Friday, June 8, 2012

Ohio nuclear plant says it has contained small coolant leak: "No threat to the public"

Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station, operated by FirstEnergy, has a single pressurized water reactor. The plant is 35 years old.

From The Columbus Dispatch citing AP (6/7/2012):

Ohio nuclear plant says it has contained small coolant leak
Radioactive fluid at Davis-Besse never escaped, operators say

TOLEDO — Operators of a nuclear plant in Ohio say they’ve discovered and contained a pinhole-size leak spraying radioactive coolant at the plant.

Nuclear regulators and plant operators say the leaking coolant at the Davis-Besse nuclear plant near Toledo never got outside the building and posed no threat to the public.

Workers discovered the leak yesterday as they were getting ready to restart the plant after a monthlong maintenance shutdown.

A spokeswoman for the plant operated by a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp. says they don’t know how much coolant spilled out, but it was contained by its collection system.

The plant was last shut down in the fall while its reactor head was replaced. Crews found cracks in an outer concrete wall, but the plant was allowed to restart.

According to the NRC Event Notification Report:


"On June 6, 2012, at 1956 EDT, with the Unit shutdown for refueling, leakage was identified from a 3/4-inch weld during Reactor Coolant System (RCS) walkdown inspections. The leakage amount was approximately 0.1 gpm pinhole spray.

"During the performance of MODE 3 engineering walkdown inspections in accordance with procedure DB-PF-03010 (ASME Section III, Class 1 and 2), with the RCS at Normal Operating Temperature and Pressure, a pressure boundary leak was identified on the Reactor Coolant Pump (RCP) 1-2 1st seal cavity vent line upstream weld of 3/4 inch small bore pipe socketweld at a 90 degree elbow between the RCP pump and valve RC-407 (1st Seal Cavity Vent Isolation). The plant was in MODE 3 at Normal Operating Pressure and Normal Operating Temperature (NOP/NOT) for the inspections.

(H/T John Noah)


Anonymous said...

Davis Besse again, still, again,...
While Fukushima continues to spew, everyone in the US might want to take a good look at the aging, relicensed, uprated, rust buckets that leak and spew while under the guidance of the NRC and financed by your checkbook.
Davis Besse history and pics

William Milberry said...

They (be they U.S. or Japanese nuke plant operators), always say "it was contained." However, the major radioactive constituant of coolant water is tritium, which is a gas dissolved into the water, In the same way the disolved carbon dioxide comes out of your soda into the air when you spill it onto the floor, you can bet a certain amount of tritium is liberated to float freely about the neighborhood ...

Anonymous said...

I hope they will not renew Davis Besse's license. Nuclear power is OLD technology. It all needs to be retired.

Modern smart grid technology now enables clean, renewable energy sources to provide sufficient baseload energy (Stanford's Mark Jacobson - who has no vested interest in nuclear power plants - has shown this). The myth about nuclear power plants being needed to provide baseload power has been BUSTED.

We don't need them. They aren't safe. They aren't clean. And when you really look at the costs, they aren't cheap either.

Dump nuclear power.

Anonymous said...

This is the reactor that they belatedly found a football sized hole in the RPV head back in 2002. The only thing left to hold back the pressure was the 3/8" stainless steel liner This liner was eroded to approximately 3/16-inch thick and had bulged outward about 1/8-inch due to the high pressure (over one ton per square inch)inside the reactor vessel. After everything was all said and done the NRC admitted that if was left unchecked it could have failed. Yet at the time they allowed the plant to keep operating in order not to disturb their bottom line. The operator falsified maintenance records for years to avoid a costly unplanned outage and after the problem became obvious the NRC allowed them to operate the damaged reactor for a couple of months more until their next planned refueling outage without knowing the true extent of the damage. It is a major operation to inspect the RPV head and it cost about $250,000 a day for unplanned reactor shutdowns. The NRC fined First Energy $5 million dollars (out of a possible $75 million in fines) but the NRC saved them $10-$15 million in unplanned shutdown fees by looking the other way to obvious signs of corrosion on visible portions of the RPV.

I remember reading in the paper about the justification for the low fine and it went something like this:

1) The fine was the largest every levied against a commercial operator.

2) The NRC doesn't feel fines should be punitive?!!! They feel the fine was appropriate and "the message was heard" (what message I don't know).

I can't help but think a $75 million dollar fine would make most operators think twice about lying and falsifying records. I know I wouldn't worry too much if a parking fine was $5 but if it was $75 I might think twice. I doubt First Energy every paid a penny of their $5 million fine most companies appeal after the big headline and pay little to nothing after years of stalling.

Union of Concerned Scientists paper titled "Davis-Besse: The Reactor with a Hole in its. Head" (w/ images)

Anonymous said...

Wonder if this could be related ? ? Area with spike in rad levels only a little bit west of Toledo.

TechDud said...

Should have used a sweep-90 instead for proper flow!

TechDud said...

Sadly, the Union of Concerned Scientists has been largely silent lately.
They may have recently become complicit in the coverup. I believe the article you posted, though.

Anonymous said...

We're all going to die.

Anonymous said...


The Union of Concerned Scientists has been far from silent on the issue of Fukushima a simple google search of the term "The Union of Concerned Scientists Fukushima" will prove that.

Anonymous said...

This report says radiation never escaped the building at Davis-Besse, yet this article [ ] reports two independent rad-survey networks noted "unexplained" rad spike in same general area in same time period.

Wonder if any other reports out there?? Sounds like too much of a coincidence for me.

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