A supervisor at FirstEnergy's damaged Davis-Besse plant claims he
is being disciplined by the Akron utility for raising safety
concerns with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Port Clinton resident Timothy Tackett is suing his employer,
saying he was placed on a paid leave of absence the day after he
complained to the NRC that the company was putting him and others
``under intense schedule pressure'' while publicly proclaiming
safety was the top priority.
Tackett said he complained to the NRC last month after delays and
problems, including a near electrocution, arose in repairs to the
``polar crane,'' a large device that lifts heavy objects inside the
plant's containment chamber, which holds the nuclear reactor.
Tackett, a Davis-Besse employee since 1987, said he was
responsible for overseeing the crane project. His lawsuit, filed
Friday in Ottawa County Court of Common Pleas, seeks unspecified
damages in excess of $25,000.
The lawsuit also alleges that other people had made similar
safety-issue complaints to the NRC and that the agency's Office of
Investigations would look into the matters.
FirstEnergy spokesman Todd Schneider said the company did not
retaliate against Tackett, and even with the outstanding lawsuit he
could still return to work after investigations at the plant
``I can assure you there was no retaliation,'' Schneider
The crane project did not meet the company's standards, and the
fact that work was halted on the crane so that proper repairs and
maintenance could be performed shows that the company is placing
safety over schedule, he said.
``Our priority is to do the job right the first time,'' Schneider
Davis-Besse managers in a public meeting Sept. 17 with NRC
officials in Oak Harbor said repairs and maintenance on the crane
had been delayed because of problems.
Maintenance Supervisor Mike Stevens told the NRC that the crane
failed his inspection and that it wouldn't be put back into service
until new, higher standards were met.
NRC officials criticized plant managers for the crane miscues,
saying they should have held workers and supervisors to a higher
standard in light of the plant's problems that led to boric acid's
damaging the reactor vessel head.
Tackett said that he made his complaints to the NRC's on-site
inspector on Sept. 18, and he said that on Sept. 19 his supervisor
told him he would be placed on paid leave.
Tackett said one of his superiors told him he probably would be
back at work on Sept. 23, but instead has remained on paid
The suit says the safety concerns that Tackett discussed with the
NRC were protected under federal and state laws.