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Pipeline Failure Triggers Inspection Of Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Plant

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has launched an inspection into ground settling at the Davis-Besse nuclear power plant in Ohio.

The reason for the inspection is information that suggests a 2022 pipeline failure was likely the result of stress from ground settling, Reuters has reported.

The pipeline failure occurred in October last year, the report noted, and there were also later reports of pipeline failures on the site of the nuclear power facility and “multiple occurrences of ground settling.”

“A certain extent of ground settling is normal,” a spokeswoman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said, as quoted by the Toledo Blade.

“Some ground settling happens everywhere. Here, what triggered this was in October 2022, a firewater underground pipeline broke. It was not available for about an hour,” Victoria Mitlyng also said.

The spokeswoman also said the team that was sent to investigate would publish a public report 45 days after it completes its work on the Davis-Besse power plant.

Ground settling is a potentially serious issue when it comes to nuclear power plants and on one occasion led to the cancellation of a whole project, which cost its developers a lot of money.

The Midland nuclear power plant, a project of Consumers Power Company, was canceled in 1984 when it was 85% ready. The project was 13 years behind schedule and 20 times over budget.

While there were plenty of reasons for the cancellation of the Midland project, including changing regulatory standards, financial problems, and interest rates, ground settling has also been listed among these.

“Settling can be tolerated as long as it does not compromise safety margins,” nuclear safety engineer David Lochbaum told the Toledo Blade. “If the only safety consequence from settling were potential rupture of piping, the solution could be to shore up the foundation or relocate the piping.”

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By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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