A Toledo attorney asked a judge in Ottawa
County Common Pleas Court yesterday to stop Davis-Besse’s restart
Howard Whitcomb III, in a 70-page request for a
preliminary injunction against FirstEnergy Corp., contended the
utility has knowingly operated the Ottawa County nuclear plant in an
unsafe manner for years and has intentionally side-stepped
regulations written to safeguard the public.
He asked Judge
Paul C. Moon to grant the motion and keep it in effect until all
issues have been resolved, some of which relate to the plant’s
original design. "If you look at the totality of that situation, the
margin of safety is almost wiped out," Mr. Whitcomb said. "We’re
asking for a complete review."
The motion is part of a
wrongful-termination case Mr. Whitcomb has filed against FirstEnergy
on behalf of William N. Keisler, a former nuclear contractor from
Richard Wilkins, a FirstEnergy spokesman,
said the utility had not received a copy of the motion. He had
little to say, other than to question whether Common Pleas Court, a
state court, is the proper venue.
Nuclear plants are
regulated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, a federal
"I guess you could file anything you want. We’ll just
see how the judge rules on it," Mr. Wilkins said.
Whitcomb said he has found nothing in the law that would restrict
the power of a state judge from intervening. "The NRC is just a
regulatory body. It is not a tribunal or a court," he
He said he filed the motion in local court partly
because his client believes some issues brought to the NRC’s
attention were ignored. "Should the NRC look at this? Absolutely.
But that’s only one avenue. My position is this is a states’ rights
issue," Mr. Whitcomb said.
Both Mr. Whitcomb and Mr. Keisler
worked at Davis-Besse in the late 1980s.
Mr. Whitcomb was
employed by Toledo Edison Co. as a Davis-Besse preventive
maintenance program manager. He previously was a resident inspector
for the NRC at a South Carolina nuclear plant. He became a lawyer in
the early 1990s.
Mr. Keisler was at Davis-Besse as a
contractor, first as president of BKE, Inc., then as president of
its successor, Nuclear Maintenance Integration Consultants
Mr. Keisler has sued FirstEnergy, claiming violations
of state and federal whistleblower laws, breach of contract, fraud,
For earlier stories on Davis-Besse, go