A steam pipe at Chubu Electric Power Co.’s Hamaoka nuclear plant in Shizuoka Prefecture ruptured instantly under enormous pressure last month, causing a radioactive steam leak, the plant’s operator and the government’s nuclear body said Thursday.

The utility firm and the Nuclear Safety and Industrial Agency, which have been looking into the cause of the Nov. 7 accident, said a “ductile fraction” caused the rupture, as characteristic dimples were detected in a cross section of the carbon steel pipe.

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