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NRC Task Force Says Ohio Reactor Debacle Was Preventable
Wednesday October 9, 4:47 pm ET

NEW YORK -(Dow Jones)- A report by a task force established by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to probe the agency's failure to detect severe corrosion at FirstEnergy Corp.'s Davis-Besse reactor, released a set of recommendations Wednesday that are expected to lead to changes in industry regulations and inspection practices.

"The biggest single thing to ask is 'was this preventable?'," said Ed Hackett, assistant team leader for the NRC's Davis-Besse task force. "In the opinion of the task force, it was." he said. "There were numerous opportunities for the licensee to identify the problem and for the NRC to have independently identified and followed through."

The task force's 96-page "lessons learned" report reviews how the NRC, the nuclear power industry and FirstEnergy failed to "connect the dots" on Davis- Besse, and makes 51 recommendations targeting shortfalls in training, guidelines for inspections, and industry operating codes.

The task forces' report will be reviewed by a team of senior NRC managers, which will then make its recommendations to the NRC's Executive Director for Operations.

The management team's recommendations are expected by the end of the November, said Hackett.

The Davis-Besse plant, near Toledo, Ohio, has been shut since March when engineers discovered that boric acid nearly ate through a 6-inch-thick steel reactor cap.

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