The Davis-Besse Nuclear Plant in Ohio has had a ridiculous amount of very big problems.
In 2002, Davis-Besse's old nuclear reactor head
nearly burst. The lid was weakened by massive amounts of acid that had leaked from the reactor over several
years. The acid induced heavy corrosion on top of the head. Radioactive steam would have formed in a U.S.
nuclear containment vessel for the first time since the 1979 half-core meltdown of Three Mile Island Unit 2 in
Pennsylvania if Davis-Besse's lid had been breached. The only thing preventing that was a thin stainless steel
liner that had started to crack and bulge, records show.
Federal prosecutors later described the incident as one of the biggest cover-ups in U.S.
nuclear history. Two former Davis-Besse engineers were convicted of withholding information and put on
probation; the utility itself wound up paying a record $33.5 million in civil and criminal fines"; this represents the
"largest single fine ever proposed by the NRC."
The crisis at Davis-Besse is the most serious safety issue to face a commercial nuclear
power plant since Three Mile Island. The GAO report shows that the NRC was ill equipped, ill informed and far
too slow to react. The NRC's reaction to Davis-Besse was inadequate, irresponsible and left the public at grave
The casks were discovered to have been built below technical specifications: the aggregate used to
fabricate the casks' outer concrete walls essential for radiation shielding -- was poor quality, and the steel alloy
walls of the inner metallic canisters actually containing the irradiated nuclear fuel were ground too thin along the
weld lines, in violation of technical specifications. The Toledo Coalition for Safe Energy challenged the safety and
quality assurance of this proposal in 1994, but was overruled by NRC, which allowed loading of casks to begin in 1995. These faulty casks remain fully loaded with high-level radioactive waste onsite at Davis-Besse to this day, 15 years later.
High-level radioactive wastes are one of the most hazardous substances ever generated by humankind.
While electricity is but a fleeting byproduct, irradiated nuclear fuel will remain deadly and need to be isolated from the living environment "forevermore."
Without radiation shielding, it can deliver a lethal dose of gamma radiation in seconds or minutes, even decades after removal from the reactor. Alpha particle emitters, however, such as
Plutonium-239 -- a microscopic speck of which, if inhaled, could initiate lung cancer -- will remain hazardous for
hundreds of thousands of years. Other radioactive isotopes will remain deadly far longer Iodine-129, for
example, has a 157 million year hazardous persistence.
On July 31, 2006, FirstEnergy publicly admitted four "occurrences of inadvertent releases of radioactive
liquids that had the potential to reach groundwater," adding Davis-Besse to the growing list of 102 reactors in the U.S. that have leaked radioactivity into the environment since the early 1960s (and as the reactor ages, such leaks will become more likely).http://www.pdfdownload.org/pdf2htm...ges=yes