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October 22, 2002

 



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Local Companies | Article published October 22, 2002
Citizens’ appeal rejected by NRC
Davis-Besse review sought

OAK HARBOR, Ohio - The government’s denial of a request to have an independent, third-party team of experts brought in to review the nation’s worst reactor-head problem was formally recorded in Washington yesterday.

The unprecedented corrosion revealed at FirstEnergy Corp.’s Davis-Besse nuclear plant in early March prompted 15 citizen groups to petition the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission for the outside review, a request which is rarely granted.

The legal filing was submitted April 24 at the NRC’s headquarters in Rockville, Md. The decision to reject it was written Tuesday by Sam Collins, NRC nuclear reactor regulation director, and published in the Federal Register yesterday.

Mr. Collins is the senior-level NRC official who last fall overrode a staff recommendation to shut down Davis-Besse by Dec. 31, because of fears cited over cracked reactor-head nozzles. Mr. Collins allowed FirstEnergy to keep operating until Feb. 16, six weeks later than his staff recommendation but six weeks earlier than the utility’s originally planned refueling outage.

Two activists involved with the petition - Paul Gunter, of the Nuclear Information and Resource Service in Washington, and Terry Lodge, of the Toledo Coalition for Safe Energy - said they were disappointed by the NRC’s decision, but not surprised.

Viktoria Mitlyng, NRC spokeswoman, said the request was denied because issues that were raised are being addressed by NRC panels.

Richard Wilkins, FirstEnergy spokesman, agreed. "Everything the NRC is finding is being discussed openly. There’s certainly adequate scrutiny," he said.

The request had garnered support from U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D., Cleveland) and U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo). Mr. Kucinich has scheduled a congressional field hearing for 10 a.m. Thursday at Cleveland City Hall to discuss Davis-Besse’s rust problem. The event is open to the public.

The corrosion has been traced to leaky reactor-head nozzles that were not fixed, allowing boric acid to escape and burn through all but a thin liner of stainless steel in one part of the lid.


More articles on this subject »
FirstEnergy pledges to pay down debts 10/22/2002
Utility again works on plant sales 10/18/2002
Nuclear plant studies old reactor for other leaks, source of acid 10/17/2002
Facility faulted for radiation exposure 10/17/2002
Acid stains discovered on bottom of reactor 10/13/2002

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