OAK HARBOR - A new top federal regulator
has been appointed to oversee repairs at the shuttered Davis-Besse
nuclear power plant and help decide when it can resume producing
Jim Caldwell, who has been the Lisle, Ill.-based regional deputy
administrator for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, was appointed
regional administrator on Tuesday, succeeding Jim Dyer.
Caldwell has been deputy regional administrator for six years and
is well-informed about the situation at the Davis-Besse plant,
located along Lake Erie east of Toledo, agency spokeswoman Viktoria
Davis-Besse has been shut down since February 2002. A month later
a leak was discovered that had allowed boric acid to eat nearly
through the 6-inch steel cap covering the reactor vessel.
Dyer was promoted to run the NRC's office of nuclear reactor
regulation at agency headquarters in Rockville, Md.
That position was vacated with the promotion of Sam Collins to
become the agency's No. 2 official, deputy executive director for
Collins halted a shutdown order that had been prepared for
Davis-Besse about 3 ½ months before the corrosion was discovered.
Collins declined to enforce it after hearing FirstEnergy's financial
pleas, prompting criticism in a report by the agency's Office of
Critics questioned the Collins promotion. ``I still think Sam
Collins should have been fired,'' said Amy Ryder of Ohio Citizen
Jim Riccio, Greenpeace nuclear policy analyst, said Collins ``has
allowed utilities to run reactors to the point of breakdown. That's
not a good regulator.''
Collins could not be reached for comment Wednesday. An interview
request was left for him at the public affairs office of agency