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BEACON JOURNAL
Updated Thursday, September 18, 2003
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Posted on Thu, Sep. 18, 2003 story:PUB_DESC
New problem stalls test at Davis-Besse

FirstEnergy Corp. is postponing, for at least another day, the start of a critical seven-day test of the Davis-Besse nuclear power plant's coolant system.

Late Tuesday night, a circuit breaker for a pump failed to hold as temperature and pressure were increased in the reactor core, utility spokesman Todd Schneider said. The plant hopes to find out what went wrong and have the problem fixed by today, he said.

Before FirstEnergy will be allowed to restart the plant shut down in February 2002, it has to prove to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that the troubled reactor will not leak coolant. FirstEnergy said if the power plant passes the seven-day test, Davis-Besse could be ready to restart before November, pending NRC approval.

The test involves heating the reactor to about 550 degrees and increasing internal pressure to a typical 2,155 pounds per square inch. The reactor was holding at 385 degrees and 780 pounds per square inch as of late Wednesday afternoon, Schneider said.

Court lets Goodyear keep papers private

A federal appeals court has ruled that Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. does not have to publicly release documents related to alleged tire defects.

The ruling stemmed from a lawsuit filed by families of two Air Force officers who were killed when the van they were traveling in rolled over.

The families said defective tires caused the accident. Goodyear gave related documents to the families' lawyers, but the company sought to keep them sealed from the public, saying they contain trade secrets. The decision overturned a previous ruling that demanded the documents be made public.

Roadway-sale costs to cause loss in Q3

Roadway Corp., the Akron-based trucking company being bought by smaller competitor Yellow Corp., said it expects a loss of 16 cents to 21 cents a share in its fiscal third quarter because of costs related to the transaction. Roadway said payments for stock issued in connection with the $966 million agreement led to the loss. The company, which expects to announce financial results later this month, said profit from continuing operations will be ``at the upper end'' of its previously announced range of 60 cents to 70 cents a share.

Gates gets look at Linux, Netscape

It's not often that Bill Gates is associated with the free Linux computer operating system, Netscape's Web browser or royalty-free software, but he embraced all three Wednesday.

The chairman of Microsoft Corp. sat through a computer demonstration running on Linux -- a competitor to Microsoft's Windows -- and the Netscape browser, a rival product that all but disappeared because of giveaways of Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser.

Gates attended a technical briefing at a Midtown Manhattan hotel, where Microsoft and software rival IBM Corp. touted so-called Web services -- software aimed at streamlining Internet transactions. Tools will let computers conduct secure transactions whether they run Windows, IBM's WebSphere or the open-source Linux system that is given away.

Akron gas group rate is $7.15 for winter

For customers who signed up with the city of Akron's one-year natural gas aggregation plan with Shell Energy, the fixed winter rate has been set at $7.15 per thousand cubic feet (mcf) for December through April. The fixed rate for November is $7.21/mcf. The contract calls for a variable rate for the summer.

Customers, who had to sign up for the plan before the fixed winter rates were set, should receive a letter detailing the price and giving them an option to cancel without a penalty by Oct. 10. Customers who try to cancel in the winter will face a $25 fee.

Shell Director of Marketing Mark Pyle said customers should wait until they receive their letter before contacting Shell.

Shell is no longer accepting enrollments for its Akron plan, but the company has a $6.99/mcf fixed-rate one-year offer for the public. The company's number is 877-557-4355.

FirstEnergy workers ratify contract offer

FirstEnergy maintenance and construction workers have approved a contract proposal.

Nick Vitale, secretary of Local 126 of the Utility Workers of America, declined to release totals of Tuesday's vote.

The union had rejected a previous contract offer.

The new contract calls for raises totaling 6 percent over two years, while requiring union members to pay 10 percent of health care costs for the first time.

Vitale said the 480 union members also got raises retroactive to July 1, when their previous contract expired.

GE changes equity part of CEO's pay

General Electric Co. CEO Jeffrey Immelt will receive ``performance share units'' instead of stock options, tying the equity part of his compensation more directly to the company's results.

Immelt will get PSUs instead of the retention-oriented stock options and restricted stock units that other executives get. Stock options involve the right to buy a stock at a particular price; PSUs involve the ability to receive a share provided performance criteria are met.

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