I came cross this interesting article on Boric Acid damage at nuclear powerplants.
BulletinWire | January 24, 2003
On January 17, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) reported the discovery of coolant leaks at two nuclear power plants, Comanche Peak 1 in Texas
and the Tennessee Valley Authority's Sequoyah 2. In both cases, the leaks had led to boric acid buildup on the plants' reactor heads, but only
Sequoyah had corrosion (Associated Press, January 22).
Ken Clark, an NRC spokesperson, said the corrosion at Sequoyah did not pose an immediate threat. "It is just some residue with slight corrosion but
they did find it and they didn't find any evidence of serious problems elsewhere."
The discoveries come on the heels of anotheróthough much more seriousócase of corrosion at the Davis-Besse nuclear plant near Toledo, Ohio. In that
case, boric acid ate through the six-inch-thick reactor wall before finally being discovered last February during a routine fueling and maintenance
outage. In late December, the NRCís inspector general released a report highly critical of the regulatory agencyís handling of the problems
Davis-Besse, calling the NRCís decision to not order an emergency shutdown of the plant deeply flawed.
According to Catherine Auer (July/August 2002 Bulletin), at Davis-Besse "between 35ñ40 pounds of carbon steel were simply missing, and the only thing
that contained the radioactive, highly pressurized coolant water inside the vessel was the thin skin of stainless steel cladding. Not designed to
endure such pressure, the lining had started to bulge outward. If the lining had been breached, a loss of coolant accident would have resulted."
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