|Ohio News |
Article published Tuesday, October 15, 2002|
Hagan: Taft ignores Davis-Besse perils
(THE BLADE/ALLAN DETRICH)Gubernatorial challenger
Tim Hagan says the Davis-Besse cooling tower represents greed.
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.
tower represents not only energy but greed," Mr. Hagan
"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
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
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
He criticized the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and
FirstEnergy for not addressing the problems
"FirstEnergy is more concerned about profits than
the safety of those in the plant and those around it," he
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,
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.
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