PORT CLINTON -- A Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station employee has
filed a lawsuit against FirstEnergy, claiming retaliation against
him for reporting safety concerns.
Timothy Tackett of 320 W. Fourth St., Port Clinton, filed the
lawsuit Friday in Ottawa County Common Pleas Court, asking for in
excess of $25,000 in compensation.
FirstEnergy spokesman Richard Wilkins said the company has little
comment on the suit, except that officials there were "surprised to
find out about it, considering this person is still employed by us."
Tackett, an advanced nuclear technologist in the maintenance
support department, was put on administrative leave while management
investigates his safety allegations.
Wilkins said paid administrative leave is used occasionally,
especially in personnel issues, but added not all employees are put
on leave when they bring a problem forward.
Tackett's allegations stem partially from a Sept. 17 public
meeting in which FirstEnergy officials met with the Nuclear
He was involved in overseeing work on the polar crane -- a large
piece of equipment in the plant's containment building -- while
employees replaced the reactor head. The plant has been down since
February after workers found a large amount of corrosion on the
During that meeting, Davis-Besse plant official Mike Stevens told
about his personal inspection of the polar crane, which he said he
found to be in unacceptable condition.
He told NRC officials he ordered the polar crane project halted
until several things could be fixed, such as burnt out light bulbs
replaced, metal shavings cleaned off and wiring labeled.
He also affirmed that plant officials were more concerned about
safety than getting the work done on time.
In his lawsuit, Tackett says the problems did not affect the
crane's ability to lift equipment, its main function for the project
at hand. The suit also said many of the items put on a list after
Stevens' inspection had already been documented, were considered
outside the scope of the current project or were considered minor
On Sept. 18, Tackett went to the resident NRC inspector at the
plant and had a one-hour meeting, during which he brought up his
concerns -- mainly that management stressed safety over schedule to
the NRC, but their actions proved otherwise in the plant --
according to the suit.
"(Tackett) told the NRC that he and other individuals were under
intense schedule pressures," the lawsuit stated.
Since then, enough other complaints from workers have been
leveled against Davis-Besse to elevate the matter from a concern to
an allegation that the NRC's Office of Investigation is looking
into, according to the suit.
NRC spokeswoman Viktoria Mitlyng said Monday she could neither
confirm nor deny whether an allegation was being looked at by the
Office of Investigation.
The day after Tackett's meeting with the resident inspector, he
was removed from the plant until an investigation of his allegations
could be completed.
The goal was to have Tackett back to work by the following
Monday, according to the suit, but to date he is still removed from
Tackett's suit claims that he was the victim of retaliation and
that he should be protected under federal and state laws,
particularly the Ohio Whistleblower's Act.
He also alleged in the suit that Stevens' remarks at the NRC
meeting were tantamount to slander and potential libel by being
printed in local and regional newspapers.
To remove Tackett from work, the suit stated, cast doubt about
the Port Clinton resident's work because removal is used only for
scurrilous conduct such as theft or other serious misconduct.
Also, Tackett's suit alleged the plant became a hostile work
environment for the technician because of comments made by
Originally published Tuesday, October 22, 2002