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Posted on Thu, Jul. 10, 2003 story:PUB_DESC
NRC picks new regulator for Davis-Besse
Jim Caldwell to help decide when nuclear plant will be restarted
Associated Press

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 electricity.

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 Mitlyng said.

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 reactor programs.

Collins halted a shutdown order that had been prepared for Davis-Besse about 3 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 Inspector General.

Critics questioned the Collins promotion. ``I still think Sam Collins should have been fired,'' said Amy Ryder of Ohio Citizen Action.

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 headquarters.

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