A reactor at a nuclear plant in southern China was shut down for “maintenance” due to minor fuel damage, the operator said on Friday, after an increase in radioactivity levels previously sparked fears of a leak . Chinese authorities last month blamed minor fuel rod damage for a build-up of radioactive gases at the Taishan plant in Guangdong province , describing it as a “common phenomenon” with no need for concern. French nuclear firm Framatome, which helps operate the plant, last month reported a “performance issue” which caused the US government to look into the possibility of a leak. “After lengthy conversations between French and Chinese technical personnel, Taishan Nuclear Power Plant ... decided to shut down Unit 1 for maintenance,” China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN) said Friday in an online statement, adding that “a small amount of fuel damage” occurred during the operation of the reactor. CGN said that both units of the plant had “maintained safe and stable operations throughout” and the faulty reactor was “completely under control”. Engineers would now “find the cause of fuel damage and replace the damaged fuel”, the statement added. There were more than 60,000 fuel rods in the core unit and the proportion of damaged rods was “less than 0.01 per cent”, China’s environment ministry and nuclear regulator said previously. They called the damage “inevitable” due to factors including fuel manufacturing and transport. French energy giant EDF – the majority owner of Framatome – also previously blamed the build-up of gases in one of Taishan’s reactors on the deteriorating of coating on some uranium fuel rods. EDF said it was first informed about the fuel rod problem in October, but only learned about the gas build-up in mid-June.