Nuclear Critics Say Containment Cracking May Be Cause for Public Concern - Press Conference Held in Toledo, OH
A growing Coalition of groups that opposes a 20-year operating license extension for the Davis-Besse nuclear power plant near Port Clinton says it is closely watching developments since the discovery last week of a 30-foot-long crack in the plant's reactor containment building. The cracking, which is being investigated by the utility and U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, has prompted critics to widen their opposition to the continued operation of Davis-Besse for the generation of electricity.

"It's clear that nuclear power was built on lies," said Joseph DeMare, one of the organizers "They said it would be cheap, clean, and safe. A crack in the dome at the Crystal River nuclear plant in Florida is going to take two years and at least $2.5 billion to fix; that's not cheap. We don't yet know how expensive it would be to repair the crack in Davis-Besse, but First Energy will almost certainly try to pass those costs on to consumers." DeMare stated "Radioactive Cesium from Fukushima has traveled all over the world and is now in the bodies of many children all over Japan. That's not clean. Operating plants with containment domes which are cracked and likely to fail if there's a melt down or terrorist attack is not safe. It's time we turned to solar, wind, and geothermal which truly are safe, clean and cheap. This is just one more 'nail in the coffin' of Davis-Besse"

"We are investigating whether this is the same type of stress cracking that developed in 2009 at the Crystal River plant in Florida," said Michael Keegan of Don't Waste Michigan. "When they cut a large hole in the containment building (Crystal River) to replace generator equipment, serious cracking suddenly appeared from the change in stresses on the steel and concrete." The regulator (NRC) and the utility (FirstEnergy/FENOC) have not filed Event Reports, and a Preliminary Notification of Occurrence is anticipated very soon. "This crack debacle at Davis-Besse is one more instance of a nuclear technology in ruin. We must move to shutdown before meltdown, this rust bucket must not be re-licensed for another 20 years" Keegan stated.

Nuclear plants typically have a lot of technical problems in the early years, and Davis-Bess certainly has had its share of those. Then there is a relatively quiet period of operation, with few problems. This is followed by a period in which components age and breakdowns occur with ever increasing frequency. This is known by engineers as the 'Bathtub Curve'. (See 'Toasters to Nuclear Power Plants, by Union of Concerned Scientists at: ) The breakdown in components at nuclear plants, with or without operator error, have the potential to develop into a Fukushima scale disaster. This was narrowly averted in March of 2002 at Davis-Besse with the discovery of a football size hole in the head of the reactor which hinged on 3/16 of an inch stainless steel liner holding before breach of containment.

Toledo based Attorney Terry Lodge is representing the Coalition in its Intervention against the Davis-Besse re-licensing. First Energy is seeking to extend Davis-Besse's operating license from 2017 to 2037. He had this to say, "If this were any other industry, and we were fighting to shut down a plant in court, we could use this crack to get a restraining order and prevent the plant from restarting until there had been a thorough study done. We need to find the cause. Are there more cracks? Has cutting open the concrete containment structure once again, weakened the whole structure to the point where it will fail? These are vital safety questions. But this 'court' is run by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which has never turned down a re-licensing application. The regulator has a long history of putting production ahead of safety, and has approved every single relicensing request so far. I'm afraid they will rush this plant back into production with a containment building that will fail when stressed."

"I'm going to use this opportunity to ask the Toledo City Council to pass a resolution supporting our Intervention against the Davis-Besse re-licensing," said Anita Rios, Chair of the Lucas County Green Party and the Green Party Candidate for Toledo City Council in District 4. "This is our City at stake. I don't want to have to evacuate my home forever, like the people in Fukushima. Every minute that that plant runs, we are in danger. Even if it doesn't fail, it's still making tons of nuclear waste which we learned at Fukushima is just as dangerous, if not more so, than the plant itself."

Michael Leonardi stated, "I want to support the call Dennis Kucinich made at our rally on October 1, that the workers at Davis-Besse should be taken care of when the plant is shut down. Their pensions should be protected, and they should be retrained." Leonardi added, "The dismantling of the plant itself will provide jobs for many years. But we have to learn from Fukushima that keeping those 700 jobs could well jeopardize every single job for miles around. If there is a disaster, everyone in the region will be affected. At Fukushima and Chernobyl this has resulted in permanent relocation, not just an evacuation. New renewable sustainable energy jobs, like those at First Solar are threatened if we insist on hanging on to obsolete plants like this one," concluded Michael Leonardi.

During the 2011 Inspection review of RRVCH fabrication records at the Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station, the inspectors identified that surface examinations had not been performed on the accessible interior surfaces of the REPLACEMENT VESSEL HEAD (RRVCH) flange stud holes. The inspectors identified an unresolved item related to the licensee’s decision to not apply Construction Code (CC) requirements related to surface examination of accessible internal surfaces.

"One would expect that FirstEnergy would be hyper-vigilant, given that this is the 3rd reactor head to be installed. Instead we witness the continued hubris of FirstEnergy in the operation of Davis-Besse. FENOC is completely void of a 'Safety Culture'." stated Kevin Kamps, an Intervenor with Beyond Nuclear, a national watchdog group based in Takoma Park, Maryland."

The October 6, 2011 report: 'EVALUATION OF COMPLIANCE WITH CODE FOR EXAMINATION OF FLANGE STUD HOLES ON THE REPLACEMENT VESSEL HEAD AT THE DAVIS-BESSE NUCLEAR POWER STATION (TIA 2011–015)' can be found at: (No link available. Citation: October 6, 2011 MEMORANDUM TO: Jessie F. Quichocho, Acting Deputy Director, Division of Policy and Rulemaking Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation - Must use NRC ADAMS system. Davis-Besse is 05000346 log that as docket number. Continue search document dated 10/06/11)

All four of FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company (FENOC) nuclear plants can be reviewed at the newly updated Union of Concerned Scientists tracker webpage. The tracker is online at:

Since the Fukushima disaster began, there has been a resurgence of anti-nuclear activism around the world. The start up of a new reactor was recently stopped by massive protests, strikes, and hunger strikes in Koodluma, India. Tens of thousands recently marched in Japan calling for an end to nuclear power. Many of the protesters in the Occupy Toledo movement were at the Coalition's October 1 rally, and the Lucas County Green Party recently voted to support that protest.

Background history of the accidents and problems at Davis-Besse can be found at:


Toledo Coalition for Safe Energy/Don't Waste Michigan/Lucas County Green Party/Beyond Nuclear/Citizens Environment Alliance/Ohio Green Party/Citizens Against Nukes/Coalition for a Nuclear Free Great Lakes