Crack discovered in Davis-Besse containment building

OAK HARBOR, OH (WTOL) - Workers replacing the nuclear reactor head at the Davis-Besse plant discovered a crack in a concrete containment building Monday.

The plant has been shut down for nearly two weeks while the reactor is replaced with a new one, and the crack could prevent it from reopening as expected by mid-November.

"Because safety is our top priority, we take all discoveries such as this very seriously," said First Energy Spokesperson Jennifer Young. "We would not restart the plant until we're sure this is not an issue for us."

The vertical crack runs as much as 30 feet along rebar in a 2.5 foot concrete shield building. The shield building is meant to protect the reactor from outside forces like a tornado or aircraft. An inner, steel vessel containing the reactor remains sealed.

First Energy, which owns Davis-Besse, is replacing the current reactor head after cracks were found on fuel rod nozzles.

Workers used hydro-demolition to cut a 33 foot by 22 foot hole in the shield building to make way for the new reactor head. Engineers then discovered the crack along one edge of the hole.

First Energy has brought in concrete experts to analyze the crack, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission also sent an expert to join inspectors it already has on-site. It plans to conduct an independent analysis of the crack.