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October 16, 2002
 
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Ohio Nuke Plant Rapped on Radiation
Ohio Nuclear Power Plant Didn't Check Workers Well Enough for Radiation Contamination, NRC Says

The Associated Press


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OAK HARBOR, Ohio Oct. 16 Operators of a nuclear power plant didn't adequately check five workers who left the facility with specks of radioactive material on their clothing, federal inspectors said Wednesday.

The radioactive particles were later found in hotel rooms and homes in Ohio, Texas, South Carolina and Virginia, according to FirstEnergy Corp., which operates the Davis-Besse power plant.

There was no threat to the public, said Tom Kozak, a federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission inspector. The five workers are being retested for any possible health effects, officials said.

The plant staff did not properly assess how much radiation the workers were exposed to inside the plant's steam generator, Kozak said.

The five workers and two others were performing maintenance in February during a routine shutdown at the plant near Toledo in northern Ohio. One of the other workers was not contaminated; the second had to be decontaminated.

Akron-based FirstEnergy did not dispute the NRC findings.

"We did not handle the issue as good as we could," said Lew Myers, head of the company's nuclear division.

The company said it has made changes to how it judges radiation levels inside the plant and now requires all workers who go inside the steam generator to wear respirators.

Regulators have yet to determine the significance of the problem and decide whether FirstEnergy should be penalized.

In an unrelated issue, the NRC is investigating leaks that allowed boric acid to eat a 7-inch-wide hole almost through the 6-inch thick steel cap that covers the Davis-Besse reactor vessel. The leak was discovered in March.

On the Net:

NRC: www.nrc.gov

FirstEnergy:

Copyright 2002 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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