| Article published Tuesday, January 7, 2003|
NRC for full briefing before startup
FirstEnergy plans February test to show reactor is
By JIM PROVANCE
COLUMBUS - Gov. Bob Taft has asked the U.S.
Nuclear Regulatory Commission for a full briefing on the Davis-Besse
nuclear plant before FirstEnergy Corp. is permitted to restart the
"We intend to meet the governorís needs," Roland
Lickus, of the NRCís regional office near Chicago, told the Utility
Radiological Safety Board of Ohio yesterday.
consisting of representatives of the Ohio Emergency Management
Agency, Department of Health, and other state agencies, monitors
Davis-Besse near Oak Harbor, Perry near Cleveland, and Beaver Valley
just over the Pennsylvania border near Pittsburgh, all nuclear
plants operated by FirstEnergy.
FirstEnergy has replaced
Davis-Besseís cracked reactor head and made related and unrelated
repairs. But it has to convince the NRC that it has corrected the
management and maintenance problems that allowed damage from boric
acid leaks to go undetected.
The acid ate through six inches
of steel, leaving less than a quarter-inch of stainless steel liner.
The plant has been idle nearly a year.
Pat McCloskey of
Davis-Besse told the board that FirstEnergy plans to refill the
water reactor on Jan. 18 and begin a seven-day heat and pressure
test during the third week of February. This test will not involve a
FirstEnergy hopes that will convince the
NRC that Davis-Besse is at least structurally sound. It hopes to
restart the reactor as early as late March.
oversight does not end at Davis-Besse startup, ..." Mr. Lickus said.
"It will end when that [oversight] panel feels we can return
Davis-Besse to our regular inspection program, whenever that may
The NRC does not need the governorís permission to
approve the restart of the reactor.
"The governor realizes
itís a federal function, but there has been a great deal of concern
on the part of the people of Ohio, and he is concerned about the
safety of the people of Ohio," said Taft spokesman Joe
FirstEnergy expects to take a hit this week when the
NRC releases the results, possibly as early as today, of its
investigation into an unrelated incident last February.
contract workers were allowed to leave the nuclear plant with
radioactive particles on their clothing. Although the company
immediately began clean-up procedures, it waited 150 days to
investigate what impact the contamination may have had on the
"It appears, by good fortune if nothing else, that
the individuals did not receive exposure above federal limits," Mr.
McCloskey said. The plant has since changed its procedures and
installed three "highly sensitive" monitors to check workers as they
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