PORT CLINTON, Ohio - The cost of keeping the
troubled Davis-Besse nuclear plant shut down is getting more
FirstEnergy Corp. said Tuesday that the price of buying
replacement power was twice as much as it expected during the
unusually cold months of January and February.
The company spent $40 million over the past two months to replace
power normally produced at Davis-Besse, which was damaged by an acid
leak. The company attributes the price to higher energy demand and
increased costs for power on the open market.
FirstEnergy has promised not to pass on the cost of replacement
power to its customers while the damaged plant is closed.
FirstEnergy said the damage and repairs cost it $235 million last
The plant along western Lake Erie has been shut down since
February 2002, when it was closed for maintenance. A month later
workers discovered a leak that had allowed boric acid to eat nearly
through the 6-inch-thick steel cap covering the plant's reactor
It was the most extensive corrosion ever found at a U.S. nuclear
reactor and led to a nationwide review of all 69 similar plants.
The NRC has said the damage ranked at the agency's most serious
level for safety problems.
FirstEnergy is pushing to open the plant before the hot summer
months when energy usage is at its peak. Keeping the plant closed
longer could cost the Akron-based company $15 million a month during
the spring and as much as $25 million a month this summer.
But the company is confident it can finish its work next month
and restart the plant by the end of April, FirstEnergy spokesman
Richard Wilkins said.
Nuclear Regulatory Commission officials say they have inspections
and tests scheduled into May that could get in the way of the
company's timeline for restart.
The agency must approve the Davis-Besse plant's improved safety
plan and examine the reactor for leaks before it can reopen.
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