RealCities Click here to visit other RealCities sites - The ohio home page
Go to your local news sourceThe Beacon Journal
Help Contact Us Site Index Archives Newspaper Subscriptions   

Search the Archives

Financial Markets
People & Events
Personal Finance
Regional Indicators

Updated Monday, May 5, 2003
  Today's Business
  Monday stories
  Tuesday stories
  Wednesday stories
  Thursday stories
  Friday stories
  Saturday stories
  Sunday stories

Our Site Tools


Akron 67 56
Cleveland 65 56
Cincinnati 76 60

  Local Events

  Yellow Pages

  Discussion Boards

  Maps & Directions

Updated Monday, May 5, 2003
  War with Iraq
  Hartville Community Section
  Summer Camp Guide
  Ohio Bicentennial
  Indians Preview
  New Baby News
  2003 Fairs and Festivals
  Route 8
  Newcomer's Guide
  Other special sections
Catch the Tribe with Ocker and Pluto!
Cleveland Indians coverage
Back to Home > 


Posted on Sat, May. 03, 2003 story:PUB_DESC
More work ahead for safe plant, report says
Davis-Besse must show improvement before it is allowed to restart

Beacon Journal business writer

A consultant hired by FirstEnergy Corp. to look at the ``safety culture'' at the company's Davis-Besse nuclear power plant found some changes for the better, but her report said a lot of work remains to make the plant as safe as it should be.

The report, released to the public Friday by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said in-depth surveys of Davis-Besse employees -- including managers, conducted in February show that while safety is valued at FirstEnergy and Davis-Besse, not everyone accepts or understands it.

In order to be allowed to restart the 883 megawatt plant, FirstEnergy has to prove to the NRC that it is improving safety at Davis-Besse, which has been closed since March 2002 when severe corrosion created byboric-acid was discovered on top of the reactor. The company and NRC have each accepted blame for allowing the unprecedented boric acid corrosion to take place over years, risking the likelihood of a dangerous loss of coolant accident if it had not been caught.

The plant may not be ready to restart until July, pending NRC approval, and FirstEnergy likely will pay well more than $400 million to make repairs and to buy replacement power.

The safety culture evaluation report, which was given to FirstEnergy and the NRC weeks ago, was done by Performance, Safety, and Health Associates Inc. The report was spearheaded by New York-based consultant Sonja Haber and is intended as a snapshot of plant workers and managers in February. Haber and associates said 661 out of the plant's 830 full-time personnel agreed to take part in their survey.

The report's findings include:

 Many personnel feel that senior managers have not acknowledged their own accountability and responsibility for the reactor corrosion, at least in part by letting some managers directly involved in the event stay with the organization even if they were reassigned to other positions or demoted.

 Not all individuals readily accept responsibility and take ownership of problems.

 Safety is not consistently integrated into all activities in the organization.

 The organization, across the board, has to better learn from past performances.

FirstEnergy and Davis-Besse have already begun improving safety culture, including creating a department to oversee safety culture headed by the former Davis-Besse plant manager, spokesman Richard Wilkins said.

``We know we did have, and do have, work to do,'' Wilkins said. ``What we weren't looking for (in the report) was a pat on the head.''

FirstEnergy was looking for validation that the company had processes in place to improve safety culture, he said. And the report shows that is the case in most instances, he said.

Davis-Besse and FirstEnergy nuclear operating company managers are still going through the report, he said.

A separate survey done by FirstEnergy showed many of the same issues raised in the report, Wilkins said. The survey also showed considerable improvement in employee safety culture, he said.

FirstEnergy has replaced 23 of the top 25 senior managers at Davis-Besse and within its nuclear operating company subsidiary, Wilkins said. Some of those managers were demoted or assigned to other FirstEnergy plants with reduced responsibility, while others left the company entirely, he said.

That may not be good enough for some.

Amy Ryder, Cleveland program director for watchdog group Ohio Citizen Action, which has been working to prevent Davis-Besse from restarting, said after reading the Haber report she doubts the current FirstEnergy management can address the problems outlined in the report.

Meanwhile, the NRC is evaluating FirstEnergy's safety culture efforts, commission spokesman Jan Strasma said. An inspection team will continue to evaluate the company's safety culture efforts at least through the end of next week, he said.

``We're not trying to determine safety culture ourselves, but what FirstEnergy is doing about safety culture,'' Strasma said. ``The safety culture issue is an underlying issue at Davis-Besse.''

Jim Mackinnon can be reached at 330-996-3544 or
 email this |  print this | license this | reprint this

Shopping & Services

Find a Job, a Car,
an Apartment,
a Home, and more...

Financial Markets

Breaking News
Updated Monday, May 05, 2003
USA Interactive agrees to buy LendingTree loan provider - 01:29 PM EDT
San Jose's Atmel names new financial chief - 01:23 PM EDT
Stocks Mixed; Dow Slips 29, Nasdaq Up 11 - 01:21 PM EDT
Dollar Drops to 4-Year Low Against Euro - 01:18 PM EDT
Cox Posts 1st-Quarter Loss, Revenue Up - 01:16 PM EDT

News | Business | Sports | Entertainment | Living | Classifieds