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  Friday, April 11, 2003

 Local News


Davis-Besse: Safety next on restart checklist


Staff writer


CARROLL TOWNSHIP -- Federal inspectors will talk Tuesday morning about findings from recent inspections at Davis-Besse of procedures created since several workers walked out of the plant unknowingly carrying minuscule radioactive particles.

That meeting will be held 9 a.m. Tuesday at the plant's administration building, 5501 N. Ohio 2.

Inspectors from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission evaluated the Davis-Besse radiation protection program and will present the results of their review. Those evaluations were part of ongoing inspections at the plant since the end of last year. The program was included as part of the plant's requirements before restart.

"If it goes well, which we believe it will, they should close out that checklist

item," said company spokesman Todd Schneider about a list of essentials the plant has to complete.

Davis-Besse has been shut down for more than a year since workers found a massive amount of corrosion on the reactor head during a routine refueling outage. For the past year, officials at the parent company, FirstEnergy, have been rearranging senior management, fixing physical problems at the plant and creating new programs to prevent any further issues.

After the plant went off-line last spring, contractors who had just worked on the steam generators walked out with minute particles of radiation on their clothing.

They were found when the contractors went to work at other plants in the southern United States. The particles were traced back to Davis-Besse, and after review the NRC decided to rate the event "low to moderate" safety significance.

The company did not contest the findings, which did not come with any fines because there was no health risk to the workers or the outside public.

Initially, NRC officials speculated there might be hefty fines associated with the incident.

Later in the day Tuesday, the NRC will meet with FirstEnergy officials, then the public, to talk about progress toward restart at the plant.

The first meeting will be 2 p.m. at the Camp Perry Clubhouse, and will feature FirstEnergy's report to an NRC oversight panel.

The second, scheduled for 7 p.m. also at the clubhouse, will give the public an update on the afternoon meeting and NRC officials will be on hand to answer questions and take comments.

Both meetings are open to the public.

Originally published Friday, April 11, 2003

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