Nuclear, Reactors

Second hole found in reactor vessel cap at Besse-Davis


Toledo, Ohio, March 20, 2002 — Investigators at FirstEnergy’s Besse-Davis nuclear generating facility have found a second area of degradation in a steel cap covering the reactor vessel.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said although the exact size is still being assessed, the hole found was smaller than the six-inch hole found two weeks ago during a routine maintenance outage.

Backup safety systems were working fine and there was no danger to the public. The plant will remain off-line until the problem is corrected. NRC’s main intent is to find out how many other similar nuclear plants may also be experiencing the problem, which it says was caused by leaking boric acid.

NRC has hosted meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss the discovery and possible future actions with nuclear generating companies. At this point it seems that the commission will probably ask the plant personnel to check for this specific problem during their routine outages but not ask for any unscheduled shutdowns unless more problems are reported first.

For more information, visit NRC’s web site at http://www.nrc.gov.