SUNNY
63į
more weather




Thursday, 
September 04, 2003

 



Tips on searching


Browse Last 30 Days
The Blade Archives
AP Archives


Latest News
Sports
Business
Arts & Entertainment
Davis-Besse In-depth
Opinion
Religion
Health & Science
Technology
Columnists
Obituaries
Special Reports
Weather
AP Wire
Photos of the Day
Lottery
Daily Log
Today's Front Page


General
Real Estate
Autos
Jobs
Boats/Recreation
Celebrations
Legal Notices
Directory of Worship
Personals

Golf Guide
Restaurant Guide
Arts/Events Calendar
Educational Services
Forums
E-thepeople
TV Listings
Movie Showtimes
Horoscopes


Toledo Pros
HBA Parade of Homes
toledo
Contests
KidZone
Mud Hens Web Cam


Set As Homepage
Subscriber Services
Email Newsletter
The Blade e-edition
Advertise
About Us
Contact Us
Help & FAQs

Regional News | Article published Thursday, September 4, 2003
Davis-Besse flaws were well-known, lawsuit says
Contractor detailed problems in í88 report

By TOM HENRY
BLADE STAFF WRITER


FirstEnergy Corp. has known for years that Davis-Besse had design flaws that made the nuclear plant vulnerable to disaster, according to a South Carolina contractor who claims his firm was banned from the site in the fall of 1988 after he had documented alleged shortcomings in a progress report.

William N. Keisler, president of BKE, Inc., and Nuclear Maintenance Integration Consultants Corp., said in a lawsuit filed in Ottawa County Common Pleas Court that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission was kept largely in the dark by FirstEnergy and one of its subsidiaries, Toledo Edison Co., which operated Davis-Besse.

Davis-Besseís work force historically has been reluctant to come forward because of retribution fears, according to the lawsuit. The NRC has said it will not tolerate that kind of intimidation, and that any lingering signs of it must be overcome before it will allow the plant to be restarted.

But the NRC has not been totally oblivious to the problems, either, according to the lawsuit. The suit claims several allegations Mr. Keisler has reported to the NRCís regional office near Chicago since 1992 have gone nowhere. The matter has been referred to the NRCís Office of Inspector General, according to a letter by William D. Travers, the agencyís executive director for operations, to U.S. Sen. George Voinovich (R., Ohio).

"The whole issue of safety culture is obviously the highest, most dominant factor," Mr. Keisler told The Blade last night during an interview in which he claimed the beleaguered plantís current state of affairs has, in large part, been shrouded in secrecy since he worked there from March, 1986, through October, 1988.

The lawsuit demands in excess of $25,000 for each of six counts listed against FirstEnergy, including alleged violations of state and federal whistleblower laws, breach of contract, fraud, negligence, and other infraction claims.

It said three members of Toledo Edisonís senior management team - none of whom is still with FirstEnergy - objected to a 1987 report Mr. Keisler had prepared for the company while he was under contract. Called a preventive maintenance program review, the report outlined shortcomings with design issues, equipment, and labor-management relations after the June 9, 1985, temporary loss of auxiliary feed-water incident at Davis-Besse - at the time, the nationís closest brush with a nuclear accident since Three Mile Island in 1979.

That 1985 event has been surpassed by the near-hole in Davis-Besseís reactor head in 2002, the worst corrosion of its kind in U.S. nuclear history. A liner less than three-eighths of an inch thick was all that prevented a rupture and the formation of radioactive steam. In the last 18 months, while the plant has endured its record-setting outage, other design flaws have been addressed. The NRC now acknowledges that such problems could have allowed a meltdown.

He said his lawsuit is similar in concept but much broader than one he earlier had filed in Lucas County Common Pleas Court. He said he withdrew that one in 1994, because of various developments.

Richard Wilkins, FirstEnergy spokesman, said the utility is aware of the new lawsuit.

Senior management didnít try to conceal information or downplay the veracity of Mr. Keislerís findings in the 1987 report, said Mr. Wilkins, who claimed the contractor was terminated simply because he didnít follow instructions.

"When we got the report, it did not have things in it we needed. That isnít to say some of the information wasnít good ... [but] we asked for a preventive maintenance report, and basically, we got something on how to treat world hunger," Mr. Wilkins said.

Mr. Keisler said he managed the massive rebuilding of Davis-Besseís reactor coolant pumps in 1986, the last time the plant undertook that project. Those pumps circulate coolant through the reactor during normal operations.

There are four such pumps, each built to last 20 years. Barring an NRC order, FirstEnergy does not plan to refurbish more than two before restarting. Former engineer Andrew Siemaszko claimed in a U.S. Department of Labor whistleblower complaint this year he was fired because he insisted on having all four rebuilt.

FirstEnergy has rejected Mr. Siemaszkoís claim. In June, the labor department dismissed his action. Mr. Siemaszko has appealed that ruling.




Article Features Ľ
Printer-friendly version
Forum on this topic
Email to a friend
View the Latest News index
Subcategories Ľ
2002 Census

America Remembers

Davis-Besse

Lucas County

Medical

Accidents/Vehicular

City of Toledo

Courts

Crime

Elections

Environment

Fires

Higher Education

K-12 Education

Michigan News

Minority Issues

Obituaries - News

Ohio News

Other

Politics

Regional News

Religion

Suburban News

Transportation

War on terrorism

Weather

Zoo/Library/Museum







SEE JACKSON BROWNE IN CONCERT!
Click here to win tickets!

SEE QUEENSRYCHE IN CONCERT!
Click here to win tickets!

WINNERS LIST
Click here!



AUTOMOTIVE - NEW/USED/LEASING: CADILLAC, ISUZU & KIA
Taylor Automotive

AUTOMOTIVE - NEW/USED/LEASING: DODGE, CHRYSLER & JEEP
Monroe Dodge Chrysler Jeep Superstore

CHIROPRATIC
Schwanger & Associates Chiropractic Offices

COMPUTER RETAIL SALES, SERVICE & REPAIR, AND NETWORK SOLUTIONS
Computer Discount

COSMETIC AND FAMILY DENTIST
Jonathan Frankel, D.D.S.

FUNERAL DIRECTOR
Strabler Funeral Home

HEARING AIDS
Hearing Associates, Inc.

HEATING AND AIR CONDITIONING
Shamy Heating & Air Conditioning

HOME MORTGAGE EQUITY
Midwest Mortgage Investments, LTD

INVESTMENTS, RETIREMENT PLANNING & FINANCIAL ADVICE
American Express Financial Advisors

PERSONAL INJURY AND MALPRACTICE LAW
Barkan & Robon Ltd.

PLASTIC SURGEON
Arrowhead Plastic Surgeons, Inc.

PLUMBING CONTRACTOR
The Clean Plumbers

REAL ESTATE AUCTIONS
Beth Rose Auction Co.

REALTOR
Char Winckowski - Re/Max Central Group




© 2003 The Blade. Privacy Statement. By using this service, you accept the terms of our visitor agreement: Please read it.

The Toledo Blade Company, 541 N. Superior St., Toledo, OH 43660, (419) 724-6000
To contact a specific department or an individual person, click here.