Nuclear power news
Nov - Dec 2002

Dec 30: Experts to review Davis-Besse cracks

WASHINGTON, DC -- "In March, experts in the nuclear power field will gather in the Washington, D.C. area to confer for three days on nozzle cracks that have surfaced at some power plants -- including the Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station in Ottawa County. The conference, from March 24 through the 26, will focus on the nickel-based alloy used in the reactor vessel head nozzles that cracked at the Davis-Besse plant and in several others across the United States," Jennifer Funk, Fremont News-Messenger

Dec 29: Davis-Besse workers' repair job hardest yet

OAK HARBOR -- "Although they suspected a coolant leak somewhere, Davis-Besse personnel couldn't find one. Instead of pursuing its cause, they moved the monitors' intakes to a different spot. They even bypassed one of the devices' three sensors because it kept triggering alarms. To experts like Mario Bonaca, a top adviser to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Davis-Besse detectors weren't just registering a leaking, rusting reactor lid, but a corroded attitude toward safety, too. 'Those were almost daily events,' the nuclear industry veteran fumed at a recent meeting. 'Didn't somebody scratch their head and say, Why are we overriding these indications?'' " John Mangels, John Funk, Cleveland Plain Dealer

OAK HARBOR -- "FirstEnergy works to foster safety culture of work force," John Mangels, John Funk, Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Dec 27: Reactor study isn’t a surprise to utilities
Facilities reportedly can take strike by jet

OAK HARBOR -- "A nuclear industry sponsored report that showed a reactor could withstand a direct hit from a jetliner, came as no surprise to local industry spokesmen. The report issued this week by the nuclear industry’s chief lobbying group claims nuclear plants - Davis-Besse, Fermi II, and 101 others across the country - are not as vulnerable to terrorist-led jetliner crashes as the World Trade Center or the Pentagon. The latest findings will not likely silence those who question the vulnerability of nuclear plants and other large targets, such as refineries and chemical plants. Among them is Amy Ryder, Cleveland-area director of Ohio Citizen Action. She said she’s not convinced any such guarantees about radiation protection can be made, given the potential for systems to fail. She questioned whether enough is being done to shut off potential access from Lake Erie, even with the Coast Guard’s heightened security measures. She worries about the possibility of other forms of terrorism, such as a "dirty-bomb" explosion. "That’s one of the concerns - whether a plant could be attacked by a means other than a jetliner," Ms. Ryder said," Tom Henry, Toledo Blade.

OAK HARBOR-- "PERSPECTIVE: Community wants Davis-Besse up and running," John Seewer, Associated Press.

Dec 24: Davis-Besse safety analysis explained

LISLE, Ill -- "Managers of the Davis-Besse nuclear power plant moved one step closer to gaining permission to restart the reactor yesterday. They detailed to federal authorities the steps taken to prove the plant's safety systems will function as designed in an emergency. By yesterday, those problems had been whittled down to 26 that could potentially affect safety... The NRC staff wanted to know why so many suspected problems had resurfaced since Davis-Besse's own engineers had reviewed the design basis of the plant just five years ago. "Of the 26 potential safety concerns, were any of them identified previously and not resolved?" asked Jack Grobe, chairman of the NRC committee overseeing the company's efforts to rebuild Davis-Besse. Powers and his colleagues said some had been identified in the late 1990s but not resolved because the engineering staff did not have the resources. "Yes, we could have done better," Powers conceded," John Funk, Cleveland Plain Dealer.

LISLE, Ill -- "Davis-Besse whittles down list of safety issues," Tom Henry, Toledo Blade.

AKRON -- "FirstEnergy sees no need to redesign Davis-Besse," Jim MacKinnon, Akron Beacon Journal.

Dec 23: The questions endure

TOLEDO -- "A final decision on implementation isn’t scheduled until next year. What’s the reason for waiting? And who will be assuring Congress and the public that the worst reactor-head corrosion ever seen in the United States doesn’t happen again? Ohioans, especially in this region, and all Americans living near a nuclear power generator, are entitled to know. ," editorial, Toledo Blade.

HUNTINGTON, NY -- "Ready disaster plan, town told," Alfonso Castillo, Newsday.

Dec 21: Utility to keep 4 coal-fired plants

AKRON -- "FirstEnergy Corp. has decided not to sell four coal-fired power plants on the shore of Lake Erie. After reviewing the two bids for the plants, the Akron utility said it made more sense to keep them. FirstEnergy originally had hoped to use $1 billion from the sale of the plants to repay debt. But the utility said yesterday that its main reason for the sale was to improve the balance and diversity of its power generation. DiNicola said the sale would have accelerated debt repayment. But he said the company already has repaid about $2 billion this year even without the sale. Its debt remains about $14 billion, including debt from last year's nearly $11 billion purchase of GPU Inc., owner of New Jersey's second-largest utility. "It's not a setback," said Brian Fox, an analyst at McDonald Investments Inc., commenting on the failure to sell the plants," Thomas W Gerdel, Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Dec 20: Group seeks order for electric refunds
Davis-Besse parent firm targeted

OAK HARBOR -- "Ohio’s largest consumer group yesterday urged the state utility commission to order a partial refund of electric bills that FirstEnergy Corp. customers have paid since the Davis-Besse nuclear plant began its extended outage Feb. 16. Ratepayers deserve a break now that Davis-Besse is in its 10th month of a shutdown and still without a guarantee it will be restarted, according to Jennifer O’Donnell, Ohio Citizen Action’s Akron area director," Tom Henry, Toledo Blade.

NYSE:FE -- "FirstEnergy to keep plants," Crain's Cleveland Business.

OAK HARBOR -- "Group wants refunds from FirstEnergy," Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Dec 19: Stop Davis-Besse 'stranded costs', order $80 million refund

CLEVELAND -- "Davis-Besse hasn’t produced electricity for ten months, and its future is questionable. It clearly is not 'used and useful'. The plant could not function in a competitive market, and customers should not be held financially liable for it. . . . Using figures from the initial direct testimony of [Harvey L. Wagner, FirstEnergy’s Controller and Chief Accounting Officer] and Richard A. Kaiser in the transition case, the generation stranded costs for Davis-Besse totaled $506,192,879, which FirstEnergy would collect from ratepayers from January 1, 2001 through December 31, 2005. This figure is reached by subtracting Davis-Besse’s actual value of $156,000,000 from Davis-Besse’s book value of $662,192,879," Amy Ryder, Cleveland program director, Ohio Citizen Action, letter to Alan Shriber, Chair, Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.

OAK HARBOR -- "Plant neighbors to get radiation-fighting pills," Tom Henry, Toledo Blade.

Dec 18: Davis-Besse official squares off with activist in local TV show
'Now You Decide'

PORT CLINTON -- "'As engineers predicted four decades ago, nuclear reactors aren't going to last forever,' says Amy Ryder, head of the Cleveland office of Ohio Citizen Action. 'We still have this issue of, the reactor's just old,' . . . During taping, [FirstEnergy spokesman Richard] Wilkins said FirstEnergy is confident the facility will wrap up repairs and restart at an undetermined time early next year. If political or financial strains become too extreme, however, he said the company may be forced to 'reconsider other options.' Hours afterward, Wilkins clarified that comment in a phone interview: 'There are other options. [FirstEnergy chairman and chief executive officer H. Peter Burg] didn't specify what those options were, but you could decommission it, you could mothball it, you could sell it or lease it,' Wilkins said," Rick Neale, Port Clinton News Herald.

FREMONT -- "Davis-Besse nuclear power station should not restart," Anita Toth, letter to the editor, Port Clinton News Herald.

Dec 17: FirstEnergy refutes worker's retaliation claim concerning safety issues
Port Clinton man was part of reactor head replacement process
Davis-Besse contractor injures hand

PORT CLINTON -- "FirstEnergy is refuting a Port Clinton man's allegations that he received retaliation for reporting safety concerns. . . FirstEnergy bought an unused, replacement reactor head from a nuclear plant in Midland, Mich., and installation procedures took place in August and September. [Plaintiff Timothy] Tackett helped supervise work on a polar crane during that process inside the plant's containment building. During the Sept. 17 public meeting, Davis-Besse plant official Mike Stevens said he determined the polar crane was in unacceptable condition during a personal inspection. On Sept. 18, Tackett had an hour-long meeting with the plant's resident NRC inspector at the plant, during which he brought up his safety concerns, according to the suit," Rick Neale, Port Clinton News Herald.

KIEV, UKRAINE -- "Chernobyl atom station dangerous again?," Andrei Lubensky,

Dec 15: Experts: Plant woes hot topic when next NRC chief is named
Findings shake global industry

TOLEDO -- "While information continues to pour out about the lack of maintenance and oversight there by FirstEnergy Corp and the Nuclear Regulatory Commmission, several experts predict that Davis-Besse will rise to even greater prominence during Senate confirmation hearings for the NRC post. [Current NRC Chairman Dr. Richard] Meserve is stepping down in March to become president of the Carnegie Institution in Washington. Mr. Bush is expected to nominate a successor after the holidays," Tom Henry, Toledo Blade.

Dec 14: Davis-Besse work hours spur complaint

CLEVELAND -- "A citizens' group has asked the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to investigate its concern that Davis-Besse nuclear plant employees are being worked to exhaustion to get the crippled reactor back on line. 'At a nuclear power plant, you need workers well-rested and attentive, particularly at Davis-Besse, where they're trying to fix a plant that's such a mess,' said Amy Ryder, director of the Cleveland office of Ohio Citizen Action. 'If they're being asked to work too many hours and can't do their jobs effectively, that poses a risk to public safety.' . . . 'I'm friends with quite a few people that work out there,' Oak Harbor resident Tom Lenz told NRC officials overseeing Davis-Besse during a September meeting. 'I know some of them have been on 12-hour shifts or more and six and seven days a week. That cannot be a safe working environment,' " John Funk, John Mangels, Cleveland Plain Dealer.

CLEVELAND -- "Allegation by Ohio Citizen Action that Davis-Besse employees are required to work unrealistic work schedules, leaving them unfit-for-duty," filing by Amy Ryder, Cleveland Program Director, Ohio Citizen Action, to James Heller, Senior Allegations Coordinator, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (.doc).

WASHINGTON, DC -- "Clarification of NRC requirements applicable to worker fatigue and self-declarations of fitness-for-duty," Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, May 10, 2002 (.pdf).

"Overtime and staffing problems in the commercial nuclear power industry," Union of Concerned Scientists, March 1999.

Dec 13: NRC chairman to step down in March
Meserve criticized for mishandling acid corrosion leak at Davis-Besse

WASHINGTON -- "Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Richard Meserve, who has come under heavy criticism for his agency’s admitted mishandling of acid corrosion at the Davis-Besse nuclear plant near Oak Harbor, announced yesterday that he will step down in March. Not a word was said by Dr. Meserve about one of the most embarrassing problems in U.S. nuclear history occurring on his watch: The unprecedented corrosion at FirstEnergy Corp.’s Davis-Besse nuclear plant. Boric acid leaking from the massive reactor head was left unchecked for years, eating a half-foot hole through six inches of carbon steel. Dr. Meserve acknowledged last month that Davis-Besse’s problems are more than simple rust," Tom Henry, Toledo Blade.

WASHINGTON -- "NRC chief leaving for job in research," Stephen Koff, Cleveland Plain Dealer.

BUCHANAN, NY-- "Pump turned off at Indian Point," Roger Witherspoon, The Journal News.

TSURUGA, JAPAN-- "Reactor at Tsuruga plant shut down due to fire"Japan Today.

Dec 12: Davis-Besse rust is a mystery
Only test run will show if underside is leaking

OAK HARBOR-- "When Davis-Besse shut down Feb. 16, the focus was on the nuclear plant’s reactor head. Now, with FirstEnergy Corp. hoping for a restart in early 2003, attention has shifted to the vessel’s underbelly. One of the biggest mysteries looming at the plant 25 miles east of Toledo is whether the bottom of the reactor is leaking. Extensive rust was found there in June, but to date the company has attributed it solely to residue from previous wash-downs of the reactor head. The theory is that some of the boric acid that had been rinsed off over the years ended up clinging to the sides of the vessel and clustering beneath it," Tom Henry, Toledo Blade.

Dec 12: U.S. reactor repairs seen topping $1 billion

NEW YORK -- "The owners of the Three Mile Island nuclear plant in Pennsylvania have said they will replace the reactor lid in the autumn of 2003 because of the difficulty and high cost of removing insulation around the head before inspection. The $100 million cost of replacing the head at Three Mile Island, in part, has prompted the plant's owner, AmerGen Energy Co., to consider selling the reactor," Chris Reese, Reuters.

NEW YORK -- "FirstEnergy unit indicted over worker safety -- Wall Street Journal," Reuters.

CHEVY CHASE, MD -- "Danger at Indian Point," Paul Leventhal, letter to the editor, New York Times.

Dec 11: Reactor repair progress reported
Updates on Davis Besse attract hundreds

Photo gallery

PORT CLINTON -- "Held for the first time at Camp Perry, an old military complex off State Rt. 2 about halfway between Davis-Besse and Port Clinton, the evening session drew a standing-room-only crowd of nearly 300 people. It was one of the most heavily attended sessions since the plant was shut down for refueling Feb. 16, three weeks before the nation’s worst reactor-head corrosion was found there March 6. The daytime meeting drew 150 people. The meetings were the first open to the public since H. Peter Burg, FirstEnergy’s chairman and chief executive officer, hinted last Wednesday at a possible sale or shutdown of Davis-Besse. While speaking to industry analysts during an annual conference, Mr. Burg said he "will not let [Davis-Besse] become a black hole for FirstEnergy" by allowing delays and costs to escalate well into 2003. Days earlier, FirstEnergy suddenly trimmed its 1,300-contractor workforce at Davis-Besse by 380 jobs, while denying the move had anything to do with financial pressures," Tom Henry, Toledo Blade.

PORT CLINTON -- "Public, workers push Davis-Besse restart" "FirstEnergy's top executives have told financial analysts they believe the 925-megawatt reactor can be restarted by March. But William Dean, the NRC panel's vice chair, said the ongoing inspections, testing and repair work at Davis-Besse will last at least through March, and that the NRC will have to verify the adequacy of the work," John Funk, John Mangels, Cleveland Plain Dealer.

CARROLL TOWNSHIP -- "FirstEnergy officials say difficult hurdles remain," Jennifer Funk, Port Clinton News Herald.

PERRYSBURG -- "Nothing good to be said of Davis-Besse?" Bonnie Kreft, letter to the editor, Toledo Blade.

GLEN ROSE, TX -- "Flaw in reactor not seen in check," Neil Strassman, Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Dec 9: Monthly update on Davis Besse plant moved to Camp Perry

PORT CLINTON -- "Tomorrow’s meetings will be at their normal times: 2 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9:30 p.m., with the same format in place. The afternoon meeting will be primarily a discussion between FirstEnergy Corp. officials and the regulator, with questions from the public taken if time allows. The night meeting will be entirely a question-and-answer session between NRC officials and the public. Camp Perry is in Ottawa County, along Lake Erie just west of Port Clinton and the nuclear plant. Its main entrance is along State Rt. 2. Visitors will be required to show a driver’s license or other form of identification," Toledo Blade.

SALT LAKE CITY, UT -- "World's anti-U.S. sentiment helps sell anti-radiation pills," Judy Fahys, Salt Lake Tribune.

TAIPEI, TAIWAN -- "Waste-dump racism is destroying our planet," "Indigenous advocates are currently lobbying the Legislature for a bill that will state simply, 'Nothing is to be manufactured, used, or reproduced in Taiwan that cannot be safely disposed of.' Is that too simple a thing for a legislator to understand? Probably it is, but it makes sense, doesn't it?" Tsai Chih-Wei, Taipei Times.

Dec 7: Nuclear Regulatory Commission writes reasons it let Davis-Besse run

CLEVELAND -- "The NRC's criminal unit is investigating whether Davis-Besse's owner, FirstEnergy Corp., intentionally withheld evidence that the reactor's lid was corroding. Although the NRC's report contends that mathematical calculations of an accident risk at Davis-Besse were small during the short inspection postponement, a nationally known nuclear safety engineer says the agency didn't follow its own guidelines for making decisions using such risk numbers. Only one of the five guidelines were met, said the Union of Concerned Scientists' David Lochbaum. 'I understand they're not the Ten Commandments, but they are factors that are supposed to shape a regulatory decision. Shouldn't that give one pause?'" John Funk, John Mangels, Cleveland Plain Dealer.

TOLEDO -- "Youths' presentation impresses Kaptur; Students give representative a power point lesson on Davis-Besse, Tom Henry, Toledo Blade.

Dec 6: FirstEnergy lowers profit expectation
CEO hints at shutdown, sale of Davis-Besse if losses go on

NEW YORK-- "FirstEnergy Corp. said yesterday that increases in pensions and other labor costs have forced it to lower its projected profit for next year to a range of $3.35 to $3.55 a share, down from $3.70 to $3.90. Expenses to fix its troubled Davis-Besse nuclear plant, expected to be close to $300 million, haven’t helped.‘‘We realize it can’t go on indefinitely and we will not let it become a black hole for FirstEnergy. If we can’t get it to back to reliable and safe operation, we will consider the alternative,’’ he said, implying a shutdown or sale of the 24-year-old plant," Jon Chavez, Toledo Blade.

ROCKVILLE, MD -- "Nuclear Regulatory Commission told to adopt safety provisions in wake of Davis-Besse," Michael Woods, Toledo Blade.

ROCKVILLE, MD -- "Safety advisers question Nuclear Regulatory Commission about plants," John Mangels, John Funk, Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Dec 5: Limit on Davis-Besse costs hinted

NEW YORK -- "There are limits to how many millions FirstEnergy Corp. is willing to spend to repair the Davis-Besse nuclear power plant before the company 'considers the alternatives,' Chief Executive Officer Peter Burg said yesterday. 'We are not going to allow Davis-Besse to become a black hole for FirstEnergy,' Burg told financial analysts in New York City. . . . .Burg did not say what those alternatives might be, but corporate spokeswoman Kristen Baird said they would include closing, selling or leasing the plant. Baird and Davis-Besse spokesman Todd Schneider could not say what the limits to spending might be, nor did Burg in his remarks to the analysts. 'I don't believe [sale or closure] is going to happen, but I think it is important for us to make that point to you here,' Burg said," John Funk, John Mangels, Cleveland Plain Dealer.

OAK HARBOR -- "Regulators clueless to leak extent; After year, NRC explains delay in shutdown order," Tom Henry, Toledo Blade.

OAK HARBOR -- "Report: Regulators suspected leak but kept nuclear plant open," Associated Press.

NEW YORK -- "Davis-Besse restart pegged; FirstEnergy says plant is to be ready by April. NRC to decide by then, too," Jim Mackinnon, Akron Beacon Journal.

OAK HARBOR -- "NRC defends shutdown delay," Jennifer Funk, Port Clinton News Herald.

PORT CLINTON -- "Photo incident raises concerns about priorities," editorial, Port Clinton News Herald.

PORT CLINTON -- "Please attend a public meeting about Davis-Besse," announcement, Amy Ryder, Ohio Citizen Action.

Dec 4: The big picture

Boric acid leakCLEVELAND -- "For months now, FirstEnergy Corp. officials have clung to the tale that they never sought to mislead the Nuclear Regulatory Commission about the problem of boric acid slowly eating a hole in the lid of the Davis-Besse nuclear power plant's reactor. They would admit to being inept, but not criminal. Now, that story has been dashed by a picture of the damaged, rust-stained lid that the company had in its possession, but failed to include in a packet it sent to the NRC last November, when it was lobbying to postpone the plant's inspection," editorial, Cleveland Plain Dealer.

CHICAGO -- "FirstEnergy would cut loose troubled reactor if needed," Jon Kamp, Dow Jones.

AKRON -- "FirstEnergy reduces 2003 profit forecast," Bloomberg News.

Dec 3: Leak prompted Texas reactor shutdown

DALLAS, TX -- "A report by Nuclear Regulatory Commission inspectors said radiation monitors inside [Comanche Peak nuclear power] plant's Unit 1 sounded alarms after recording high radiation readings on September 26. Radiation levels peaked six more times before operators shut down the reactor two days later, the inspectors said. The leak was found in a small tube carrying radioactive water in one of four generators that make steam to turn the reactor's electric turbines. [TXU Energy's] own report to the NRC said a subsequent TXU check found corrosion in 667 other tubes in Unit 1, but none was leaking. That number, according to TXU, represented more than 3 percent of the tubes," Susan Parrott, Associated Press.

CLEVELAND -- "Lessons from Davis-Besse impact nuclear industry," Karen Schaefer, Ohio Public Radio.

Dec 2: Davis-Besse staff under fire over photo
Feds say item should have been released sooner

CARROLL TOWNSHIP -- "'It was there for the asking,' company spokesman Todd Schneider said. 'Being our regulator, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has full access to the plant, to our documents, to just about every part of our operation.' 'I think that's a little bit disingenuous,' said Brian Sheron, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's associate director for project licensing and technical analysis. 'We were asking them to provide us with all the information to support their argument to operate beyond Dec. 31. Apparently, we did not get everything,' " Associated Press.
The photo in question.

KENT, OH -- "Kent State University group protests nuclear plant," Jaclyn Youhana, Daily Kent Stater.

TOKYO -- "Japan orders nuclear reactor closed for false data," Reuters.

Dec 1: Hidden in plain view

Thumbnail photoCLEVELAND -- "The omitted photo is just one example of what regulatory officials say are FirstEnergy's multiple failures over almost a decade to accurately document and communicate what the company knew to be the worsening condition of Davis-Besse's reactor lid. Those misrepresentations -- especially during the crucial NRC review last autumn -- are the subject of an agency criminal probe. They also are the subject of a new allegation by a watchdog group, the Nuclear Information and Resource Service, which is calling for Davis-Besse's license to be revoked," John Mangels, John Funk, Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Expand photo.

Nov 29: Nuclear plant fiascoes likely with age, secret study suggests

WASHINGTON, DC -- "'Given plant aging and materials issues,' cracks and leaks like those that led to the Davis-Besse fiasco, where leaking boric acid ate a hole in the reactor lid, are likely to recur, says a confidential analysis by the influential Institute of Nuclear Power Operations. Similarly, a research report compiled last year by engineers at several laboratories affiliated with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission warned that 'the number of occurrences of age-related degradation has been increasing as nuclear power plants age,'" Stephen Koff, Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Nov 28: Operator plans to test damaged nuclear plant

CARROLL TOWNSHIP -- "Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station will heat up for five to seven days in January to test nozzles on the bottom of the reactor vessel. That heat up, however, will not include a nuclear reaction, said company spokesman Richard Wilkins. 'We're not actually going to start the reactor itself,' he explained. 'It's not going to 'go critical,'" Jennifer Funk, Port Clinton News Herald.

Nov 27: January restart of Davis-Besse now unlikely

WASHINGTON, DC -- "Despite recent FirstEnergy Corp. statements that the plant -- idled since mid-February -- could be running by January, executives of the Akron company told the NRC yesterday that they will not conduct a crucial test for leaks until late January or early February. If the test shows that more repairs are necessary, the restart would have to wait. 'If you find a new leaking penetration, to me that opens up a whole new can of worms,' Brian Sheron, the NRC's associate director for licensing and technical analysis, said at a meeting to discuss plans for the latest test," Stephen Koff, Cleveland Plain Dealer.

ROCKVILLE, MD -- "Nuclear plant test scheme outlined; Davis-Besse restart may hinge on results," Michael Woods, Toledo Blade.

LAS VEGAS -- "Nevada lawmakers want probe of nuke dump whistleblowers' removal," Associated Press.

Nov 26: Workers to lose Davis-Besse jobs

AKRON -- "As many as 500 contractors working temporary jobs at FirstEnergy Corp.'s Davis-Besse nuclear power plant will be let go this week, the Akron utility said Monday. The bulk of their work is over, spokesman Todd Schneider said. That will leave about 800 contractors working at the shut-down power plant in Oak Harbor, he said. Davis-Besse also has about 800 full-time employees," Akron Beacon Journal.

Nov 24: When safety doesn’t come first

TOLEDO -- "Critics have been sounding off for years that in a deregulated power market, nuclear power producers would sacrifice safety for production. The near-rupture of the reactor vessel at Davis-Besse outside Oak Harbor -- where undetected boric acid corrosion ate away 70 pounds of steel -- shows they were right. And a new report, not intended for public consumption, by the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations, says the same mindset could cause similar problems at nuclear plants around the country," editorial, Toledo Blade.
More on Institute study.

CLEVELAND -- "We’re pretty busy now," Letter to Todd Schneider, FirstEnergy, from Amy Ryder, Ohio Citizen Action.

TOLEDO -- "First Energy must rethink Davis-Besse," Doris N. Stifle, letter to the editor, Toledo Blade.

Nov 21: Davis-Besse neighbors scald U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, FirstEnergy

OAK HARBOR -- "The hearing was supposed to be the capstone to a months-long review of the agency by a special "lessons learned" task force of NRC staffers pulled from across the country. The task force last month delivered its own scathing criticism of how the NRC does its business. But the crowd would have none of it. The task force members themselves quickly became targets, even as a few FirstEnergy employees sat quietly in the audience. . . Amy Ryder of Ohio Citizen Action recommended that the NRC revoke FirstEnergy's license. "If FirstEnergy thought this agency would revoke their license, they never would have let the degradation happen. 'Other plant operators would take much more caution,' if they feared losing their license, she said. 'That is a recommendation with teeth,'" John Funk, John Mangels, Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Drawing: Bailey Cole, 2001.

OAK HARBOR -- "Some not impressed by NRC’s mea culpa; Agency’s watch over Davis-Besse reviewed," Tom Henry, Toledo Blade.

Nov 20: Critics say NRC fails to improve
They'll air complaints about agency's handling of Davis-Besse plant problems at hearing tonight

AKRON -- "Amy Ryder, Cleveland director for Ohio Citizen Action, said that in recent months people have made valid criticisms of the NRC 'and they seem to have fallen on deaf ears.' While one of FirstEnergy's responses to the Davis-Besse damage was to change the plant's management, the NRC hasn't done anything similar within its own ranks, Ryder said. 'I think the NRC could learn from Davis-Besse in that respect,' she said," Jim Mackinnon, Akron Beacon Journal.

WASHINGTON, DC -- "Safety lapse at Ohio reactor is cited as potential peril for others," Matthew Wald, New York Times.

NEW YORK -- "FirstEnergy reworks nuclear power unit," Toledo Blade.

CARROLL TOWNSHIP -- "FirstEnergy restructuring its company operations," Jennifer Funk, Port Clinton News Herald.

TOLEDO -- "PUCO application could hurt residents; NOAC accuses FirstEnergy of trying to wipe out savings," WTOL TV-11, Toledo.

TOLEDO -- "FirstEnergy bid brings concern for deregulation," David Patch, Toledo Blade.

Nov 19:

AKRON -- "FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company restructures services, engineering groups," Todd Schneider, release, FirstEnergy.

Nov 16: Davis-Besse officials mull reactor head leak detection system

CARROLL TOWNSHIP -- "The system wouldn't have helped in the utility's current situation, which was caused by leakage from a nozzle on top of the reactor head. . . . In that instance, workers at Davis-Besse were well aware there was leakage, they just didn't know where it was coming from. And according to NRC regulations, a certain amount of leakage is allowed if the source is not identified," Jennifer Funk, Port Clinton News Herald.

PORT CLINTON -- "Boric acid leak topic of meeting," Port Clinton News Herald.

Nov 14: Davis-Besse needs to gain confidence
People are key to restarting nuclear plant, official says

OAK HARBOR -- "Oak Harbor resident James Douglas asked the NRC officials how Davis-Besse management could justify how the plant was damaged. 'I could almost vomit,' he said,"" Jim Mackinnon, Akron Beacon Journal.

CARROLL TOWNSHIP -- "Nuclear power: Davis-Besse plant still 'long way' from restart," Jack Buehrer, Port Clinton News Herald.

OAK HARBOR -- "February start is FirstEnergy goal for Besse; Remaining questions make date uncertain, firm admits," Tom Henry, Toledo Blade.

OAK HARBOR -- "Davis-Besse to install leak-detection system," John Funk, John Mangels, Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Nov 13:

OAK HARBOR -- "Nuclear regulators concerned about monitoring of Davis-Besse work," John Seewer, Associated Press.

Nov 12: A shock to the system:
Electricity firms return to their roots

WASHINGTON, DC -- ""We are in the first year or so of what will be a multi-year bust cycle in the power industry," said Lawrence J. Makovich, senior director of Cambridge Energy Research Associates. "They built too much at too high a cost, and they did it mostly with debt. We are overbuilt in the vast majority of the regional power market, and in the next six months there is a better-than-even chance we'll have a couple of major bankruptcies,"" Peter Behr, Washington Post.

Nov 10: U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission study warns of 500-mile radiation spread

MapWHITE PLAINS, NY -- "A catastrophic meltdown in the spent fuel pool of a nuclear power plant could cause fatal, radiation-induced cancer in thousands of people as far as 500 miles from the site, according to a U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission study. The analysis of spent fuel pool meltdowns also states that millions of people within such a 500-mile zone might have to be evacuated for periods ranging from 30 days to one year and that people living within 10 miles of a nuclear plant, such as Indian Point in Buchanan, might never be able to return to their homes. It also cites the potential for "prompt fatalities" from radiation poisoning that would occur in areas close to a plant site, where many radioactive particles would be expected to fall. The extent of possible radiation damage described in the NRC documents is far more severe than anything that federal, Westchester County or Indian Point officials have disclosed in public forums or written statements mailed to thousands of residents in Westchester, Rockland, Putnam and Orange counties," Roger Witherspoon, New York Journal News.
Map: Area within 500 miles of Davis-Besse nuclear power plant, Port Clinton.

Nov 5: U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission must be clear, resolute about Davis-Besse safety

PORT CLINTON -- "But then some official says something that makes us wonder whether the NRC gets it. Take, for example, the statement last week attributed to Brian Sheron, the NRC's senior licensing and technical official: If the NRC had known that boric acid had eaten a football-sized hole in the top of the reactor head, leaving only a thin layer of stainless steel to protect against a potentially disastrous accident, he said, "we probably would have rethought whether we could approve anything beyond Dec. 31." Say what? That's an unbelievable statement. To think that the NRC would have considered allowing Davis-Besse to continue operating with such significant damage to the reactor head is scary," editorial, Port Clinton News Herald.

AKRON -- "U.S. regulators to review Ohio nuclear plant repairs," Reuters.

Nov 1: Tests for leaks sought at Davis-Besse

CLEVELAND -- "With two rounds of lab trials still unable to determine whether the bottom of Davis-Besse's reactor is leaking, FirstEnergy Corp. plans a much larger-scale test - taking the reactor up to operating conditions to see if any coolant seeps out. The corrosion that has scarred Davis-Besse's reactor continues to erode the NRC's confidence that 68 other similar reactors are rust-free. This week the agency ratcheted up the pressure on those plants to prove that they are doing thorough corrosion inspections in vital parts of the reactor other than the lid. The agency's concerns are twofold: that it can't tell whether some operators are doing adequate inspections throughout their plants, and that the engineering code that guides inspections isn't thorough enough in light of Davis-Besse," John Mangels and John Funk, Cleveland Plain Dealer.

CLEVELAND -- "FirstEnergy wants to simulate reactor start for leaks test ," Associated Press.