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Repair/replace decision at nuclear plant

TOLEDO, Ohio, June 22 (UPI) -- A cracked containment lid at a nuclear power plant in Ohio needs replacing, and a new one will be installed in 2011, plant officials say.

FirstEnergy Corp. has purchased a replacement lid for the Davis-Besse reactor near Toledo, Ohio, The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported Monday.

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The plant has been closed since Feb. 28 for work to repair cracks in its lid. Such cracks can allow radioactive coolant into the facilities containment building, the newspaper said.

Federal law requires immediate shutdown when leaks are detected.

Similar cracks in the reactor's original containment lid led to its being replaced in 2004 with the present lid, an old but unused one from a Michigan reactor that was never completed.

After announcing plans to operate the plant following repairs to the existing lid, the company changed its mind and said it had purchased a new lid from AREVA Corp. of France.

FirstEnergy says it wants to operate the reactor with the repaired lid only until the fall of 2011, then install the new reactor lid from France.

"It's the best solution for the long term for safe and reliable operation and for cost-effective operation," said company spokesman Todd Schneider.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is expected to rule within a few days on FirstEnergy's proposal to operate until 2011 with the existing lid, the Plain Dealer reported.

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