‘Cracked’ OH Nuke Can Restart

Tuesday, December 6, 2011 @ 02:12 PM gHale

An Ohio nuclear reactor can now reopen after regulators found cracks discovered in concrete at the plant don’t pose a safety concern.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) said the operator of the nuclear plant along Lake Erie has given them reasonable assurance cracks found on the outside of the reactor containment building don’t pose a safety threat.

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The Davis-Besse plant outside Toledo shut down in October for installation of the 82-ton reactor head. Soon afterward, crews discovered a 30-foot hairline crack in the outer wall.

During the entire procedure, the reactor remained contained and protected by separate 1 1/2-inch steel and 2-foot concrete structures through which workers cut a large hole to provide external access for replacing the reactor head.

After they cut the concrete, workers discovered an “indication” of a 30-foot hairline crack, and subsequent tests revealed similar “indications” throughout the structure. FirstEnergy later said most such cracks were in decorative “architectural” concrete attached to the building’s exterior to give it texture, but also disclosed it was investigating several “indications” of cracks of a different nature in the concrete.

The reactor head replacement wrapped up and they welded the steel removed to create the access hole back into place and pressure tested, said FirstEnergy spokesperson Jennifer Young.

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