OAK HARBOR, OH (Toledo News Now) - The United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission has approved a plan to repair cracks in the shield building at First Energy's Davis Besse Nuclear Power Plant in Oak Harbor.
Cracks were discovered in the facility's shield building last October by contractors who were replacing Davis Besse's reactor head. The shield building is made of concrete and protects the plant's reactor from outside threats.
First Energy, the owner of Davis Besse, determined the cracks were due to moisture freezing inside the structure, causing it to expand during the great blizzard of '78.
First energy has proposed applying a weather proofing substance to the concrete and plans to monitor any developing problems.
"What we will be doing is periodically inspecting the building again. We'll look at the existing cracks and make sure that they do not expand, and we'll also look for new cracks," said Todd Schneider with First Energy.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has reviewed First Energy's proposals and deemed the solution acceptable, stressing that the entire process will be monitored by the NRC.
"We will observe the application of the material. We will follow up on the corrective action and the future monitor will independently review that," said Chuck Castro of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Opponents to nuclear power, led by Cleveland Congressman Dennis Kucinich believe the shield building should be rebuilt rather than repaired.
"Maybe they don't want to do it because of the costs, but the fact of the matter is that the safety of the people of northern Ohio and the safety of Lake Erie – protecting their drinking water ought to be a paramount concern," said Congressman Dennis Kucinich.
Others are not buying that the blizzard caused the cracks.
"I will not believe that that's a cause just showing up now 33 years later," said one woman in attendance at the meeting.
First Energy says they will begin sealing the cracks next week.
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