A Cleveland-based advocacy group trying to keep FirstEnergy
Corp.'s Davis-Besse nuclear plant from restarting has told the
Securities and Exchange Commission it believes the Akron utility
misled its shareholders as well as regulators for years about the
Oak Harbor plant's condition.
Ohio Citizen Action has asked the SEC to investigate its
allegations and pursue a civil and criminal prosecution of
But FirstEnergy called the group's letter to the SEC a publicity
stunt. A spokesman said the company never misled shareholders or
anyone else about Davis-Besse, where a football-sized rust hole was
found last year nearly all the way through the top of the reactor
vessel head that covers the radioactive fuel.
Since the damage was found in March 2002, FirstEnergy has issued
21 news releases, filed 20 related reports with the SEC, and
participated in 31 public meetings, spokesman Ralph DiNicola said.
FirstEnergy also has fully complied with seven separate
investigations involving the plant, he said. Davis-Besse has
remained closed since the damage was discovered.
Ohio Citizen Action said that FirstEnergy omitted material
information from shareholders and financial analysts about the
rusting vessel head in 2000 and 2001, and that management repeatedly
misled stockholders about the plant's readiness to be restarted.
FirstEnergy has repeatedly pushed back restart dates, and says it
now hopes to have the plant ready for restart in August, pending
Nuclear Regulatory Commission approval.
Amy Ryder, Ohio Citizen Action's Cleveland director, said the
letter to the SEC is not a publicity stunt.
``The reason we filed the petition is because FirstEnergy has to
abide by fair disclosure rules,'' she said. ``They failed to
disclose information to regulators and to shareholders.''
Earlier this week, the Union for Concerned Scientists asked the
NRC to postpone approving a restart of Davis-Besse until the NRC's
criminal investigation of the plant is completed.