Gap in concrete wall found at Davis-Besse

NRC plans to send more inspectors
Associated Press
Feb 16, 2014

 

Workers at a nuclear plant along Lake Erie found a gap within the concrete of a protective wall while the plant was shut down to replace two steam generators, its operator said.
 
Officials at the Davis-Besse nuclear plant near Toledo described the gap as an air pocket and said they don’t believe it affected the structural integrity of the shield wall.

A spokeswoman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said it’s too early to determine whether the gap found Thursday posed a problem.

“That is the question we expect the company to provide us an answer with, and we will assess it before making a determination,” NRC spokeswoman Viktoria Mitlyng told The (Toledo) Blade.

The agency plans to send more inspectors to the plant operated by Akron-based FirstEnergy Corp.

FirstEnergy spokeswoman Jennifer Young said the gap runs along the length of a 25-foot cut made in 2011 when a new reactor head was brought into the plant.

The gap is six to 12 inches wide. “It’s probably an air pocket that got in there when the concrete was poured,” Young said.

She said there’s no sign of it on the outside of the mostly concrete-and-steel structure, which is intended to protect the plant from events like storms or terrorist attacks and protect the public in the event of a catastrophe.

FirstEnergy will eventually seal the structure again once its new steam generators are installed.

“They will have to address this void before they start up,” Mitlyng said. We will be evaluating how they handle the concrete pouring and the conditions to make sure these conditions do not recur. We need to understand what happened and why, and what possible implications there might have been”

The shield structure at Davis-Besse came under scrutiny three years ago after several hairline cracks were found in the concrete. FirstEnergy determined they were caused by moisture seeping into the concrete during a blizzard and that the structural integrity wasn’t affected.

The utility said in September that more cracks were found, but said the structure was safe. Antinuclear groups questioned whether the structure was compromised after the first cracks were found.

Regulators and FirstEnergy both think the cracks are unrelated to gap in the concrete found this past week.

Comments

mikeylikesit

no big deal folks, nothing to see here. move along now..

Truth2u

Remember, this inspection is being done under the powers of the administration that says there's no illegal activity in the IRS, not even a smidgen. And we can keep our doctors and our monthly premiums would not triple but go down. If anything I see our government as a greater possibility of exterminating us than this plant, and they'll do it with restrictions of health care which is already being implemented through Medicare.

Darwin's choice

Nuclear power is the safest power generation we have. After dozens of inspections, x-raying the walls and containment vessels, this air pocket is obviously not in a protective area.
However, if you'd like to shut down these plants, watch what happens to electric costs!

The Big Dog's back

If it has a meltdown, how cheap is the electricity then?

FlyBoy86

"If" is the question you are asking. By doing these inspections, it just goes to show that the system works. If I were to tell you how many aircraft you fly on that have mechanical issues, you would also criticize the FAA and DOT, too.

Truth2u

I agree with you Darwin, and I support Nuke power, I just fear any current government agency under the current administration.

Peninsula Pundit

Your faith in inspections is poorly founded.
Look at that same nuclear power plant.
If inspections worked as well as you claim, how did a hole the size of a football, six inches deep, through solid metal, ever form?
The 'system' didn't seem to be in the best of form then, did it?
In this instance, someone dropped the ball in not discovering the void in the repair after the repair was made. Especially since you and Darwin put so much faith in inspections.
Bottom Line: Inspections are only as good as the diligence of the party requiring them, the inspector performing the inspection and back to the party requesting the inspection to properly respond to the results of the report.

FlyBoy86

And the "system" found that hole, didn't it?

Peninsula Pundit

Frankly, no.

Babo

Actually an employee/engineer was ready to go to the media if the plant didn't come clean on the football size hole. Plant management had no intention of reporting the problem until their feet were held to the fire so to speak.

Apparently the air filters in the plant had to be changed far more often than specification due to rust. The oxidation problem went on for months until somebody said hmmm rust in a nuclear plant is not a good thing and found the hole. Point is there should have been movement at the first sign of rust in the filters.

Peninsula Pundit

Absolutely correct!
Further, the NRC ordered FE to shut down and FE talked the NRC to let it run another month.
And then FE let a middle-level engineer go to jail, like it was his fault for FE's mis-management. The head of FE nuclear fleet should have gone to jail.
Oh, but we don't do that in republi-con america.
Let's find a scapegoat.

ERIE43452

I found an answer to that question Big Dog. The NRC's own 1982 "Calculation of Reactor Accident Consequences" (or CRAC-II report), carried out by Sandia National Lab, reported that a catastrophic radioactivity release at Davis-Besse could cause 1,400 Peak Early Fatalities, 73,000 Peak Early Injuries, 10,000 Peak Cancer Deaths, and $84 billion in property damages. But, as reported by the Associated Press in June 2011, populations have soared around nuclear power plants since the 1970 U.S. Census upon which CRAC-II was based, meaning casualty figures would now be significantly worse. And when adjusted for inflation to year 2011 dollar figures, property damages would now approach $193 billion.

So the study is just as outdated as the nuclear reactors still in operation!

Peninsula Pundit

And the supporters reply,'Oh well, it's the cost of doing business!'

Peninsula Pundit

'After dozens of inspections, x-raying the walls and containment vessels, this air pocket is obviously not in a protective area.'
Really.
Questions I'm sure you can answer, Please enlighten me:
X-rays were performed on this concrete repair patch with the void in it, correct? So why didn't they find the void after repair? If you were going to x-ray anything, you'd inspect the patch and the areas where it connected to the old concrete. Wouldn't you? That tells you all you need to know about inspections.
'....not in a protective area.' My good fellow, what do you imagine is the last line of defense should that reactor pressurize like the one in Fukishima? That same wall you claim is 'not in a protective area.'
Worse, if it did pressurize, God Forbid, the pressure would've blown out that void first, turning that vessel into the biggest whistle in the world. People would be permanently deaf miles away. Not to mention the radioactive waste that would spew out.
To your last point, FE should have been planning on installing the new safe shut down reactors years ago, but they didn't. Extending the life of these 1960's-era relics is certainly not a valid answer going forward.

Darwin's choice

My blathering friend, since your obviously a scientist, or at least stayed at a holiday inn once, or google is your best friend, would know that these power plants were completely overbuilt. The life cycle for them has been extended by decades, and like any machine made on earth, there is wear and tear on them, that has been dealt with as soon as discovered. Your silly ranting about FE not building a "new" safe shut down reactor, is just that, silly, as there hasn't been a reactor permit issued for decades.

So, oh enlightened one, what would your answer be for a replacement?
Maybe you, big dog, coasterfan, and obama, could blow into a turbine pipe, with all the hot air expended, FE would probably pay very well...

FlyBoy86

+1

Peninsula Pundit

First you demonstrate your ignorance and then compound it with this reply.
..'dealt with as soon as it is discovered.'
What if it isn't discovered? Oh, well, the local area becomes a wasteland.
Just the cost of doing business,eh?
'...no permit issued for construction.'
Easy to answer: FE has to APPLY for a permit. Again, they did not. Due Diligence failure. I admit that I haven't done due diligence as to what kind of replacement reactor to put there. Is it asking too much for a company that produces electricity, has a myriad of engineering staff on hand and cared about the safety of all the people living on this end of Ohio could figure it out? We both know that there have been vast improvements in reactor safety in the intervening 50 plus years since D-B was built. Why hasn't FE followed the plan they originally set out when the plant was built? 'License Extensions' were never in the original plan.
'Overbuilt.' Many components of that plant could not be 'overbuilt' to account for 50 years time. The original design life was 25 years. FE wants to extend it to 50, with still no plan for putting in a new reactor. The 'overbuild', you can well imagine, was not 100% overbuild. No one does that and if they had, FE couldn't afford to raise it out of the ground in the mid-70's. FE darn near went bankrupt just getting what they did get built.
You strike me as intelligent enough that I can't help but believe that your 'common sense' side knows what I'm saying is true. In this regard, your posts here have given me pause to consider I may be incorrect.
Do you agree?

Darwin's choice

There hasn't been a permit issued for a nuclear power plant for decades.

There has been many applications, all shot down.

Again, you're preaching to the choir, and again, what's your answer to an alternative, instead of bitching about it? What do you expect FE to do? Shut it down?

Peninsula Pundit

Your point on the applications is wrong. See Below.
I haven't done due diligence as to what kind of replacement reactor to put there. Is it asking too much for a company that produces electricity, has a myriad of engineering staff on hand and cared about the safety of all the people living on this end of Ohio to figure it out?
So, Yes. If the continued safe operation of that plant cannot be assured, it has to be shutdown for the sake of public safety. It's not our fault FE dropped the ball and did not properly plan for a successor to the original reactor. If they won't pay to put relatively inexpensive pollution controls on their coal burners, what makes you think they're ever going to build a new reactor?

http://www.nrc.gov/reactors/new-...

Bell Bend Nuclear Power Plant U.S. EPR
PPL Bell Bend, LLC Under Review
Bellefonte Nuclear Station, Units 3 and 4 AP1000 Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Suspended
Callaway Plant, Unit 2 U.S. EPR AmerenUE Suspended
Calvert Cliffs, Unit 3 U.S. EPR Calvert Cliffs 3 Nuclear Project, LLC and UniStar Nuclear Operating Services, LLC Under Review
Comanche Peak, Units 3 and 4 US-APWR Luminant Generation Company, LLC (Luminant) Under Review
Fermi, Unit 3 ESBWR Detroit Edison Company Under Review
Grand Gulf, Unit 3 ESBWR Entergy Operations, Inc. (EOI) Suspended
Levy County, Units 1 and 2 AP1000 Progress Energy Florida, Inc. (PEF) Under Review
Nine Mile Point, Unit 3 U.S. EPR Nine Mile Point 3 Nuclear Project, LLC and UniStar Nuclear Operating Services, LLC (UniStar) Suspended
North Anna, Unit 3 ESBWR Dominion Virginia Power (Dominion) Under Review
River Bend Station, Unit 3 ESBWR Entergy Operations, Inc. (EOI) Suspended
Shearon Harris, Units 2 and 3 AP1000 Progress Energy Carolinas, Inc. (PEC) Suspended
South Texas Project, Units 3 and 4 ABWR South Texas Project Nuclear Operating Company (STPNOC) Under Review
Turkey Point, Units 6 and 7 AP1000 Florida Power and Light Company (FPL) Under Review
Victoria County Station, Units 1 and 2 ESBWR Exelon Nuclear Texas Holdings, LLC (Exelon) Suspended
Virgil C. Summer, Units 2 and 3 AP1000 South Carolina Electric & Gas (SCE&G) Issued
Vogtle, Units 3 and 4 AP1000 Southern Nuclear Operating Company (SNC) Issued
William States Lee III, Units 1 and 2 AP1000 Duke Energy Under Review

ERIE43452

Darwin let me paint a visual picture. Imagine an egg - easy. The shell has laminar cracks over all, top to bottom. FirstEnergy just cut through a so called safe area because they just poured the concrete there 2 years ago, so as not to disturb the "hairline" cracks and there they find a 25 foot bubble in the shell. That fine membrane in the egg would be the steel containment building, the yolk is the nuclear reactor. Look up Crystal River Nuclear Power Plant: http://southeast.construction.co... .. they could not put Humpty Dumpty back together again. They turned off the nuclear reactor and made the customers pay for the entire boondoggle.

Turn off the nuclear and you will save over 1/2 trillion dollars in federal loan guarantees because Wall Street won't touch them, subsidies (that means you and I pay), federal insurance because no insurance company will touch them, and the nuclear waste left behind which we will also have to pay for since the producers can't afford it let alone it is an unanswerable dilemma of what to do with the waste.

It's a shell game!

Peninsula Pundit

Thank you for posting!
I surmise that you work at the 'egg.'
You make excellent points that refute all arguments to the contrary, especially to those of us who are trying to find ways to reduce govt spending by eliminating wasteful corporate subsidies. 1/2 trillion dollars. THAT would put a dent in the deficit. But no, that would hurt business. We only want to shred the safety net for individuals, not the 'people' corporations are.

ERIE43452

QUOTE OF THE DECADE:

“I foolishly once believed the myth that nuclear energy is clean and safe. That myth has completely broken down. Restarting nuclear reactors while we still have no place to dispose nuclear waste is a criminal act toward future generations."

Morihiro Hosokawa, 79th Prime Minister of Japan

sugar

Another schizophrenic response from Dog and his of party of hypocrisy. I thought it was Conservatives who wanted to go back to the 1800's? The Dems have everyone believing they are they party of progress.

Peninsula Pundit

Aw heck, I'm on a roll....
I'm not really a dem, but keeping these 1960's-era nuclear reactors running is not a 'progressive' stance either, I hope you'll agree. Since I would believe it is your stance that business should lead the way in their area of expertise, why didn't FE do their due diligence and start looking at newer, safer reactor designs that have been developed since the 60's? There is a spot for another reactor already onsite, so they could've been building a new one while still running the old. It was never in the plans to run these units past their design life.
I think the best progressive thinking is to realize mechanical things, no matter how well maintained, get old.
In the case of a nuclear power plant, that's a risk we can't responsibly assume for the health of future generations.

FlyBoy86

I work with jet aircraft that were manufactured in the 1950's. Your line of thinking says that because it's old, it can't be ran or repaired. What's your theory on a DC-8 that is still in the air and is properly maintained by Douglas/Boeing Repair Manual?

Peninsula Pundit

You completely misrepresent my 'line of thinking.'
If they do at Davis-Besse what they did to that DC-8, a complete, down-to-the-airframe that plant would be as safe as it was when it was built.
Is that not so?
However, even if they did that, which is NOT what is happening at D-B, you'd have a perfectly running 50 year old design nuclear power plant.
Now let's go back to your aerospace example: Please compare that DC-8 to a Dreamliner built 50 years later.
See any safety,performance improvements, maybe?
Now we're not talking about an airplane here.
We're talking about something that if it crashes and burns, it will have a catastrophic effect for the entire Northern Ohio area.
Obviously, the DC-8 analogy falls completely apart here.
I do not mean this unkindly, but you couldn't figure that out?

FlyBoy86

What I'm getting at here is that the maintenance plan must be approved by the FAA for each operator of that aircraft type. The NRC also must approve a maintenance plan for Davis Besse. So your claim is that the NRC doesn't do a good enough job then, correct?

And for the record, I'd fly on an older aircraft any day than a newer one. Too many systems are based on computers and faulty electronics. Look at the Dreamliner. Too many issues with it's suppliers.

grumpy

Nuclear power was developed by scientists. I guess the dims are against or are scared of science. Not surprising that they want to go back to the olden days.

The Big Dog's back

Solar power was developed by scientists too.

Peninsula Pundit

There's a YouTube video of a fellow in California (pause for cons to hiss) who has 30 panels on his roof and returns power to the grid 50% of the time. It's putting out so much energy he's switching over to an electric dryer to use some of the electricity.
The electric company pays him 3 cents a watt for what he puts into the line, but charges 15 cents a watt for what they supply when he needs it. The electric companies will only have to have a few baseload plants and they'll be making 12 cents a watt just shuffling electricity. What a racket!
Anyway, after rebates and subsidies, he's making a monthly payment of $100 for the PV system and his electric bill that used to be $200 is now $30.

The Big Dog's back

Scientists were involved with geothermal plants too.

Peninsula Pundit

And the new continuous cycle solar project in Nevada which was paid for with the same funds that financed (pause for effect) Solandra! (Cons:Loud Hisses and catcalls)
This one is a success story for the President, so of course, you never hear about it in the right-leaning media.

JudgeMeNot

A clean coal plant meltdown is much more safer than a nuclear plant meltdown. I'll take CO2 over radioisotopes.

Breaking News

Clean coal.....LOL. For each death caused by nuclear, over 3500 are caused by coal plant emissions.

Peninsula Pundit

There's no such thing as a 'clean coal' plant and, seeing how electric companies operate, it's obvious there never will be:
Instead of working to make coal 'cleaner' now by installing new pollution controls, FirstEnergy is instead shutting those plants down.
This will create an artificial electric shortage and FE will make scads more money by shutting these plants down and blaming 'govt regulations'. Just like Big Oil has done with refineries.
And the low-info cons will say, 'See? Obama again!'
Ah, the republican model of the death of this country

JudgeMeNot

Guess you never have toured a clean coal plant. They shut down plants that are too costly to bring up to current 0-bama EPA standards.

JudgeMeNot

Chernobyl was simply running tests when it malfunctioned.
Three mile island meltdown effects are not fully known because of the cover-up.

Count the numbers of deaths in nuclear plants malfunctions vs. those in clean coal plants malfunctions and get back to me.

Breaking News

Neither plant malfunctioned. Both events occurred due to operator error.

Presto

plant malfunctioning vs operator error = does this differentiation matter with radiation? Nuke plants blasting radiation into the air or cores melting radiation down into earth groundwater --plants dumping it into oceans and lakes --do these differentiations matter? No - they really dont.
No one truely cares what goes on or doesn't go on a Davis Besse --no one comes to the NRC meetings held right there at the plant. No residents have any questions whatsoever about the plant in their back yards - no one in Toledo or Sandusky or Norwalk or Oak Harbor (it would be a minimum 60 mile evacuation radius from that plant when/if something happens) no one asks questions or attends any of the free open meetings - no one pickets the plant or demands quality control from First Energy. Lets not play semantics and lets not pretend to be involve with safety-
Chernobyl exploded because it could - Fukushima exploded because it could = radioactive particles are unstable and unstoppable to pretend anything different is to be fools (and that's exactly what we've all been doing).

ERIE43452

PRESTO and concerned readers ... here is a link and info (since you'll never see it printed in the local news) to ask questions of the NRC. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s will hold a webinar Feb. 20 to discuss inspection efforts for Davis-Besse’s installation of two steam generators and how the agency’s activities help ensure the public and environment are protected.

The webinar will be held from 6:00-7:00 p.m. EDT (5:00-6:00 p.m. CDT). Participants will be able to view presentation slides prepared by NRC staff and submit questions in writing over the Internet. Interested members of the public must register online or follow the instructions on the meeting notice in order to participate ....

http://pbadupws.nrc.gov/docs/ML1...

Demand answers ... Who inspected and passed the concrete pour with 25 feet of concrete honeycombing?

FENOC has admitted in this article that the latest cut may have damaged the steel rebar, which now needs to be replaced. Who will be inspecting that?

If the NRC is doing everything right, why is this happening?

Presto

NEWS FLASH : Nuclear reactors (especially plants that are OLD like Davis Besse) fail in a variety of ways... You really dont have to be a rocket scientist (or a nuclear engineer) to realize this. Davis Besse is failing & that plant HAS been failing since when? 2000 ? When she completely fails we'll all suffer the consequences. If you'd like to know what's happening in Japan TODAY as a result of the failures at Fukushima go here: http://enenews.com/category/loca... Interestingly, the U.S. media hasn't said a WORD about those nuke plants yet the meltdown / radiation in groundwater / radiation dumping into the ocean / radiation going everywhere and now cancer in Japanese children beginning! Want to see what happens when a nuke plant fails? Unfortunately, if FirstEnergy has their way we will all find out. It's not IF = it's WHEN.

Dr. Information

More people die in car accidents each year.

Presto

LOL wow.

just wow.

KURTje

My friend Steve Fi****. works there as an electrical engineer. He & 2others got hurt in the 80's. Those in charge there have a horrible attitude. (When Steve got hurt it was because of non-lockout)