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Davis-Besse cracks to be repaired

As reported by the Sandusky Register.

Beyond Nuclear has sought Davis-Besse's closure, ever since these uniquely-bad-in-the-nuclear-industry containment cracks were first revealed in Oct. 2011. Alas, NRC not only allowed Davis-Besse to continuing operating under its initial 1977-2017 license, it even rubber-stamped a license extension till 2037!

It is quite telling that FirstEnergy now sees it necessary to repair the cracks.

For years after the cracks were first revealed to the public, FirstEnergy stuck with its Blizzard of 1978 root cause theory for the cracking's origin, and argued the cracks had not worsened since. Citing dozens of likely synergistic root cause explanations put forth by FirstEnergy and NRC themselves, Beyond Nuclear and others dubbed the Blizzard of 1978 root cause theory the Snow Job of 2012, when it was first floated by FirstEnergy.

But FirstEnergy's Blizzard of 1978 Snow Job did achieve its desired goal, of blocking Beyond Nuclear and a coalition of environmental groups, from winning a hearing on its cracking-related contentions as part of its opposition to the 20-year license extension. The coalition was and is represented by Terry Lodge, an environmental attorney based in Toledo, just to the west of Davis-Besse. Lodge has watch-dogged the troubled reactor for over four decades. To win a hearing in a license extension proceeding, under NRC's Byzantine rules, a contention must be proven aging-related. FirstEnergy's claim that the cracking was not aging-related prevailed before the NRC's kangaroo court Atomic Safety and Licensing Board panel.

But some years later, FirstEnergy admitted the cracks were growing.

It kept its Ice-Wedging Crack Propagation root cause theory report secret for 2.5 critical years during the license extension. Only in July 2015 was it revealed publicly. By then, the environmental coalition's tireless efforts to win a contention hearing had been blocked.

Most ironic of all was FirstEnergy's adamant opposition, when challenged by the coalition, to commit to any repair or replacement of the cracked Shield Building. All FirstEnergy would commit to was an Aging Management Plan of minimally monitoring the cracking as the years dragged on.

Apparently, even FirstEnergy has now been forced to admit, the cracking is so severe, it needs to be repaired. Beyond Nuclear et al. have argued this for many long years, banging our heads against a cracked concrete containment wall.

But Beyond Nuclear et al. have also pointed out that such repairs are woefully inadequate. Their effectiveness is very dubious. Davis-Besse should have been retired long ago, for safety's sake!