FirstEnergy and Davis-Besse
Nov 30: FirstEnergy gets state's OK to defer $91M costs
Critics claim tactic bypasses rate freeze
COLUMBUS -- "The Ohio Supreme Court yesterday approved an accounting maneuver employed by Toledo Edison and other FirstEnergy Corp. subsidiaries to defer $91 million in costs until after a state-mandated freeze on customers' rates ended... Justice Paul Pfeifer cast the sole dissenting vote. 'The cap is meaningless if utilities can simply charge consumers for costs incurred during the market-development period after the expiration of the period," he wrote," Jim Provance, Toledo Blade.
COLUMBUS -- Consumers' Counsel reacts to Supreme Court decision on FirstEnergy and DP&L collection of transmission charges, press release, Ohio Consumers' Counsel.
reactor gets life extension, raising safety questions
MONTICELLO, MN -- "In 2002, for example, a buildup of boric acid ate through
six inches of carbon steel in an Ohio reactor's high-pressure water-cooling vessel
- a fault overlooked in routine monitoring. That incident, said David Lochbaum,
nuclear safety engineer at the Union of Concerned Scientists, 'is the closest
we came to disaster since Three Mile Island' in 1979. However, faulty plant oversight
is rare, Lochbaum adds. Before that incident, he said the Davis-Besse nuclear
plant outside Toledo, got 'all A' report cards from regulators," Mike Myers"
Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Xcel Energy's nuclear plant at Monticello.
sued for wrongful termination
says he tried to fix problems
CLINTON -- "An 18-page complaint filed Monday in Ottawa County Common Pleas
Court contends that Mr. Siemaszko was made out to be a 'scapegoat' for insisting
in 2000 that boric acid be removed from Davis-Besse's old reactor head before
the nuclear plant resumed operation that spring. Two years later, when the plant
was shut down for refueling, the massive lid had become so thinned out by acid
that government researchers eventually concluded it was a statistical fluke that
it held together," Tom Henry, Toledo Blade.
The corroded part of the Davis-Besse reactor lid is seen
here after it was cut out from the rest of the hull.
blasted over Pennsylvania reactor; Davis-Besse operator criticized over fake data,
TOLEDO -- "FirstEnergy Corp. is in hot water with the Nuclear Regulatory
Commission again over falsified inspection records, this time with its Beaver
Valley nuclear complex near Shippingport, Pa... 'FirstEnergy should never have
the falsified records issue again. They should have the squeakiest clean process
by now,' said David Lochbaum, a nuclear safety engineer in Washington for the
Union of Concerned Scientists. 'The lessons of Davis-Besse didn't get to Beaver
Valley as broadly as they needed to be," he said," Tom Henry, Toledo Blade.
The Beaver Valley nuclear complex
Sep 17: Reactors
prone to long closings, study finds
WASHINGTON, DC -- "An analysis of nuclear reactors by a safety group has found that they
are prone to costly, lengthy shutdowns for safety problems regardless of their
age or the experience of their managers. The finding could have implications for
companies considering building new reactors. The analysis, by David Lochbaum,
a nuclear engineer at the Union of Concerned Scientists, counted 51 times that
a reactor had been closed for a year or more... The shutdown of more than a year
that ended most recently was at Davis-Besse, near Toledo, Ohio, where workers
found that an acid used in the plant, boron, had corroded a 70-pound chunk of
steel in the reactor’s vessel head, leaving only a half-inch stainless steel liner,"
Matthew Wald, New York Times.
defends reactors' security
tout post-9/11 safeguards
OAK HARBOR -- "From simulated-attack
exercises to physical barriers, there's no question that security at America's
103 nuclear plants has been enhanced since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11,
2001. The question, as haunting images from New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania
are replayed in the nation's psyche today: Has it been enough?," Tom Henry,
shuts Ohio Davis-Besse reactor for work
NEW YORK, NY -- "FirstEnergy
Corp. shut the 873-megawatt Davis-Besse nuclear power station in Ohio early Wednesday
due to a problem with the condenser, a spokesman for the Akron, Ohio-based company
said. He said operators manually shut the reactor early this morning after the
condenser started to lose vacuum. The spokesman said a team was investigating
the problem but he could not say how long it would take to fix the condenser and
return the unit to service," Reuters.
Aug 22: Slow
Start for Revival of Nuclear Reactors
BALTIMORE, MD -- "The
federal official for promoting nuclear energy, Lewis L. Strauss, said it would
produce electricity 'too cheap to meter.' It has never given consumers anything
like that. But with the industry now consolidated so that most reactors are in
the hands of a comparatively few operators, utility executives are sharply divided
over whether nuclear power offers an attractive choice as they seek to satisfy
a growing demand for electricity. For them, the question comes down not so much
to safety and environmental impact but to whether the potential reward is worth
the financial risk. And those who already operate several reactors are prone to
want more," Matthew L. Wald, New York Times.
ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA
-- The G-8's Risky
Nuclear Embrace, Mike Hertsgaard, The Nation.
Jul 21: Groups
lambaste nuke official for alleged regulatory laxness
MD -- "Jim Dyer, a former Midwest region chief for the Nuclear Regulatory
Commission, apparently has "learned nothing from the Davis-Besse debacle"
by letting the nuclear industry continue to voluntarily report leaks of radioactive
water at nuclear plants, according to a statement issued yesterday by more than
two dozen groups and individuals. The NRC should immediately demand technical
information that could lead to a national assessment of the problem, they said.
The groups said they want to know if recent leaks reported in Illinois, New York,
Missouri, Connecticut, Massachussetts, and Arizona were a fluke or a symptom of
a bigger problem," Tom Henry, Toledo Blade.
gives more documents to the NRC Newly
found papers may affect defendants
HARBOR -- "FirstEnergy Corp. revealed yesterday it has stumbled upon 70-some
documents that could affect the criminal prosecution of three former Davis-Besse
employees. The documents were found 'several weeks ago' at the nuclear plant while
an office was being moved. They were turned over to the U.S. Department of Justice
and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Tuesday, said Todd Schneider, a spokesman
for the utility. Some were copies of previously submitted materials. An undisclosed
number were new, he said. Viktoria Mitlyng, a Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesman,
said the agency 'will be looking into the circumstances of how these documents
were found as well as the content,'" Tom Henry, Toledo Blade.
U.S. report cites problems with NRC's 'safety culture'
Accountability Office investigators call reactor oversight ineffective
TOLEDO -- "The report predicts new steps will be implemented in July
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission still needs to change a problematic 'safety
culture' at the nation's power plants, highlighted by a near-disaster in 2002
at the Davis-Besse nuclear reactor near Oak Harbor, according to the federal Government
Accountability Office's preliminary findings in a recent report," Eric Lund, Toledo Blade.
Jun 16: Energy
Ohio utility regulator
proposes renewable-power program
COLUMBUS -- "As energy prices
hover at record levels, Ohio should consider adopting an experimental program
to use wind, the sun and other renewable resources for 4 percent of its overall
power use, the state's top regulator said Thursday...Schriber and Ohio Consumers'
Counsel Janine Migden-Ostrander said they believe the project would work. Four
percent is too small a market share to lead large utilities to try to stop it,
and the growth of power use over five years likely will weaken the program's market
share, Migden-Ostrander said," John McCarthy, Cincinnati Enquirer.
Jun 11: Waste
storage dilemma crimps nuclear future
AVILA BEACH, CA-- "the
industry and its supporters in Washington still have not resolved one of the biggest
issues that derailed nuclear power in the 1970s and 1980s -- what to do with the
waste, which remains radioactive for thousands of years. Yucca Mountain remains
bottled up by Nevada politicians. One alternative would be to recycle spent fuel
rods, extracting radioactive material for reuse and reducing the amount of waste
that would need to be stored. But the idea has long been blocked by fears that
plutonium removed from old rods could fall into the hands of terrorists or rogue
countries trying to build nuclear weapons. So Diablo and other nuclear plants
must keep their waste on-site -- indefinitely," David R. Baker, San Fransisco
SKULL VALLEY, UT -- Trainload
of debate on nuke storage, Environmental groups vow to fight a Utah tribe's
plan, If approved, waste would likely roll on Denver tracks, Michael Riley, Denver
May 11: PUCO
accused of allowing increase during rate freeze
million wrongly added to utility bills, watchdog tells court
-- "While the freeze was in effect, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio
approved $70 million in deferred costs for FirstEnergy and $7 million for Dayton
Power & Light, said Kimberly W. Bojko, an attorney for the Ohio Consumers
Counsel. More than 2 million customers were affected by what consumer attorneys
described as a retroactive rate increase," Alan Johnson, Columbus Dispatch.
COLUMBUS -- PUCO
charged with aiding utility dodge freeze, T.C. Brown, Cleveland Plain Dealer.
COLUMBUS -- PUCO
violated law in allowing Edison fees, Ohio high court told, Jim Provance,
5: FirstEnergy's investment in the Ohio Supreme
Court pays off
COLUMBUS -- "When corporations announce bad news,
they do it after financial markets close on a Friday. When legislators want to
pass a dirty bill, they do it during a "lame duck" session after an
election. When the Ohio Supreme Court issues an opinion it is ashamed of, it happens
the day after a primary election.
Right on schedule this Wednesday,
the Court approved FirstEnergy's illegal plan to charge customers $15 to $20 extra
every month in exchange for absolutely nothing. Five of the members of the Court
have received a total of $125,000 in campaign contributions from people connected
to FirstEnergy in the last nine years. Nearly half the money, $61,000, went to
Chief Justice Thomas Moyer and Justices Terrence O'Donnell and Judith Lanzinger
from an August 2004 fundraiser at the home of FirstEnergy Chief Executive Anthony
$15 to $20 a month may not seem like much to Anthony Alexander
or Thomas Moyer, but it is a lot to our members. It is a real issue to us, and
gubernatorial candidates Ken Blackwell and Ted Strickland have done nothing about
it. They could have joined our call for the justices to recuse themselves. They
could be leading the fight for public
financing of Supreme Court races. Instead, they've been too busy ... doing
guess what? Raising money." Catherine Turcer, Ohio Citizen Action.
May 4: Regulators
rapped over electricity plan
-- "State regulators stripped customers of choice in an electricity market
that's supposed to be all about choice when it reached a three-year agreement
with FirstEnergy Corp., the Ohio Supreme Court ruled yesterday. The court, in
a 5-2 ruling, largely upheld the Akron utility's latest rate plan that locked
basic fees through 2008. But the court said the Public Utilities Commission of
Ohio did not have authority under the state's 1999 electricity deregulation law
to limit customers' alternatives to FirstEnergy, even if going with another supplier
might have meant higher bills," Jim Provance, Toledo Blade.
CLEVELAND -- More
electricity rate bids ordered, John Funk, Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Nuclear reactors found to be leaking radioactive water
DC -- "With power cleaner than coal and cheaper than natural gas, the nuclear
industry, 20 years past its last meltdown, thinks it is ready for its second act:
its first new reactor orders since the 1970's. But there is a catch. The public's
acceptance of new reactors depends in part on the performance of the old ones,
and lately several of those have been discovered to be leaking radioactive water
into the ground. Near Braceville, Ill., the Braidwood Generating Station, owned
by the Exelon Corporation, has leaked tritium into underground water that has
shown up in the well of a family nearby," Matthew L. Wald, New York Times.
penalty isn't enough for FirstEnergy
OAK HARBOR "We
don't accept the premise that companies only pay for their wrongdoings through
penalties. We wonder why officials higher in the FirstEnergy power structure have
avoided legal consequences. The legal troubles facing Enron and others didn't
stop below the executive suites. While $28 million sounds like a lot of money,
such a penalty is not significant enough in this case. This might be the largest
penalty in the history of the nuclear industry, but that might say more about
the questionable oversight of this industry than about any sense of justice,"
editorial, Port Clinton News Herald. Originally published Feb. 2, 2006.
OAK HARBOR The
corporate veil, "At the very least, FirstEnergy should get absolutely
no recognition for the money channeled to local and regional institutions. The
company has admitted it lied and written a check as its only form of apology.
No company deserves thanks for that," editorial, Toledo Blade. Originally
published Feb. 4, 2006.
man arraigned over Davis-Besse woes
accused of deceiving regulators
-- "The third person of a trio accused of deceiving federal regulators about
problems at the Davis-Besse nuclear power plant in the fall of 2001 was arraigned
yesterday in U.S. District Court in Toledo. David Geisen of Wisconsin pleaded
not guilty to five counts of making false statements to a federal agency. On Friday,
Andrew Siemaszko, 51, of Texas and Rodney M. Cook, 55, of Tennessee pleaded innocent
to five and four counts of the same charge, respectively. Mr. Geisen and Mr. Siemaszko
were engineers at the plant near Oak Harbor, Ohio," Toledo Blade.
Jan 30: Record
Davis-Besse fine to aid area wildlife refuge, UT, others
Project, visitor center to share $1.35M
TOLEDO -- "FirstEnergy Corp. was caught in a lie. No
matter how much people speculate about what could have happened if the thinned-out
layer of steel covering the Davis-Besse nuclear plant had ruptured in 2002, none
of that changes the fact that the utility knowingly endangered the safety of northern
Ohio residents, according to U.S. Department of Justice officials. The utility
- through its willingness to accept a record $28 million fine - now acknowledges
that, as a corporation, it covered up information that should have been presented
to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in the fall of 2001," Tom Henry,
ex-workers deny guilt in cover-up at Davis-Besse
-- "Two of the three people accused of covering up information about problems
at the Davis-Besse nuclear power plant pleaded not guilty yesterday in U.S. District
Court in Toledo. Andrew Siemaszko, 51, of Spring, Texas, and Rodney M. Cook, 55,
of Millington, Tenn., entered the pleas to charges of making false statements
to a federal agency. Mr. Siemaszko has been charged with five counts. Mr. Cook
has been charged with four. Conviction on any of the charges allows for a maximum
penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, Magistrate Vernelis Armstrong
said," Tom Henry, Toledo Blade.
consultant face charges in U.S. court
linked to woes at Davis-Besse plant
-- "An appeal of Mr. Siemaszko's employment sanction is being heard by the
NRC's Atomic Safety and Licensing Board. Two watchdog groups, the Union of Concerned
Scientists, based in Cambridge, Mass., as well as Ohio Citizen Action,
have been granted intervener status by that board to assist with Mr. Siemaszko's
defense in the civil matter. David Lochbaum, Union of Concerned Scientists nuclear
safety engineer, yesterday submitted an eight-page rebuttal to the NRC in which
his group laid out a paper trail, based on publicly available documents, to support
its contention that Mr. Siemaszko was rebuffed by FirstEnergy in 2000 when he
tried to postpone Davis-Besse's restart to do more maintenance on the old reactor
head," Tom Henry, Toledo Blade.
TOLEDO -- Questions
for FirstEnergy, Editorial, Toledo Blade.
performed without deviations'
NRC unfairly sactioned Andrew Siemaszko
HARBOR -- "In March 2002, workers discovered a large hole in the reactor
vessel head at the Davis-Besse nuclear plant in Ohio. In April 2005, the NRC issued
an Order that would ban Andrew Siemaszko from working in the nuclear industry
for five years. Siemaszko was an engineer at Davis-Besse. The NRC's Order claimed
that Siemaszko falsified paperwork during the spring 2000 refueling outage at
Davis-Besse and duped FirstEnergy and the NRC into believing the reactor vessel
head had been completely cleaned and inspected. As detailed in the attached rebuttal
prepared by UCS, the NRC's claim contradicts the abundant record on this matter.
The NRC is flat-out wrong," Dave Lochbaum, Union of Concerned Scientists.
Questions for FirstEnergy
TOLEDO -- "THE agreement whereby
FirstEnergy Corp. will pay $28 million to settle the Davis-Besse reactor corrosion
case should not deter federal prosecutors from determining who else at the utility
might have borne responsibility for potentially endangering the lives of thousands
of northwest Ohioans... Both shareholders and customers of FirstEnergy, which
include more than 300,000 in the Toledo area and 4.5 million total in Ohio, Pennsylvania,
and New Jersey, have a right to wonder about the state of management of what is
the fifth-largest investor-owned utility in the U.S.," editorial, Toledo
Firstenergy admits to nuclear power plant cover-up
-- "FirstEnergy Corp. Friday admitted that some of its employees made false
statements to US regulators about safety violations at one of its nuclear plants
and said it had reached a deal with the US Department of Justice to avoid indictment
of the utility. The company's nuclear operating unit, FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating
Co. (FENOC), agreed to pay a $28 million penalty to the Justice Department and
cooperate with criminal and administrative investigations and proceedings. The
penalty is the largest ever imposed for nuclear safety violations in the United
States, according to the Justice Department," Michael Erman, Planet Ark.
FirstEnergy fines total $28 million
admits workers misled U.S. inspectors
CLEVELAND -- "FirstEnergy Corp. avoided criminal prosecution
Friday by paying $28 million in fines and admitting that its employees had misled
government inspectors about the extent of damage at the Davis-Besse nuclear plant
in 2001. The largest fine in the history of the nuclear industry still drew outrage
from FirstEnergy opponents, who called it too small... Sandy Buchanan, executive
director of Ohio Citizen Action, said 'I'm pretty horrified, actually.
It just seems not to match what the crime was... I don't even see how the fine
means much to them,... they can absorb that one way or the other.' The agreement
precludes FirstEnergy from passing on the cost to its customers," Dave Scott, Akron Beacon Journal.
CLEVELAND -- FirstEnergy
to pay $28 million fine for lying; Davis-Besses punishment largest in nuclear
industry, Tom Henry, Toledo Blade.
CLEVELAND -- Ohio
nuclear plant to pay up for leak, Penalties will total $28 million, Workers
had tried to cover up the extensive damage, Mark Kropko, Philadelphia Inquirer.
U.S. indicts trio in Davis-Besse inquiry
head facts withheld, government says
-- "On April 21, 2005, the NRC imposed a five-year ban on further employment
in the nuclear industry against Mr. Siemaszko a decision which has rankled
activists in Ohio and Washington. Several of them have rallied around Mr. Siemaszko,
describing him as a whistleblower who tried to reveal the plants problems
during its 2000 outage, only to be set up as a scapegoat by FirstEnergy and the
NRC. The company and the agency deny those allegations. Ohio Citizen Action,
the states largest environmental group, as well as the Union of Concerned
Scientists, based in Cambridge, Mass., recently were granted intervener status
on Mr. Siemaszkos behalf for his appeal of the proposed NRC employment sanction,"
Tom Henry, Toledo Blade.
CLEVELAND -- 3
accused of lying about reactor, FirstEnergy plea is likely in probe of Davis-Besse,
John Funk and Mike Tobin, Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Charges filed in
acid-leak investigation at nuclear plant, Connie Mabin, Akron Beacon Journal.
Davis-Besse court cases could loom over big step
HARBOR-- "That leaves open the possibility that NRC officials will be judging
Davis-Besses suitability for continued operation at the same time state
or federal judges perhaps even other agency officials themselves
are hearing appeals on the alleged roles the company or various individuals may
have had in concealing information about the gaping cavity that almost burst open
with radioactive steam. The event has been described by several NRC officials
as the nuclear industrys biggest safety lapse since the partial meltdown
of the Three Mile Island Unit 2 nuclear plant in eastern Pennsylvania in 1979,"
Tom Henry, Toledo Blade.
lists upgrades to nuclear unit
SHIPPINGPORT, PA -- "As
anticipation builds over the outcome of a two-year criminal probe into the near-rupture
of Davis-Besse's old reactor head, FirstEnergy Corp. yesterday spent three hours
here updating the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on systemwide improvements being
made throughout the utility's nuclear division. NRC officials said they generally
were satisfied by what they heard, though they still have reservations about FirstEnergy's
ability to diagnose its own problems. But unlike the recent past, the driving
force for the agency's concerns isn't Davis-Besse. It is a series of performance
issues that have led to increased oversight at the utility's Perry nuclear plant
east of Cleveland," Tom Henry, Toledo Blade.
Nuclear safety record mixed, Stephanie Waite, Beaver County Times and
men barred from nuclear sites
say Davis-Besse ex-workers gave false report on reactor
-- "Even as leaking boric acid ate a hole into the top of the Davis-Besse
nuclear reactor in late 2001, four FirstEnergy Corp. employees mischaracterized
the reactor's condition to avoid a costly shutdown and keep the power plant operating
another three months, federal regulators charge. On Thursday, the Nuclear Regulatory
Commission announced it had barred the four from working in the U.S. nuclear industry
for as long as five years for failing to provide complete and accurate information
about the plant's safety. The NRC said the workers, who have left the Akron utility,
engaged in deliberate misconduct regarding a growing rust hole atop the Davis-Besse
reactor," Jim Mackinnon, Akron Beacon Journal.
former nuclear plant employees banned from industry, Dayton Daily News.
Jan 5: Davis-Besse
nuclear plant probes wrap up
Four to be
banned from nuclear industry
-- "The last chapters of the Davis-Besse fiasco are about to be written.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission today will banish four former FirstEnergy Corp.
managers from the nuclear industry for their roles in convincing the NRC that
the Toledo-area nuclear plant was safe and could postpone a reactor lid inspection...
U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, a Lakewood Democrat, said Wednesday night that the
action against the four is 'shameful,' because it overlooks the utility's failure
to nurture a culture of safety at the plant and masks the NRC's failure as a strong
regulator. 'The NRC is going to have to purchase a new gallon of white paint for
this whitewash,' he said," John Funk, Cleveland Plain Dealer.
2005: Jan-May, Jun-Dec
2004: Jan, Feb,
Jan-Feb, Mar-Apr, May-Jun,
2002: Jan-Jun, Jul-Aug,
As of Jul 16, 2004. . .
4,428 neighbors have sent handwritten letters and petitions urging the Public Utilities Commission to scrap FirstEnergy's pending $3 billion rate plan.
4,065 neighbors have sent handwritten letters and petitions urging their mayors to oppose FirstEnergy's demand for $3 billion in new overcharges to customers.
19,000 neighbors have sent handwritten letters and petitions pressing the U.S. NRC to stop FirstEnergy from restarting Davis-Besse.
27,834 neighbors have sent handwritten letters, member names on sign-on letters, and postcards urging FirstEnergy not to restart Davis-Besse.
4,022 neighbors have signed postcards and sign-on letters to each of Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, Auditor Betty Montgomery, and Attorney General Jim Petro, urging them to demand that the FirstEnergy case get at least as much scrutiny as other rate cases. Another 4,620 neighbors have sent similar messages to Gov. Bob Taft.