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NRC: Davis-Besse workers carry radioactive specks out of plant

By MALIA RULON
The Associated Press
4/18/02 7:23 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Federal inspectors continued Thursday to review safety practices at the Davis-Besse nuclear plant near Toledo and will remain there for an unspecified period, said a spokesman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The spokesman, Victor Dricks, said Thursday that the agency would file a report 30 days after the inspection is completed. He did not know how long the inspection would take.

Inspectors said earlier this week that four workers from the plant carried radioactive particles on their clothing to a home, a hotel room and nuclear plants in other states.

The particles, which are too small to see, posed no health risks to the workers or the public, said NRC investigator Kenneth Riemer.

"You don't typically see something get out of a site and be picked up like that," he said Wednesday.

"The licensee is supposed to maintain control over radioactive material and there are indications that they may have been remiss and that's what we are looking into," Riemer said.

Richard Wilkins, a spokesman for FirstEnergy Corp., the plant's owner, said inspectors have tried to determine if the microscopic particles passed by the plant's monitors.

"We're not sure it did," Wilkins said Wednesday. "We don't have any indication that it is necessarily from our plant."

The NRC said that last month, four people working for outside contractors on a steam generator at the northwest Ohio plant, which has been shut down since February, carried 13 radioactive particles to three states.

Federal inspectors planned to review the screening process at Davis-Besse and the plant's response to the discovery of radioactive particles outside the plant.

Also last month, inspectors found that leaks had allowed boric acid to eat a 7-inch wide hole almost through the 6-inch thick steel cap that covers the Davis-Besse plant's reactor vessel.

------

On the Net:

http://www.nrc.gov

http://www.firstenergycorp.com

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This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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