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Davis-Besse repairs completed, concern about structural integrity linger

First Energy said crews have finished the last major step at Davis Besse before crews begin the start-up process for the nuclear power plant.

CARROLL TOWNSHIP, OH (WTOL) - The Davis-Besse nuclear power plant is still on target to meet its end of November timeline to be back online, but concerns linger about cracks found in the reactor building.

Davis Besse has been on a scheduled maintenance outage since Oct. 1st.  A First Energy spokesperson said crews finished pouring new concrete on the shield building Sunday night.  It will take several days for the concrete to harden.

During the outage, crews discovered a number of fine, hairline cracks in the exterior of the reactor building.  A First Energy spokesperson said the cracks were discovered in 15 of the 16 architectural areas of the building.  She said the cracks do not impact the safety of the plant.

"All of the cracks we've found do not impact the structural integrity of the building. The building is very robust and can perform the its design function as it is," said Jennifer Young, First Energy Spokesperson.

Young said First Energy is finalizing its report on the cracks for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

According to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, First Energy is able to re-start Davis Besse on its own, because the NRC has not put an official hold on the power plant.

Still, a NRC spokesperson said it has not finished its assessment of Davis Besse, and has questions about the plant.

"Our safety questions and concerns need to be addressed before the plant returns to service. The company is working with the NRC to make sure the agency's safety questions and concerns are addressed. If the agency had an outstanding safety concern that was not properly addressed by FENOC or any other licensee, the NRC has regulatory tools we would not hesitate to use to ensure the safety of the plant, the workers and the public," said Viktoria Mitlyng, a spokesperson for the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

First Energy is working with concrete specialists to address concerns about the cracks.  Young said First Energy continues to work towards meeting its end of November re-start target timeline.

"Safety is our top priority, so those questions will be answered before we restart the plant," said Young.

First Energy is not releasing an exact date it hopes to have Davis Besse online for competitive reasons.