Camera Reveals Cracks in Ohio Nuclear Plant’s Concrete Shield

TOLEDO (AP) — The operator of an Ohio nuclear plant along Lake Erie has found several more cracks in the concrete building housing the nuclear reactor and says some cracks found earlier have grown a bit.

But the findings do not mean the structure shielding the nuclear reactor at the Davis-Besse plant near Toledo is unsafe, FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Corp. said on Friday.

“The robust building continues to function safely and reliably,” site Vice President Ray Lieb said in a statement.

The reinforced concrete building surrounds a 11/2-inch-thick carbon steel vessel containing the reactor and is intended to protect the plant from events such as storms or terrorist attacks, and protect the public from a catastrophe.

The company said high-definition cameras used for inspecting core samples identified cracks not visible with previous inspection equipment.

Several hairline cracks were found in the structure’s 21/2-foot-thick concrete two years ago. FirstEnergy determined they were caused by wind-blown moisture seeping into the concrete and freezing during a blizzard, and that the structural integrity wasn’t affected.

At that time, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission accepted a company proposal to weatherproof the concrete and set up a monitoring and testing program to make sure the building remains sound. The agency said on Friday that it was aware of the latest findings.

“Based on the current information, this issue does not compromise the safety of the plant or the public,” the agency said in a statement.