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Davis-Besse Containment Pressure Test Under Way

2003-04-08 13:53 ET - News Release

April 8 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company (FENOC) announced today the initiation of another important milestone in the restart process at the Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station -- a pressure test of the 1-1/2-inch thick steel vessel inside of the containment building.

The test, called an integrated leak rate test, began late yesterday and is expected to be completed by the end of the week. It is required by Nuclear Regulatory Commission every 10 years, and was successfully performed at Davis- Besse in 2000. However, because crews opened the containment building to replace the reactor head last summer, the test is being repeated now to verify the restoration of the structure.

The test is designed to verify the integrity of the containment vessel, which measures 285-feet high and 130-feet in diameter. The 2.8 million cubic feet of the containment vessel houses the reactor and important safety equipment. The leak rate test requires increasing the normal atmospheric pressure inside containment to 38.5 pounds per cubic inch, maintaining that pressure for about six hours, and using instrumentation to verify the pressure.

"By the end of the week, we'll add this test to a long list of important milestones we've reached on our way to restarting this plant," said FENOC Chief Operating Officer and Site Vice President Lew Myers. "We're making good progress, completing more than 5,000 work activities since the first of the year."

Those activities include: the design and installation of a permanent reactor cavity seal; completion of the integrated Safety Features Actuation System test, which checks most of the important safety systems in the plant; modification of the emergency containment sump; and installation of the FLUS Leak Detection System on the bottom of the reactor vessel -- the first time this state-of-the-art system has been used in a U.S. nuclear power plant.

FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company is a subsidiary of the Akron, Ohio- based FirstEnergy Corp. , a registered public utility holding company.

Forward-Looking Statements: This news release includes forward-looking statements based on information currently available to management. Such statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties. These statements typically contain, but are not limited to, the terms "anticipate," "potential," "expect," "believe," "estimate" and similar words. Actual results may differ materially due to the speed and nature of increased competition and deregulation in the electric utility industry, economic or weather conditions affecting future sales and margins, changes in markets for energy services, changing energy market prices, legislative and regulatory changes or approvals (including revised environmental requirements), availability and cost of capital, inability to accomplish or realize anticipated benefits of strategic goals and other similar factors.

FirstEnergy Corp.

CONTACT: Richard Wilkins of FirstEnergy, +1-419-321-7129

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