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Davis Besse releases root cause report
The nuclear power plant points to a lack of waterproofing and a 1978 blizzard

Web Editor
M.L. Schultze

Akron-based FirstEnergy says the root cause of cracks in the concrete shield at the Davis-Besse nuclear plant was a lack of weatherproofing and a blizzard 33 years ago.

It also argues in its report to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that the shield building is structurally sound and able to protect the building.

Last year, crews installing a new reactor head at the plant discovered long hairline cracks in the shield. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission allowed FirstEnergy to restart the reactor, but required a “root-cause” report, which was released today.  

Spokeswoman for the NRC,  Prema (PRAY-ma) Chandrathil (Chan-dra-thil) says the commission will start analyzing it soon.

Chandrathil on the NRC's analysis of the report.

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“We are going to be viewing their analysis, we’re also going to be reviewing the company’s corrected actions and their long-term monitoring program with their shield building with the cracks,” she says. 

Chandrathil says the NRC will schedule a public meeting to release its conclusions of the root cause report.

The root cause report says the lack of weatherproofing allowed moisture from the blizzard of 1978 to seep into the concrete, and freeze and expand. The company insists that there is nothing wrong with the design or construction.

The shield is designed to protect reactors from a range of things from tornados to terrorists. 

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