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March 21, 2003

 



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Regional News | Article published Friday, March 21, 2003
Besse working conditions get mixed grades in study

OAK HARBOR, Ohio - FirstEnergy Corp. learned from a national expert yesterday that it has made progress toward improving Davis-Besseís work atmosphere, but that it still lacks the kind of consistency the Nuclear Regulatory Commission might be looking for before allowing the beleaguered nuclear plant to resume operation.

"The progress isnít necessarily consistent," Richard Wilkins, a company spokesman, said in reference to a closed-door meeting in which preliminary results of Dr. Sonja Haberís much-anticipated report were discussed.

Dr. Haber is a nationally recognized industrial psychologist the utility hired to give the NRC an outside expertís view of the plantís working conditions.

In light of the unprecedented reactor-head corrosion discovered at Davis-Besse a year ago, the NRC has demanded management changes that can demonstrate employees will be more forthcoming about safety issues in the future.

The meeting, which lasted more than two hours, involved about 15 people. Eight were FirstEnergy senior managers. The rest were either NRC officials invited to observe or consultant staffers assisting Dr. Haber. Mr. Wilkins declined to elaborate upon the preliminary findings.

The NRC said it will not make the report public until it is finalized weeks from now.

The agency has said the report will be an important piece of evidence.

Jack Grobe, NRC oversight panel chairman, said last night the agency plans to do its own inspection, starting April 7, to validate Dr. Haberís findings. That inspection, which will take weeks, is to be done by four NRC officials and two consultants, he said.

Dr. Haber, who has studied industrial worker conditions in several countries for years, told FirstEnergy and NRC officials at a Jan. 30 meeting that substantial work-atmosphere improvements can take three to five years.

For earlier stories on Davis-Besse, go to www.toledoblade.com/davisbesse.



More articles on this subject Ľ
FirstEnergy files notice of securities sale 03/18/2003
Deregulation called factor in Besse lapse 03/13/2003
Utilityís reactor head is replaced; plant could be shut till summer 03/12/2003
Risk analyst questions delay 03/07/2003
Safety panel: Getting details of Davis-Besse woes is critical 03/07/2003

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