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  Monday, September 30, 2002


Personnel moves just one step at Davis-Besse


It's appropriate that FirstEnergy Corp. has taken steps to deal with employees and officers involved with -- and apparently to blame for -- a series of problems that have resulted in the shutting down of the Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station.

But no one should see the punishments and personnel changes as the resolution to this situation.

Safety must be the top priority.

The safety of plant workers and area residents must be assured and more effective safeguards must be in place before this issue is resolved and the plant can be restarted.

There should be no rush to resume operations.

The plant is the target of several investigations prompted by a series of physical and operational problems.

Troubles began with the discovery of a crack in a nozzle and corrosion in the reactor head and grew to include improper monitoring and questions about safety practices and general operations.

Managers who allowed less than determined attitude on the part of employees responsible for safety measures and employees who failed to monitor the plant properly deserve tough action by the company.

But some of these issues have been going on for years and the company itself must take responsibility for that.

That not only means answering for the mistakes but also taking whatever steps are necessary to ensure that they don't happen again.

And the Nuclear Regulatory Commission must be certain that it is satisfied that safety will no longer be compromised.

Originally published Monday, September 30, 2002

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