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
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.
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