Scientists are questioning whether the building housing the Davis-Besse nuclear reactor near Cleveland was properly designed after contractors found a long hairline crack in the structure, while conducting repairs.
The Union of Concerned Scientists, in a letter to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, says it is concerned the engineering specifications for the building’s concrete walls may not have been adequate from the beginning, said the Cleveland Plain-Dealer
. The group also wants to know how much of the building’s walls have been inspected for interior cracking.
Their questions could delay the reactor’s restarting unless FirstEnergy Corp., which owns the reactor, shows its inspections, analysis, and original engineering documents prove the 35-year-old plant was properly designed.
FirstEnergy said Monday the building was inspected extensively, arguing its walls were properly designed. The company wants to restart the reactor at the end of the month.
The stand alone 35-year-old structure is designed to protect the reactor from several threats, including terrorism attack or a tornado.
Engineers found the hairline crack while using high-pressure water cutting tools to cut a new opening through the building’s facade. The Akron-based company retained engineers, who found numerous small cracks in the building’s external facade.
FirstEnergy insists the elements were heavily considered when the buildings were erected, and the work is safe to continue.
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