OAK HARBOR, Ohio (AP) - Workers have started cutting into the walls of the Davis-Besse nuclear plant's containment building to replace its damaged reactor head.
They will make a hole 20 feet wide to take out the old reactor head and move in the replacement cover from a nuclear complex in Midland, Mich., said Richard Wilkins, a FirstEnergy Corp. spokesman.
The cutting began Monday night and will take about 10 days. It will take about a month to complete the project.
Workers are using a high-pressure water spray to cut a hole in the concrete walls that protect the nuclear reactor. A fine stream of water at extremely high pressure -- about 20,000 pounds per square inch -- will chip away mortar from the side of the containment building.
FirstEnergy is spending an estimated $55 million to $75 million to replace the reactor lid that was damaged by leaking acid.
The plant has been shut down since February when inspectors discovered that boric acid had nearly eaten through a steel cap that covers the reactor vessel.
It was the most extensive corrosion found on a U.S. nuclear reactor and led to a nationwide review of all 69 similar plants. Akron-based FirstEnergy plans to reopen the plant at the end of the year.
(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
Federal officials are investigating whether senior Nuclear Regulatory Commission staffers succumbed to politics or industry pressure when they let FirstEnergy Corp. operate the Davis-Besse nuclear plant six weeks past a scheduled shutdown date. More >>