OAK HARBOR -- FirstEnergy Corp. intends to salvage two emergency
cooling pumps from a canceled nuclear plant in case they're needed
at the company's idled Davis-Besse reactor.
Although FirstEnergy has not ruled out modifying the Davis-Besse
pumps, the company authorized purchase of the never-used pumps as a
"It was the right thing to do," FirstEnergy spokes-man Todd
Schneider said Tuesday. "It was a prudent investment. If we don't
install them now, they could be kept as spares, or installed at a
later refueling outage."
FirstEnergy supplier Framatome ANP "got a good deal" on the
pumps, said Schneider, although he would not disclose the cost.
The Virginia firm, which obtained a replacement lid for
Davis-Besse's rust-damaged one last year from a mothballed Michigan
plant, will refurbish the pumps if needed, as well as make sure they
match Davis-Besse's piping and electrical equipment, Schneider said.
FirstEnergy is getting the pumps from an unfinished reactor at a
complex near Richland, Wash., Schneider said.
The reactor, about 65 percent complete, was mothballed in 1983
due to rising construction costs and a dim outlook for future power
The high-pressure pumps in question at Davis-Besse are part of
the reactor's emergency core cooling system, the equipment used to
keep the hot, radioactive fuel rods bathed with water in case of an
In March 2002, a month after the routine shutdown at the plant
along western Lake Erie, a leak was discovered that had allowed
boric acid to eat nearly through the 6-inch-thick steel cap covering
the plant's reactor vessel.
It was the most extensive corrosion ever at a U.S. nuclear
reactor and led to a nationwide review of all 69 similar plants.
Originally published Wednesday, April 9, 2003