor was taken out of service about 7 p.m. He said it would take about 13 hours for it to cool down enough for technicians to enter the area where the repair needs to be made.

Smith did not know how long it would take to fix the pipe once the work begins this morning.

Smith said the leak of about 60 drops a minute was spotted earlier Sunday. The water was being collected by a sump pump and cycled back through the system, he said.

NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan said agency inspectors were overseeing the shutdown. He said the water would have low levels of radioactivity. “The levels are so low, they really wouldn’t be harmful to anybody,” Sheehan said Sunday.