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October 15, 2002

 



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Ohio News | Article published Tuesday, October 15, 2002
Hagan: Taft ignores Davis-Besse perils
Picture
(THE BLADE/ALLAN DETRICH)
Gubernatorial challenger Tim Hagan says the Davis-Besse cooling tower represents greed.
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With the cooling tower of the Davis-Besse nuclear plant as his backdrop, Ohio’s gubernatorial challenger Tim Hagan yesterday shot barbs at his opponent - saying Gov. Bob Taft has done nothing to address potentially disastrous problems at the nuclear power plant.

The plant, owned by FirstEnergy Corp., has been shut down indefinitely as crews repair damage to the plant’s reactor head.

But the governor has remained mute on the issue because he has taken campaign contributions from FirstEnergy, said Mr. Hagan, a Democrat and former Cuyahoga County commissioner who is challenging Mr. Taft, a Republican.

"This tower represents not only energy but greed," Mr. Hagan said.

"I’m in nobody’s pocket," he said. "When I’m governor, I’ll speak for the health and safety of this community rather than profits."

According to Ohio Citizen Action, then-candidate Bob Taft and now-Governor Taft has received at least $30,560 since 1997 from FirstEnergy employees or FirstEnergy’s political action committee.

Mr. Hagan said Mr. Taft should join others in calling for an independent investigation into the matter, make certain the plant has a solid emergency plan in the case of a disaster, and should ensure that the plant doesn’t reopen until it is safe.

He criticized the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and FirstEnergy for not addressing the problems earlier.

"FirstEnergy is more concerned about profits than the safety of those in the plant and those around it," he said.

A Taft campaign spokesman shot back, saying Mr. Hagan’s comments were "nothing more than a desperate campaign stunt ... 20 days before the election."

"To suggest the governor would put the health and safety of Ohio citizens at risk for campaign contributions is ludicrous," Orest Holubec, a Taft spokesman, said.

FirstEnergy was defensive too, though a spokesman conceded that the safety at the plant at times had taken back seat to production. "Going back to what happened, there was not the correct balance between production and safety," Todd Schneider, FirstEnergy spokesman, said.

The plant has been closed since February. In March, workers found a football-sized hole in the carbon steel reactor head, leaving only a thin layer of stainless steel to keep radioactive steam from escaping.

"We need more of an emphasis of safety at the plant and we’re working on that now," Mr. Schneider said.


More articles on this subject »
Issue 1 backers may shift funds to help Hagan 10/15/2002
Challenger likely faces uphill climb 10/15/2002
Taft gets critique - and some help - from Ford 10/05/2002
Toledo worker makes hay on governor’s race 10/04/2002
Taft pushes drug plan to area senior citizens 10/03/2002

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