It's been a big issue for those living near the Davis Besse Nuclear power plant. In October, utility workers found cracks in the shield building, the 2 1/2 foot concrete barrier around the reactor. An investigation found the cracks were not serious enough to shut the plant down. But then, the challenge became finding out how it happened and how to stop it.
Chuck Casto, regional administrator with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission says lack of water proofing, the structural design elements, and the blizzard of 1978 all contributed to the cracking of the building.
"The structural soundness of the building is provided by what we call rebar, the steel inside the building, and the issue with the concrete did not effect the rebar so that keeps it structurally sound," Casto said.
Still, many question whether its actually safe. About a dozen self proclaimed "environmental interveners" made their points known.
Congressman Dennis Kucinich said, "my personal point of view is if you've got these cracks they ought to be fixed, and if you can't fix it the plant shouldn't be operating."
"With this severely cracked shield building, we're worried about everyday operations," Kevin Kamps, with Beyond Nuclear said. "At this point its playing radioactive Russian roulette with the entire Great Lakes region."
First Energy says next week they'll begin taking steps to stop the cracks, like weather proofing and doing frequent checks of the structure and the NRC promises to keep and eye on the progress.
"It's very important they conduct future testing of the building to make sure it stays safe," Casto said.