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
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