September 30, 2002
H. Peter Burg, CEO
Dear Mr. Burg,
I am writing to propose a solution to the ongoing problems at the Davis-Besse nuclear power plant. The solution, repowering Davis-Besse with an alternative source of fuel, would benefit public health and safety and contribute to the local economy.
Repowering this plant is a win-win proposition. This option allows FirstEnergy to continue to produce electricity at Davis-Besse while decommissioning the crippled reactor. Alternative sources of fuel, such as natural gas or coal gasification, are safer forms of producing electricity, both for the employees working at the plant and the residents living near it.
Commercial nuclear reactors that came on line in the 1960's and 1970's are beginning to reach the end of their useful lives. This is why there are now frequent reports of cracking: Dominion's North Anna 2 reactor near Richmond Virginia; Tokyo Electric's Fukushima reactor in Japan; and of course Davis-Besse.
This is no surprise. Nothing lasts forever, and engineers correctly predicted that reactors operating with intense heat and pressure wouldn't last more than 30 or 40 years. The turbines and grid-connections, however, are not worn out, and it would be good to use them as long as possible and maintain electricity production at the facility. You can accomplish this by repowering.
Repowering is not a speculative option. The Fort St. Vrain plant in Platteville, Colorado was converted from a 330-megawatt nuclear plant to a 720-megawatt natural-gas fired plant. The Zimmer power plant on the Ohio River near Cincinnati was converted from nuclear to coal. The Midland Cogeneration Venture in Midland, Michigan is a 1,500-megawatt gas-fueled power plant, also converted from nuclear.
Given what we know about how well repowering has worked elsewhere, and given FirstEnergy's current predicament, it is an obvious option to pursue. I ask that you immediately convene a task force of engineering and financial specialists from inside and outside the company to conduct a study to determine the feasibility of repowering Davis-Besse.
I’d be happy to meet with you to discuss this opportunity further. Thank you for your consideration.
Amy K Ryder