Federal commission launches ‘special inspection’ at Davis-Besse nuclear plant in Ottawa County

Published: Jul. 29, 2021 at 9:33 PM EDT
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OAK HARBOR, Ohio (WOIO) - The United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced it has launched a special inspection at the Davis-Besse plant in Ottawa County.

The facility is one of two nuclear plants in Ohio; the other is the Perry Plant in Lake County.

The agency said the inspection stems from multiple diesel generator failures during testing and maintenance and a complicated reactor trip.

“The six-person inspection team will review the company’s response to each diesel generator failure, including the company’s cause analysis, extent of condition reviews, maintenance practices and system design,” the NRC said in a news release issued Wednesday. “The team will also focus on the circumstances affecting the recent complicated automatic reactor shutdown, which was triggered by a turbine trip, assessing equipment performance and operator response.”

Since the early 2000′s, several incidents and problems have been reported by the NRC at Davis-Besse.

In 2002, a football-sized hole in a reactor vessel head was discovered. Corrosion was determined to be the cause. The NRC called it a near-failure and ruled it a serious nuclear safety incident.

Years later, cracks were discovered in the reactor building’s concrete.

Just two years ago, a radiation watchdog expressed serious concerns during a briefing with The Environmental and Energy Study Institute in Washington, D.C.

“It’s so severely cracked that concrete could fall off the exterior of the containment and take out safety systems down below. In that sense, the containment could cause the meltdown,” said Kevin Kamps, who represents Maryland-based nonprofit Beyond Nuclear.

To be clear, the NRC has not indicated such event is imminent or even likely.

An email to media representatives at Energy Harbor, Davis-Besse’s parent company, has not been returned.

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