FirstEnergy submits root cause report on shield building cracking

Source: FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company 

FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company (FENOC)(NYSE:FE) announced it has completed its Root Cause Analysis Report regarding the cause of the tight cracks identified in portions of the Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station Shield Building during its fall 2011 reactor head replacement outage. The report has been submitted to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). This extensive evaluation supports earlier analysis that concludes the structural integrity of the Shield Building remains intact, and the building is able to perform its safety function. 

FENOC's comprehensive 119-page root cause report indicates that absence of an exterior weatherproof coating on the Shield Building allowed moisture associated with the blizzard of January 1978 to migrate into the concrete, freeze and expand, causing tight, subsurface cracks in portions of the building. The root cause report concludes that the cracking occurred following the blizzard's combination of extreme weather conditions, which included three days of driving rain preceding a drastic temperature drop to around 0-degrees Fahrenheit and intense winds throughout the storm. 

A team of industry-recognized structural concrete and causal analysis experts assisted Davis-Besse personnel with the comprehensive root cause investigation. The root cause report outlines a number of actions that will be taken by FENOC, including applying a weatherproof coating to protect the Shield Building's exterior walls, performing additional inspections to verify the cracks have not spread and developing a long-term building monitoring plan. 

In the course of the root cause investigation, an exhaustive list of potential cracking causes was examined, including possible design, construction, environmental and operational issues. Thorough testing and analysis of numerous concrete samples conducted in support of the root cause demonstrated that the concrete in the Shield Building is sound and in good condition.

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