From: "Russell D. Hoffman" <>
Subject: Davis-Besse 17

Dear Reader,

Here are articles about Davis-Besse, collected since my last D-B newsletter.

Warmest regards,

Russell Hoffman
Concerned Citizen
Carlsbad, CA


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Date: Sat, 1 Feb 2003 04:09:14 -0500
Subject: [DOEWatch] NRC: Brief History Of Their Criminality, Public Contempt & Collaboration In Mass Murder & Weapons Of Mass Destruction
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CRAC-2 Report:
Infant Mortality & NPPs:
      Alert    Posted 1/31/03
        Who's' minding nuclear store?
            NRC's ability to police itself is

            - A recent probe which questioned the
Nuclear Regulatory Commission's commitment to
safety at FirstEnergy Corp.'s Davis-Besse nuclear
plant is hardly the first time in which government
investigators have raised doubts about the agency'
s oversight.

            While serving as chairman of the
Senate's powerful Committee on Governmental
Affairs, former U.S. Sen. John Glenn of Ohio told
colleagues he had been presented evidence which
showed the NRC had "serious deficiencies" in its
ability to police itself because of its
relationship with the nuclear industry. Mr. Glenn
introduced a bill on April 3, 1987, that
ultimately led to the creation of the NRC's Office
of Inspector General.

            "This is not a trivial matter. This
committee has discovered evidence which suggests
improper communications between the NRC and
licensees concerning the NRC's regulatory
activities. And the evidence further suggests that
the NRC has been incapable of policing such
misconduct on its own," according to a transcript
of Mr. Glenn's opening remarks while addressing
the committee six days after his bill was
introduced. "After all, the NRC is supposed to be
a watchdog, not a lapdog.

            " A paper trail of government
documents reviewed by The Blade shows other
instances in which the NRC's credibility in
regulating nuclear plants has come under question,
including: w A December, 1987, House subcommittee
report entitled "NRC Coziness With Industry," in
which government investigators concluded the
agency had failed to keep an arm's length
relationship from the industry it was assigned to

            "Over the past several years, the
Nuclear Regulatory Commission has demonstrated an
unhealthy empathy for the needs of the nuclear
industry to the detriment of the safety of the
American people," according to the report, written
for the House Committee on Interior and Insular
Affairs. "On a number of occasions, the NRC has
acted as if it were the advocate for, and not the
regulator of, the nuclear industry.

            " Those who received that report
included Vice President Dick Cheney, then a
congressman from Wyoming; former Energy Secretary
Bill Richardson, then a congressman from New
Mexico and now governor of that state; and U.S.
Rep. Ed Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat and one
of the NRC's most outspoken critics. All were
committee members back then.

             A May, 1997, report by the U.S.
General Accounting Office - the investigative arm
of Congress - which claimed conditions at the
nation' s nuclear plants had worsened because of
lax oversight by the NRC.

             "There are a number of instances in
which [the] NRC has neither taken aggressive
enforcement action nor held nuclear plant
licensees accountable for correcting their
problems on a timely basis," the report said.

            An August, 2000, report by the
inspector general which accused the NRC of failing
to do adequate reviews of a steam generator tube
problem at the Indian Point 2 nuclear plant in New
York in 1997. Those tubes are made of a metal
known as Alloy 600, the same type in Davis-Besse's
reactor head. Lab tests over the years have shown
the alloy is much more susceptible to cracking
than originally thought. The Indian Point 2 plant
experienced a slight release of radioactive steam
on Feb. 15, 2000, after one of its steam-generator
tubes ruptured.

             A Nov. 18, 2002, memo from the
inspector general which claimed the NRC faces
numerous management challenges, including
communication. While acknowledging that
improvements have been made, the inspector general
urged greater attention to this area because of
the likelihood that more "unanticipated events"
will occur.

            "A recent example is the corrosion of
the reactor vessel at Davis-Besse," the memo

            That memo drew little attention - but
a report issued five weeks later by that same
office sent reverberations throughout the agency
and drew a response from outgoing NRC Chairman
Richard Meserve, which has been called nearly
unprecedented in its tone.

            That report, issued by the inspector
general on Jan. 3, accused the NRC of violating
public trust by putting profits ahead of safety -
a fundamental breach of the agency's mandate.

            The inspector general claimed the
NRC's decision on Nov. 28, 2001, to back down from
a shutdown order for Davis-Besse was "driven in
large part by a desire to lessen the financial
impact" on FirstEnergy. The utility had
successfully negotiated Feb. 16, 2002, as the
shutdown date for Davis-Besse.

            The NRC order had called for the
shutdown to occur no later than Dec. 31, 2001,
because of fears that the plant's reactor-head
nozzles were cracked and leaking. The actual
problem turned out to be much worse: Davis-Besse
nearly had a hole in its six-inch-thick reactor
head, a vital safety feature.

            Dr. Meserve vehemently denied the
inspector general's allegations, saying that
financial considerations did not factor into the

            Jack Grobe - reactor safety chief of
the NRC's Midwestern region - told reporters on
Jan. 14 that he stood "100 percent" behind Dr.
Meserve's remarks and was pleased by the
chairman's tone. "The issue wasn't whether
[Davis-Besse's reactor-head nozzles] were leaking.
It was whether the plant was safe to operate,
based on what we knew at the time," Mr. Grobe

            The inspector general's report cited a
complicating factor: The NRC's flexibility in
allowing utilities nationwide to find more
cost-effective ways of meeting safety standards.
That shift occurred as the industry became
deregulated in the 1990s, because more maintenance
costs were being absorbed by shareholders, rather
than being passed on to ratepayers, the report

            Mr. Grobe did not take issue with that
analysis but maintained that safety has never
taken a back seat to financial considerations.

            Others are not convinced.

            "They've given themselves permission
to consider costs in the equation. That is an
incredibly dangerous place to place themselves,"
according to Billie Garde, a Washington attorney
who defends NRC employees and nuclear workers.

            U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo),
who is renewing her call for a congressional
investigation, said it was evident to her in 1985
that the NRC was not doing its job when
Davis-Besse nearly had a major accident because of
a temporary loss of feed-water. "Again, they [the
NRC] have failed in their responsibilities," she

            U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D.,
Cleveland) has convinced the General Accounting
Office to investigate the NRC's performance at
Davis-Besse. And a spokesman for Mr. Markey's
office said that the congressman will pursue
congressional hearings because of the belief that
the NRC has been "bending over backwards to
satisfy industry concerns and demands."

            Toledo Blade 1/26/03

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01/15/03 ****     RADIATION BULLETIN(RADBULL)       **** VOL 11.15
 30 Safety expert to work at D-B -
Wednesday, January 15, 2003  

Safety expert to work at D-B Hired by FirstEnergy

 By JENNIFER FUNK Staff writer

  Workers prepare to begin non-nuclear reactor tests

Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station workers are on track to
complete a seven-day non-nuclear heat up of the reactor for

Fuel is likely to be reloaded into the reactor core next week,
but the non-nuclear reheat likely won't occur until late February
or early March, said spokesman Richard Wilkins.

At that time, the reactor will be powered up to normal
temperature by the reactor coolant pumps. Before, during and
after the reheat workers will inspect every aspect of the reactor
head, including the hundreds of valves that were torn apart and

 With a major focus still on the safety culture at the off-line
Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station, FirstEnergy officials
introduced a specialist Tuesday expected to boost worker

At a packed monthly meeting between FirstEnergy officials --
parent company of Davis-Besse -- and the Nuclear Regulatory
Commission's oversight panel, Dr. Sonja Haber was presented.

An expert in safety culture, she has worked with the NRC and its
Canadian equivalent, as well as the U.S. Department of Energy and
private utilities. FirstEnergy contracted with Haber to implement
her "safety methodology" at Davis-Besse.

The safety culture, NRC officials say, is what led to the
degraded condition of the plant found during an early 2002
refueling outage. The plant went off-line in February, and in
March workers found massive corrosion on the reactor head that
had eaten away a large chunk of steel.

Many root cause reports later, officials determined a lack of
questioning attitude on the part of workers and management
contributed to the corrosion, since there were several warning
signs to the problem.

Haber's strategy, which was designed through 10 years of research
funded by the NRC, uses multiple methods to look at trends in the
safety culture.

FirstEnergy also revamped an incentive program that had been
criticized as rewarding production over safety and took another
look at the company's business plan to make sure it was in line
with the safety focus, said Chief Operating Officer Lew Myers.

Managers have been assigned to a corrective actions review board
that previously only contained low level workers to give
management a sense of ownership of problems as well, he said.

Myers met with more than 400 workers since the plant has been
down to reinforce the safety policy and make sure workers know
management wants problems to be brought forward, said Vice
President of Oversight Bill Pearce.

A new policy is in place, too, to independently review concerns
brought by workers.

And while NRC oversight panel chairman Jack Grobe was
complimentary of the work being done at the Carroll Township
plant, he still wants a more quantifiable way of measuring the
safety culture there.

"There are no regulations in this area, but safety culture is
something that underpins everything at the plant," he told a
crowd of more than 200 at the evening public information meeting.

Meanwhile, Davis-Besse officials are working to start an
"industry leader" program in detecting leaking around the reactor

The direct cause of the corrosion was boric acid leakage from a
cracked nozzle on the reactor head.

The program takes three specific actions when a potential leak is
detected: It calls for increased management oversight, then
increased monitoring, and finally a walk down of accessible

If the leak isn't found the first run through, all the steps are
redone, and containment inspections are added. The steps are
repeated another time and the last resort becomes a forced
shutdown to find the leakage.

In the instance of the corrosion damage to the reactor head,
management and workers would have had 10 opportunities between
2000 and 2002 to find the leakage if the program had been
implemented then, said Jerry Lee, the program manager.

"What we had before didn't force you to make decisions on shut
down anchored in safety culture," noted Myers.

Work continues in other areas of the plants as well, FirstEnergy
officials reported. Now, with the glut of condition reports from
workers, decisions are being made as to what is needed before
restart and what can wait until later.

And while Grobe said that is reasonable, he added the NRC wants
to take a look at what FirstEnergy is holding off on before the
plant restarts to make sure there are no safety concerns there.

In fact, he said, there will be much inspection work done by the
NRC before Davis-Besse even starts to power up, and he emphasized
to utility officials that they must budget those inspection hours
into the off-line time.

He estimated it could take up to 80 inspection weeks -- but
that's not a typical week. That means if 80 inspectors are sent
to the site, it would take a week to complete all the work.

He clarified, though, that he didn't expect any delays as a
result of the NRC inspections, since experts will be drawn from
various offices as well as headquarters to inspect work at the

Grobe did, however, reinforce the idea that design packets for
work must be submitted for review as a requirement for restart.

"Design inspections are not trivial -- they take time," he

 Originally published Wednesday, January 15, 2003
 Copyright ©2003 News Herald. All rights reserved.
 31 Davis-Besse incident prompts improved nuclear safety, but
activists doubtful -
Wednesday, January 15, 2003  

Gannett News Service
 ROCKVILLE, Md. -- The discovery of 6-inch-deep gash in the
reactor at Ohio's Davis-Besse nuclear power plant a year ago has
prompted the nation's other 102 nuclear reactors to take steps to
lessen the odds of a deadly meltdown, investigators said Tuesday.

"We have reasonable assurance," William Travers, the Nuclear
Regulatory Commission's executive director for operations, told
the panel's five board members. "I think that's the best I can
give you."

But activists at a hearing to examine the aftermath of the
Davis-Besse incident said it is just a matter of time before
another accident happens on the scale of Three Mile Island in

The reactor hole was discovered after Davis-Besse, which opened
on July 31, 1978 and in Carroll Township on the shores of Lake
Erie, was shut down in February, 2002 for maintenance. Boric acid
from a coolant leak had caused the hole.

If the reactor had ruptured, a cloud of radioactive steam could
have escaped or the reactor could have gone into meltdown,
ejecting deadly radioactive material across the region. More than
6 million people live within a 100-mile radius of the plant.

A December report from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's
Inspector General's Office criticized commission staff for
allowing FirstEnergy Corp. to continue running Davis-Besse two
months after it initially was ordered closed Dec. 31, 2001, to
check for cracks in reactor nozzles unrelated to the hole.

Despite checking for boric acid corrosion in plants across the
country, the commission and electric utilities continue to have
slipshod inspection procedures, said Jim Riccio, nuclear policy
analyst at Greenpeace.

"You almost lost Ohio," said Riccio, who along with two other
Greenpeace members carried three small placards that read, "Shut
Davis Besse" which they flipped over to say, "Safe Over Profit."

An NRC task force has made 52 recommendations, including regular
checks for boric acid corrosion, to stop another Davis-Besse
incident from occurring, Chairman Richard Meserve said. Nuclear
power plants already have enacted some of these measures, but a
federal directive is scheduled for release on Feb. 28.

"We don't have a situation like the Davis-Besse plant anywhere
else in the fleet," he said.

FirstEnergy, which also owns Ohio's other nuclear plant northeast
of Cleveland, has installed a new reactor head to replace
Davis-Besse equipment damaged from boric acid, said Alexander
Marion, engineering director at the Nuclear Energy Institute.

FirstEnergy officials expect to get NRC approval to restart
Davis-Besse by the end of March, plant spokesman Todd Schneider

However, Meserve said no deadline has been set for federal
officials to decide whether the plant will reopen.

 Originally published Wednesday, January 15, 2003
 Copyright ©2003 News Herald. All rights reserved.


Date: Thu, 12 Dec 2002 16:48:50 +0100
From: (Wendy MacLeod-Gilford)
Subject: nuclear matters

Dear all -   articles from The Ecologist Dec02/Jan03

Mild irradiation.  USA - Food companies can now seek federal approval to
avoid using the word 'irradiation' on food labels, and instead use language
such as 'cold pasteurisation' according to the US Food and Drug
Administration (FDA).  And now the door to euphemisms is wide open, why not
replace 'radiation' with 'warm, glowing sensation'.

Nuclear safety cracking

Some 48 of the 59 nozzles in the reactor vessel head at the North Anna-2
nuclear reactor in the US state of Virginia have been found to be cracked
in a recent inspection.  Yet tests last year reported that none of the
nozzles were cracked.  Dominion, along with several other US nuclear power
plant operators, detected cracks and corrosion in the heavy metal 'lids'
bolted down on the top of four of their reactors..

 Blewbury Environmental Research Group
 Wendy MacLeod-Gilford &
 Mick Gilford, MA(Cantab), MSc, DIC       __  __ __  __
 Brockham, Folly Road, Lambourn,          |_) |_ |_) | _
 Hungerford, West Berkshire RG17 8QE, UK  |_) |_ |\  |_|
 Tel+Ans+Fax: 01488 71653                          \
 Mobile:      07712 708692


To: "DOE-Watch List" <>
Cc: "Downwinders List" <>
Subject: [DOEWatch] Fw: Regulators clueless to leak extent

----- Original Message -----
From: Christine Patronik-Holder

Sent: Thursday, December 05, 2002 3:03 PM
Subject: Regulators clueless to leak extent

Article published Thursday, December 5, 2002 Toledo Blade
Regulators clueless to leak extent
After year, NRC explains delay in shutdown order


OAK HARBOR - Senior Nuclear Regulatory Commission officials suspected there might be minor leakage on the reactor head at the Davis-Besse nuclear plant, but they rejected a staff recommendation that the plant shut down immediately late last year because they considered the public risk "acceptably small," according to a report released yesterday.

In hindsight, the agency has repeatedly admitted, it was caught off guard by the magnitude of the what was found during an inspection after the reactor was shut down Feb. 16 for refueling: the most serious corrosion ever seen on a reactor head in the United States.

The extent of the damage was so severe that the NRC and other nuclear experts have since concluded that deterioration at Davis-Besse was the nation's closest brush with a major nuclear accident since Three Mile Island in 1979.

Davis-Besse's carbon steel reactor head had been eaten away in one-half-foot area to the point that only a stainless steel liner less than a quarter of an inch thick had prevented a disastrous leak of the reactor's radioactive steam into the concrete containment building - the last line of defense protecting the public.

The discovery was made almost three weeks after FirstEnergy Corp. shut down the plant for refueling on Feb. 16, a date which utility officials had successfully negotiated after being threatened last November with what would have been the government's first emergency shutdown order of a nuclear plant since 1987.

Now, a year after the decision to allow the utility to keep operating until early 2002 - and after a great deal of prodding by anti-nuclear activists, some members of Ohio's congressional delegation and concerned residents - the NRC has put in writing its technical justification for making that compromise.

The report shows NRC officials suspected there might be some type of minor leakage with one or two of the 69 reactor-head nozzles. Uranium-enriched fuel rods are lowered and raised in the reactor to control the nuclear fission process.

But the NRC report contends the agency did not have a clue as to the extent of the corrosion from boric acid leaking out of the nozzles and onto the reactor head.

"To their credit, they based it [the report] on what they knew then," said David Lochbaum, a nationally recognized nuclear-safety engineer for the Union of Concerned Scientists..

But he added yesterday's report did little to convince him that the NRC lived up to its mandate to ignore economic considerations and hold safety tantamount.

Mr. Lochbaum is one of several activists long convinced that FirstEnergy's intensive lobbying efforts in Washington last fall persuaded the NRC to back off an immediate shut down as recommended by the staff.

Instead, the NRC let Davis-Besse keep running until Feb. 16, a date they view as an arbitrary halfway mark between the proposed Dec. 31 shutdown date and the normal refueling outage cycle that the company had originally planned for March 30.

"I think they just didn't have the spine to back up their order to shut down the plant," Mr. Lochbaum said.

Paul Gunter, spokesman for the Washington-based Nuclear Information and Resource Service, agreed.

"These are the same excuses the agency offered previously," said Mr. Gunter, who lobbied the NRC for months to put its rationale in writing.

The NRC's criminal investigation unit, as well as its Office of Inspector General, are among those still trying to determine what the NRC knew in advance of the shutdown and whether FirstEnergy illegally withheld photographs of the corrosion and other information so that the plant could remain open. FirstEnergy has denied such assertions.

Richard Wilkins, FirstEnergy spokesman, said the utility knew it had a leak but that it was "under technical specifications" allowed by the NRC.

"We assumed the risk to be minimal," he said.

Another internal probe by a special NRC panel called the "Lessons Learned Task Force" said in a report released in October that the agency failed to live up to a commitment to document its reasoning for the February shutdown date.

NRC spokesman Jan Strasma had little to say when asked why the explanation took a year to put in writing other than to state that yesterday's report was not in response to any single occurrence.

"When we notified them [FirstEnergy] we were extending the time period, we said we would be providing the NRC's rationale in separate correspondence. That was never done. So this completes the commitment we had in that letter and also responds to requests from various stakeholders," Mr. Strasma said.

NRC staff members had wanted Davis-Besse shut no later than Dec. 31 because they feared Davis-Besse might have a problem much more subtle and different than a thinned-out reactor head: tiny, circumferential cracks in reactor-head nozzles.

Those type of cracks had not been seen in the industry until the spring of 2001, when they were found at a South Carolina plant manufactured by the same company that designed Davis-Besse.

They are potentially more troublesome than vertical cracks because of their potential to weaken nozzles to the point they could pop off the reactor head like champagne corks, allowing radioactive steam to fill up the containment building, officials have said.

As it turned out, Davis-Besse had several axial cracks and at least two of the more dangerous circumferential type, according to laboratory results and government records.

The plant was one of a dozen identified by an industry group a year ago as being most susceptible to having circumferential cracks in its reactor-head nozzles.

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

The Magnum-Opus Project---The Mission: To do a greater good.
Righting the wrongs of the Manhattan Project's deceit and treachery national security methods using openness and accountability.
DOE Watch List--Where toxic health damage is not a mystery.
A news list combined with scientific studies to expose the problems.
DOE Watch OR Web page:
Rocky Flats EIN page:

Insoluble toxic metals and fluorides, via a pneumonia like dust in lung process, concentrate in lymph nodes and cause foreign body granuloma damage to node macrophages, leading to false cytokine stimulation, then rising viral waste damage to mitochondria, and this leading to illnesses.  See the analysis at

In the 1980's, Oak Ridge managers established a national alliance of DOE friendly supplanted activists and old DOE scientists to mislead gullible fluoride affected sick workers and communities in order to fabricate a health mystery and avoid the extreme liabilities of the fluorides health damage to uranium gas diffusion chemical plant workers and communities.  Don't let DOE and its minions stone wall known disease processes known for millennia and involved in religion icon imagery.

Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to


Subject: [DOEWatch] Hidden in plain view

Hidden in plain view

John Mangels and John Funk
Plain Dealer Reporters

As stark as a morgue photo, the picture from FirstEnergy Corp.'s files
captures a reactor in distress.

Something is hemorrhaging atop the massive steel lid that covers the
radioactive core of the Davis-Besse nuclear plant near Toledo.

The vivid color print, taken in April 2000, shows rust trails the hue of
dried blood spilling from inspection ports on the reactor's sloping dome.

The corrosion stains end in piles of white-brown debris at the lid's edge.
The loose clumps of dried acid are trapped there like fallen leaves against a
fence by the ring of huge bolts that locks the 80-ton cap in place.

Anyone who saw the image that has come to be known as the "red photo" would
have to question whether the lid - a vital safety barrier - was damaged.

"I would have concluded that a serious corrosion problem probably existed" on
the lid, said Digby Macdonald, an international corrosion expert who directs
Pennsylvania State University's Center for Advanced Materials.

But federal regulators never got that chance.

FirstEnergy's nuclear division didn't share the 2-year-old photo with senior
Nuclear Regulatory Commission staffers last fall. It wasn't in the batch of
images the company provided the NRC in November 2001 as part of FirstEnergy's
successful campaign to convince the agency the lid was OK, and to justify
postponing a costly shutdown to inspect it.

The photo didn't surface until April, on page 93 of a thick FirstEnergy
report. The document attempts to explain in hindsight how the company had
allowed boric acid sludge left behind by leaking reactor coolant to chew a
pineapple-size hole all the way through the 6.5-inch-thick lid.

The unprecedented hole, found a month earlier, jeopardized the plant's
safety, rocked the nuclear industry and is expected to cost the company
nearly $400 million in repairs and replacement power purchases.

The omitted photo is just one example of what regulatory officials say are
FirstEnergy's multiple failures over almost a decade to accurately document
and communicate what the company knew to be the worsening condition of
Davis-Besse's reactor lid.

Those misrepresentations - especially during the crucial NRC review last
autumn - are the subject of an agency criminal probe. They also are the
subject of a new allegation by a watchdog group, the Nuclear Information and
Resource Service, which is calling for Davis-Besse's license to be revoked.
The NRC is reviewing that claim and may address it in its ongoing

The NRC already has determined that FirstEnergy's nuclear division violated
agency rules requiring that information be accurate and complete. The company
insists, without further explanation, that it did nothing criminal. But if
the inquiry under way by the NRC's criminal unit, the Office of
Investigations, verifies intentional wrongdoing, plant personnel and
FirstEnergy managers could find themselves answering to a federal grand jury,
or facing hefty civil fines.

The findings also could affect the NRC's decision on whether or when to allow
Davis-Besse to resume making electricity.

Neither the government nor FirstEnergy has been willing to say much publicly
about the records issue because of the investigations. In the last few weeks,
however, a picture of the evidence in the case and the company's defense has
emerged from newly released NRC reports as well as a Plain Dealer review of
thousands of pages of inspection documents, meeting transcripts and briefing

While not contesting that their records were inaccurate and incomplete,
FirstEnergy officials have sought to portray the documentation problems as
benign miscommunications or misinterpretations rather than deliberate
attempts to deceive. They have said that evidence such as the "red photo"
that gave a more detailed indication of the lid's condition was available if
the NRC had looked hard enough.

"It was there for the asking," said company spokesman Todd Schneider. "Being
our regulator, the NRC has full access to the plant, to our documents, to
just about every part of our operation."

But that rationale sidesteps the key legal issue of why material in
FirstEnergy's files sharply differs from the rosy picture the company painted
for the NRC late last year to justify the reactor's continued operation.

"I think that's a little bit disingenuous," Brian Sheron, the agency's
associate director for project licensing and technical analysis, said. "We
were asking them to provide us with all the information to support their
argument to operate beyond Dec. 31. Apparently, we did not get everything."

The NRC itself is under fire from critics, including some members of
Congress, for allowing the plant to delay its lid inspection last fall. Angry
and embarrassed agency staffers say they made the right call based on the
information they had.

"If we knew they had three or four inches of [acid] caked on top of the head
. . . that would have started the chain" of more intense questioning, Sheron

Had FirstEnergy disclosed that its inspections dating at least to 1998 had
consistently found red, rusty lumps of acid on the lid - increasingly large
deposits that weren't fully cleaned off so the surface underneath could be
checked - "we would have challenged the licensee then and there to explain
what we were seeing," Sheron said. "If we didn't get a reasonable
explanation, we probably would have taken action to try to force them to shut

String of inaccuracies

The string of inaccurate and incomplete Davis-Besse records that the NRC has
identified began in 1993.

At that time, managers at the plant and at FirstEnergy's predecessor, Toledo
Edison Co., were debating whether to modify a platform that sits atop the
reactor lid. The structure helps support the dozens of control rods that pass
in and out of the reactor's core through sleeves, or nozzles, in the lid to
regulate the nuclear reaction. It also holds insulation to contain the
reactor's fierce heat.

The problem with the service structure, though, was its close fit. At the top
of the lid, there was only a 2-inch gap between the lid's metal surface and
the insulation, making inspection of that area extremely difficult.

To check the lid's condition every two years during the plant's refueling
shutdown, inspectors attached a video camera to a pole and poked it through
one of the 16 small "mouse holes" that ring the service structure's base. But
it was hard to get the camera all the way to the top of the lid.

Davis-Besse's sister plants had begun cutting larger ports in the structure
to allow for better inspection and cleaning. In March 1990, a Davis-Besse
engineer recommended that the plant do the same after finding boric acid
residue from leaking coolant in several places on the lid. He reminded his
bosses of the acid's potential for harm.

Managers finally decided in September 1993 that the modification wasn't
needed. The reason, according to the cancellation notice signed by four
high-level managers, was because "cleaning of the reactor vessel head [lid]
during last three outages [in 1990, '91 and '93] was completed successfully
without requiring access ports."

That statement wasn't accurate, the NRC has determined. Agency inspectors who
reviewed Davis-Besse records from the 1991 and '93 refueling shutdowns found
that workers had allowed acid deposits to remain on the lid each time the
reactor was restarted.

FirstEnergy's own review this year notes that there are no records indicating
the lid was inspected at all in 1990. The FirstEnergy report doesn't say
what, if anything, the 1991 records show, but acknowledges the company can't
verify the effectiveness of the lid-cleaning done in 1993.

The record-keeping flaws at Davis-Besse continued in 1998. Plant documents
from that year stated that workers had cleaned acid buildup from the lid,
even though the company noted as an aside that its reactor's manufacturer,
Babcock & Wilcox, considered such deposits harmless. Plant records also said
inspections had shown the lid surface was free of "any" corrosion damage.

All three statements were incorrect, the NRC has found.

A videotape of the 1998 inspection showed fist-sized clumps of red, rusty
acid on parts of the reactor lid, and Davis-Besse workers again allowed some
of them to remain, especially on the hard-to-reach top of the dome. That
precluded plant personnel from knowing, as they claimed to, that the
underlying metal was OK. In fact, the hole in the lid had started its rapid
growth that year, FirstEnergy surmises, in the very area workers had left

Also, none of the nine Babcock & Wilcox reports the NRC examined contained
the reassuring statement FirstEnergy had quoted: that acid residue left on
the lid wouldn't cause corrosion.

There were multiple inaccuracies in Davis-Besse documents from 2000, the NRC
has found, most having to do with claims that the reactor lid was rigorously
cleaned and that inspection showed it to be unblemished.

"Work performed without deviation," noted an April 25, 2000, order signed by
the reactor coolant system engineer detailing the lid-cleaning activities.
"Engineering displayed noteworthy persistence in ensuring boric acid
accumulation from the reactor head was thoroughly cleaned," trumpeted a July
7, 2000, report by the plant's quality assurance unit.

None of it was true. As FirstEnergy acknowledged in reports to the NRC this
year, Davis-Besse personnel were under intense pressure to stay on the tight
work schedule during the refueling outage so the plant could resume making
electricity - and money - as soon as possible.

Workers examining the lid at the start of the 2000 outage found rock-hard,
"lava-like" piles of acid that clogged some of the mouse holes and hindered
the video camera's path. They did some cleaning, but with time running out,
managers decided to stop, leaving some acid clumps in place and part of the
lid unchecked. Contrary to policy, they didn't do a written evaluation to
justify their actions.

Eighteen months later, when FirstEnergy officials were pressing the NRC to
postpone the mandatory lid inspections that most other plants were doing to
look for possible nozzle cracks, they assured the agency their lid was in
good shape. But as the NRC would later discover, the evidence the company
provided was selective and misleading.

In letters and in-person briefings to the NRC staff at the agency's
Rockville, Md., headquarters, company officials mentioned having found "some"
boric acid in past inspections. But they didn't reveal the alarmingly rusty
characteristics and amount of the acid residue - by this time nearing 900
pounds, they later found out - that had been accumulating for years.

In one meeting, for example, FirstEnergy nuclear division president Robert
Saunders "said he knew there was some light dusting of boron in certain
spots. But he said he was not concerned that was from major leakage,"
recalled the NRC's Sheron.

And in an Oct. 17, 2001, letter, FirstEnergy nuclear division support
services director L.W. Worley told NRC staffers that the lid was cleaned in
1996. He added that re-reviews of the videotapes from that inspection and
ones in 1998 and 2000 "did not identify any leakage in the . . .
nozzle-to-head areas that could be inspected."

When NRC staffers continued to push for a shutdown by Dec. 31, FirstEnergy
officials volunteered to fly to Rockville with the inspection videotapes so
NRC staffers could see for themselves. But the company didn't show any tapes
that depicted the masses of rusty acid accumulated at the center of the lid,
according to the NRC's subsequent interviews with staffers who attended the

"The NRC staff members recollected that they were shown freeze-frame video
images that depicted inspectable nozzles, i.e. free of significant deposits,"
an NRC task force reported last month. "The nature and extent of boric acid
deposits remaining on the [lid] . . . were not disclosed."

The NRC has always been heavily dependent on the candor of the utilities it
regulates. There are 103 commercial nuclear reactors in the United States,
each a highly complex machine with dozens of operational issues per day that
require attention and generate thousands of pages of paperwork.

Even in the best of times, the agency has only a dozen or so people
monitoring the day-to-day operations of an individual plant - two or three
on-site inspectors and the rest at regional offices or at headquarters.

Because of its staffing level, "the NRC doesn't count every thread on every
bolt; we focus on things that are safety-significant," the agency's Sheron
said. "We poke, we probe, we ask questions. But for the most part, we rely on
the licensee. Our whole regulatory process is based on trust."

The agency's oversight of Davis-Besse was particularly vulnerable at the
exact time the hole in the reactor's lid was forming and growing, in the late

The resident inspector's post at the plant was vacant for a year; the job of
senior project engineer for Davis-Besse at the NRC's Midwest regional office
was left empty for 20 months. And there were serious problems at other area
reactors that required attention, so the amount of time the agency spent on
inspections at Davis-Besse plummeted to an eight-year low.

However, the NRC's own shortcomings don't explain FirstEnergy's repeated
failures to disclose what it knew.

Legal review

After news of the NRC's probe of possible criminal wrongdoing leaked this
spring, FirstEnergy asked one of its law firms to review staff activities at
the plant during the past decade.

The company won't discuss or release the findings, but an executive told
stock analysts in September that while Davis-Besse managers had made poor
decisions in operating the reactor and dealing with federal regulators, the
law firm found no behavior "which would rise to criminal."

Instead, in numerous filings and meetings with the NRC to explain itself,
FirstEnergy has depicted former Davis-Besse managers as production-obsessed
and out of touch with the plant, and workers as being naive about the
potential for boric acid deposits to harm the reactor lid if left in place.
Only wet boric acid posed a corrosion threat, and plant personnel wrongly
thought that, once the steel lid's searing heat instantly dried the leaking
coolant, the acid deposits left behind couldn't get wet again.

But if Davis-Besse personnel truly believed the acid buildup was harmless,
why not acknowledge its presence? Why say or imply that it had been fully
cleaned away when it hadn't?

"That is one of the standards problems we're trying to correct at the plant -
that cleaning the head back then meant cleaning as much as you could, not the
entire head," said FirstEnergy's Schneider. "That's about all I can say on
that. Those issues will come out in the investigation."

FirstEnergy has fired, transferred or reprimanded some senior employees in
connection with the hole in the lid. But it is mum on whether those moves,
which included the departure of nuclear division Vice Presidents Guy Campbell
and Howard Bergendahl and engineering director John Wood, were because of the
record-keeping inaccuracies.

The NRC's Sheron said FirstEnergy nuclear division President Robert Saunders
told him the disciplinary steps were a consequence of its law firm's review.
"I don't think a company would fire somebody if it concluded they hadn't done
anything wrong," Sheron said.

FirstEnergy's Schneider has said the company expects to be fined for its
overall lapses, but that the management changes and renewed focus on safety
should be enough to regain the trust of the NRC and the public.

A national nuclear watchdog group disagrees. Concerned that the NRC will
accept superficial changes at Davis-Besse and not push for fundamental
reforms, the Nuclear Information and Resource Service recently filed a
complaint with the NRC. It alleges that FirstEnergy records contained false
and inaccurate statements about the Davis-Besse reactor lid, and that the
company's analyses of the event have failed to explain why.

The NRC has assigned the allegation to a review board, and, if it's deemed
serious enough, it could be incorporated into the Office of Investigation's
ongoing work.

Davis-Besse "should have its operating license revoked," said Paul Gunter,
director of NIRS' reactor watchdog project and the author of the complaint.
"Our concern remains that the NRC is going to go along with this plan to just
replace managers at Davis-Besse as the solution to underlying problems with
the management culture that places production over safety."

With Davis-Besse aiming to finish its repair work by late January or
February, it's possible the NRC may have to decide whether to let the plant
resume operating before the agency's criminal inquiry is complete.

Although it may not have the final report in hand before restart, the special
NRC panel overseeing Davis-Besse's rehabilitation will have a good idea of
what the findings will be, said its chairman, Jack Grobe. The decision will
hinge on whether FirstEnergy has corrected whatever deficiencies the probe

"We'll have to have confidence in the plant personnel" before letting
Davis-Besse power up again, Grobe said. "This is a critical element."

For full coverage of Davis-Besse, go to

To reach these Plain Dealer reporters:, 216-999-4842, 216-999-4842

The Magnum-Opus Project---The Mission: To do a greater good.
Righting the wrongs of the Manhattan Project's deceit and treachery national security methods using openness and accountability.
DOE Watch List--Where toxic health damage is not a mystery.
A news list combined with scientific studies to expose the problems.
DOE Watch OR Web page:
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Insoluble toxic metals and fluorides, via a pneumonia like dust in lung process, concentrate in lymph nodes and cause foreign body granuloma damage to node macrophages, leading to false cytokine stimulation, then rising viral waste damage to mitochondria, and this leading to illnesses.  See the analysis at

In the 1980's, Oak Ridge managers established a national alliance of DOE friendly supplanted activists and old DOE scientists to mislead gullible fluoride affected sick workers and communities in order to fabricate a health mystery and avoid the extreme liabilities of the fluorides health damage to uranium gas diffusion chemical plant workers and communities.  Don't let DOE and its minions stone wall known disease processes known for millennia and involved in religion icon imagery.

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Davis-Besse hole is full of questions
John Mangels and John Funk
Plain Dealer Reporters
Ever since a remote-controlled repair machine stumbled upon a gaping acid hole in the lid of FirstEnergy Corp.'s dormant nuclear reactor last March, a haunting question has lingered: Could Davis-Besse have become the next Three Mile Island?
"How close were we to disaster?" wondered veteran engineer and Nuclear Regulatory Commission adviser Thomas Kress at an agency meeting in June, voicing what the plant's neighbors, regulators, industry experts and company officials have wrestled with for seven months.
The short answer, according to numerous people knowledgeable about the unprecedented corrosion damage, is that Davis-Besse was the most serious American nuclear plant near miss in the last two decades.
If operators had fired up the reactor after its refueling shutdown without finding the pineapple-sized hole, a major accident was only a matter of time.
Assuming that the jagged cavity had continued to rapidly widen, FirstEnergy's own analysis indicates the thin stainless steel liner beneath it was about two years away from rupturing under normal conditions.
Already the liner - never meant to be a pressure barrier - was bulging from the one ton-per-inch strain of holding the reactor's vital coolant.
Had there been a major accident, the company insists it could have safely shut down the reactor. The sturdy containment building would have kept radiation inside the plant, FirstEnergy's analysis shows, so residents wouldn't have been harmed.
But "clearly, the probability of this event creating a loss-of-coolant accident was . . . high in relative terms," said NRC deputy engineering director William Dean, referring to the scenario operators fear because it threatens to unleash the hellish core.
Defining how near the miss was, though, and gauging the outcome of an accident, is proving especially difficult.
Pursuing the answers has taken analysts down a rabbit warren of what-ifs, some that have not been explored before.
Along with FirstEnergy, the NRC concludes that a lid rupture wouldn't have jeopardized the public, relying in part on the company's analysis and the belief that Davis-Besse's reactor operators and equipment would perform as they should.
"It's a unique place to get a hole," Dean said. "But the plant's designed to encompass that sort of accident. Does that mean core damage would have occurred? Probably not, unless you have failures of safety equipment, operator errors."
Dean is on the NRC team assessing the plant's condition.
Some independent experts are less certain than FirstEnergy of the plant's ability to safely shut down had the weakened lid section unexpectedly burst and sent jets of steam and shrapnel into the reactor's control rods above.
"If you have a major blowout of hot, radioactive water in the vicinity of the control equipment, it's not a given that all is going to work properly," said Hal Ornstein, a 28-year NRC veteran who now is a forensic engineer for a private firm. "It hasn't been proven that the [reactor] operators, even if they got all the signals, would know what to do."
FirstEnergy acknowledges the consequence of a loss-of-coolant accident would be "a more significant cleanup" than the $220 million-plus work the company has incurred just from the corrosion repairs and lid replacement, said nuclear division engineering director James Powers.
Left unsaid by the utility, though, is that the accident likely would have been financially catastrophic for its Toledo-area plant and a public-relations disaster for the nuclear industry. Even if the violent geyser of coolant from the reactor was handled properly and nothing else went wrong, it would rank as the second-worst event in U.S. nuclear history, behind the partial meltdown at Three Mile Island in 1979.
"Even something less than TMI would be a permanent shutdown" for Davis-Besse, said nuclear engineer and safety consultant William Corcoran. If the lid had ruptured and spilled a large amount of coolant, "that plant would not be useful anymore."
While two years from a blowout may sound like a long time, the Davis-Besse acid hole already had been festering unnoticed since at least 1998. Plant officials missed it then and again in 2000 while supposedly doing thorough lid inspections during refueling shutdowns. So did NRC personnel who reviewed the inspection reports and photos in 2001.
When workers found the hole by what FirstEnergy executive Steven Loehlein acknowledged was "happenstance," the plant was gearing up for a two-year-long operating run, during which the lid normally isn't inspected.
Additionally, FirstEnergy's confidence is based on the lid's liner being in perfect condition. It was not.
New tests last month have shown it was cracked, and thinner than expected. Those findings are forcing the company and its consultants to consider revising their doomsday calculus.
The NRC is struggling with its own problems - how to decide the severity of a condition not seen before; one that could have, but didn't, lead to catastrophe.
Core damage ahead?
The steel pot that holds the reactor's fuel core, lid atop it, and the piping that supplies it are supposed to remain sealed, so coolant can't escape.
If the fuel rods were left uncovered long enough, they could partially or completely melt. In the most extreme case, if emergency systems failed, the molten fuel could cause an explosion that jeopardized the containment building. Or it could bore through the steel and concrete floor below the reactor, hitting groundwater and causing disastrous blasts of radioactive steam.
Such a full-blown, uncontained meltdown, which has never happened, would contaminate the environment around the plant and cause injuries or deaths downwind if airborne radiation levels were high.
A 1982 study for the NRC of the consequences of a worst-case meltdown at individual nuclear plants showed that around Davis-Besse there would be 1,400 radiation deaths in the first year; 73,000 radiation-related injuries; 10,000 long-term cancer deaths; and an economic cost of $154 billion in today's dollars.
No one has suggested that Davis-Besse was anywhere near a meltdown. There are emergency systems to keep the core supplied with water, and reactor operators practice responding to accidents. When the hole was found, Davis-Besse was shut down for refueling, so on that day, there was zero accident risk.
But the plant had been running at full power before the discovery, and was supposed to again in a matter of weeks. That meant the chance of a loss-of-coolant accident, or LOCA - the possible precursor to a meltdown - had existed, and probably would have again.
What kept that from happening was a layer of stainless steel about as thick as a yellow legal pad. This cladding covers the inside of the reactor pot and lid, like the plastic liner in a pickup truck bed. It keeps coolant away from the carbon steel vessel. The water, laced with the chemical boron to sustain the nuclear reaction, is mildly acidic. But if it evaporates and the boric-acid crystals left behind get wet again, the concentrated sludge can devour carbon steel.
At Davis-Besse some of the coolant had leaked onto the outside of the hot reactor lid, where there is no protective liner. It got there by seeping through stress cracks that had formed in some of the 69 metal sleeves that penetrate the lid. The sleeves are pathways for the long control rods that dip in and out of the reactor core to regulate the nuclear reaction. The rods slide through the lid nozzles like a straw in the plastic top of a soft-drink cup.
The leaking coolant pooled on the lid, obscured by insulation and scaffolding. A thick, molten layer of acid built up, eventually dissolving a 35-pound hunk of steel. The exposed patch of liner at the bottom of the hole was about the size of a CD case.
The lid is built to withstand the high pressure in the core. It is 6.6 inches of steel, thicker than the Cleveland White and Yellow Pages plus Webster's New World Dictionary. The liner is less than a quarter-inch.
At first it flexed without losing shape. Eventually it permanently deformed, bulging upward into the acid hole about an eighth of an inch - a sign of significant stress, engineers say.
FirstEnergy's contractors made a 3-D computer model of the liner to test its durability in various conditions. No computer can perfectly mimic such a complex situation, so the engineers had to simplify some aspects.
The model showed that, with a hole the size found in March, the liner could have withstood up to 5,600 pounds per square inch - far more pressure than Davis-Besse's reactor has ever experienced. Relief valves would have tripped, and the lid would have warped enough to vent around its edges, before the liner would have given way, the company's engineers determined.
But the hole was widening when it was found, the corrosion still at work. FirstEnergy estimates the loss at two inches per year. The NRC says the uncertainties make growth-rate prediction unreliable. So while the company estimates the hole would have been big enough in two years for the liner to fail, the NRC won't make such a call.
FirstEnergy's modeling was done before last month's finding that the liner was cracked and slightly thinner than expected. While the model took into account dimensions even thinner than what was found, the cracking is a different story. Metallurgists must learn if and how it might have affected the liner's strength, Powers said, before knowing whether the model's predictions will change.
A reactor's lid is massive, as heavy as an empty Boeing 767 and big enough to cover a one-car garage. The prospect of this next-to-last barrier between the highly radioactive reactor core and the outside world giving way was considered so unlikely it had never been examined in depth.
FirstEnergy and its contractors had to base their assessment of what would have happened on what's known about the physical properties of the materials involved, on calculations of pressure and force, and on the known outcome when steam pipes have broken in other locations.
They didn't know whether the breach in the lid's liner would be pinhole-sized or an immediate, wide-open split. At worst, they assumed the control rod nozzle next to the acid hole might tear loose, opening an even bigger rent in the lid.
The sudden pressure drop as the coolant spilled out would automatically trigger emergency pumps that draw borated water from a half-million-gallon storage tank. Eventually, the amount of coolant pumped into the core would overtake the amount flowing out, allowing the big pot to begin to refill.
But in less than an hour, depending on the size of the lid hole, the huge tank would empty, tripping two smaller tanks to dump water into the core. When the stored water was exhausted, the reactor operators would have to manually turn on emergency sump pumps to suck spilled coolant from the bottom of the containment building and shoot it back into the vessel to keep the fuel rods from overheating.
The uncertainties in that nightmarish scenario are:
Would the control rods, which are supposed to automatically drop into the core to stop the nuclear reaction, be damaged by the explosive liner rupture?
Would the emergency sump become clogged with debris?
Would the reactor's operators take the right actions?
FirstEnergy's analysis judged that the nozzle next to the hole, and the control rod that passes through it, might be ejected when the liner burst, shooting straight up.
By the time it crash-landed, though, the grips holding the other control rods would automatically have opened, and in seconds gravity would have pulled them safely through the lid nozzles and into the core to halt the nuclear reaction, the analysis determined.
Even if as many as six of the control rods got stuck, the remaining ones would absorb enough energy to stop the nuclear reaction, the company's analysis concluded.
The only way none of the rods would have worked is if the huge lid shifted or the steel gantry surrounding the rods' drive mechanisms tipped. "I can't come up with a logical scenario" where all the rods jammed, said the NRC's Jack Grobe, who is overseeing repairs at the crippled plant.
Debris worries
It's the debris from the lid rupture that worries some experts, and the NRC, too.
Inches above the lid is a layer of shiny metal insulation, meant to help contain the reactor's intense heat. The explosive jet of steam when the liner burst would pack more than 20 times the punch of water spewing from a fire hose. It would shatter the metal insulation, as well as blast off paint chips and concrete shards in its path.
That flotsam, along with anything else loose in the containment building, could end up in the soup of spilled coolant sloshing around the floor. Some of the junk would flow to the grate over the emergency sump. If more than half the screen was blocked, the pumps couldn't return enough water to the core to prevent overheating.
In that case, with the plant's internal storage tanks emptied, the reactor operators would have to draw in outside water to cool the fuel rods. With a clogged sump, rising water in the containment building would begin to submerge motors and electrical equipment "that don't work too good underwater," said David Lochbaum, a 17-year nuclear plant veteran who is now a nuclear safety engineer with the Union of Concerned Scientists.
Also, if enough control rods are jammed, the non-borated municipal water might enable the nuclear process to start up again, Lochbaum said, undermining the reactor's shutdown.
Reactor operators would have to decide whether to shut off the water and risk overheating the core, or leave it flowing and risk restarting the nuclear reaction, Lochbaum said. "It's a question of which eye you want to be poked in."
The NRC says clogging is a "credible concern," but hasn't decided what action to take.
An NRC study last year rated sump blockage at Davis-Besse unlikely in a medium loss-of-coolant accident like the liner rupture, but very likely if the break was larger.
Powers, FirstEnergy's engineering director, said the structure surrounding the top of the reactor would likely contain the pieces of insulation, keeping them from falling to the floor and being swept to the emergency sump.
Still, Davis-Besse workers are making the plant's sump five times larger, so it will take much more debris to render it useless. And embarrassed managers this summer ordered that nails, screws, duct tape, wire ties and other trash that had accumulated on the floor be cleaned up.
Nuclear plants are highly automated, with computers controlling the numerous emergency backup systems. But in any accident, it is up to the reactor's human operators to oversee the situation and keep it under control.
The operators, at least six per shift at Davis-Besse, undergo extensive training to earn their licenses, and drill every few weeks in the plant's control room simulator, including reviewing various accident scenarios.
Although they don't practice responding to a lid rupture, Powers said, "the consequences would be very similar to the small steam line breaks that the operators are trained on."
For all their training, though, it is operators who caused or made worse the most serious nuclear accidents. Some experts say the unexpectedness of a lid breach would make it tough to quickly diagnose.
"It would have presented a challenge for a while to know how to deal with it," said Harold Denton, the former head of the NRC's reactor regulation branch and the man President Carter dispatched to manage the Three Mile Island crisis. "(Davis-Besse) was very nearly a substantial loss-of-coolant accident. These are extremely rare events. There's no way of knowing how it would turn out."
"A head rupture isn't in their [reactor operators'] vocabulary," said Ornstein, the former NRC accident-potential analyst. A sudden lid rupture "would probably give the operators fits in terms of what's happening and trying to recover from it."
To their credit, Davis-Besse's controllers performed well when a tornado in 1997 knocked out the plant's power and some of its backup equipment didn't work properly, Lochbaum said.
But a lid rupture would have been far more complex. "Months later, we are still trying to figure out what we had" at Davis-Besse, said Lochbaum. "If you compress that down to real time, to guys making decisions with all that is happening . . . it is a difficult environment to work under."
As they debate the scenarios of what might have happened, NRC analysts are still struggling with how to assess the overall "safety significance" of the hole in the lid, especially the fact that the liner held, even though it was not designed to withstand pressure.
If they give the liner credit for holding, their own formula may show that the Davis-Besse situation was of very low significance. To many in the NRC, this flies in the face of good sense, which tells them Davis-Besse was a serious violation of safety standards.
Dean argues that, since the NRC has taken effective control of the reactor, the determination is largely moot. "We've telegraphed that this is something of the highest significance," he said.
For complete coverage of Davis-Besse, go to
To reach these Plain Dealer reporters:, 216-999-4842, 216-999-4138
© 2002 The Plain Dealer. Used with permission.

Copyright 2002 All Rights Reserved.


10/07/02 ****     RADIATION BULLETIN(RADBULL)       **** VOL 10.258
 4 Political donations' helped Davis-Besse

The Plain Dealer
How fortunate for FirstEn ergy Corp. that Rep. Billy Tauzin's
House Energy and Commerce Committee found that future
investigation into the Davis-Besse nuclear plant debacle was not
needed. This was a disaster waiting to happen and due to the
laxity of FirstEnergy and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, it
almost did.

FirstEnergy must be very pleased with how its investments in
Tauzin and Rep. Paul Gillmor, as reported in The Plain Dealer
Sept. 27, have paid off. This is yet another example of how the
money of Big Business influences our politicians.

Bernard Epstein

University Heights

© 2002 The Plain Dealer. Used with permission.

 © 2002 All Rights Reserved.

10/01/02 ****     RADIATION BULLETIN(RADBULL)       **** VOL 10.252
 10 Oversight of nuclear plants a concern along with terrorism

   KRT Wire | 10/01/2002 |

 BY TIM JONES Chicago Tribune

(KRT) - The undetected 6-inch-deep hole in the carbon steel layer
protecting the nuclear reactor was about the size of a brick -
and slowly getting bigger - when officials at FirstEnergy Corp.
declared that Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station was "one of the
safest and most reliable" in the nation.
When plant inspectors on a routine check finally discovered the
corroded cavity a few weeks later, in early March, Davis-Besse
was immediately shut down and an unusual and ongoing regulatory
chain reaction began. Stunned by the sudden discovery of
dangerous boric acid corrosion that had been threatening the
reactor for years, investigators are challenging not only the
safety and maintenance procedures at the facility 25 miles east
of Toledo but also the reliability of the nation's chief nuclear
watchdog, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
After months of investigations, studies and costly repairs at the
24-year-old nuclear plant, FirstEnergy announced in September
that it wants to reopen Davis-Besse in early December, despite
lingering questions about the safety of the nuclear plant and
other similar facilities built in the 1970s. That cannot happen
without the approval of the NRC, which is investigating
FirstEnergy for possible criminal negligence, including charges
of falsifying documents.
The controversy over Davis-Besse comes at a time when the Bush
administration has advocated greater reliance on nuclear power.
At the same time, congressional critics say government
inspections of the nation's aging collection of nuclear power
plants are not aggressive enough.
The threat to the nuclear reactor at Davis-Besse, a facility that
has a checkered and at times troubled operational history, was
discovered in time to prevent the release of radioactive
material. Often characterized as the worst U.S. nuclear power
safety breach since Three Mile Island, it is more of an incident
loaded with dangerous potential than the Three Mile Island
accident in 1979, which resulted in radioactive particles being
However, the fact that the corrosion remained undetected for four
years and maybe longer, according to government reports, has
brought a torrent of criticism on FirstEnergy and the NRC.
"This is an example where the absence of effective oversight has
exposed the dangers inherent in failing nuclear power plants,"
said Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, who is a member of the House
Government Reform Subcommittee on Energy Policy, Natural
Resources and Regulatory Affairs.
"There is no justification for reopening that plant given its
checkered history and the inability of the Nuclear Regulatory
Commission to protect the public interest," Kucinich said.
In recent weeks more problems at Davis-Besse have surfaced.
FirstEnergy reported the stainless steel liner protecting the
reactor was thinner than officials originally thought. The
company also said several previously undisclosed hairline cracks
had appeared in the steel coating.
"Every week they're backtracking from what they've said before,
presenting something new and troubling and it is either lying or
stupidity or both," said Rep. Marcy Kaptur, a Democrat whose
Toledo-area district is served by Davis-Besse. "The NRC and the
company have squandered their credibility with the public."
While FirstEnergy Corp., headquartered in Akron, has acknowledged
that it put the interests of profits ahead of safety at
Davis-Besse, the company insists that a recent management
housecleaning at the plant will assure safe operations. "We have
a lot of work to do to regain the public's confidence," Lew
Myers, FirstEnergy's chief operating officer, said recently.
Myers said the company will "earn the right to lead through our
behaviors and actions."
The NRC described the investigation of what happened at
Davis-Besse as "long and involved." Jan Strasma, an agency
spokesman, said the corrosion "does call into question how well
or not so well the NRC did with Davis-Besse and what improvements
are needed." Strasma said the NRC relied, in part, on assurances
from FirstEnergy that the company's inspectors had given the
reactor area a clean bill of health.
The NRC is expected to issue its findings on what happened at
Davis-Besse in mid-October, Strasma said.
There are 104 nuclear power plants in the U.S. and 69 of them,
including Davis-Besse, are pressurized water reactor facilities.
Of those 69, 32 are as old or older than Davis-Besse, according
to NRC records. Illinois has 11 nuclear plants with four of the
same design as Davis-Besse. Those facilities opened between 1985
and 1988. The NRC has two resident inspectors at each nuclear
plant, Strasma said
After discovering cracks on nozzles at South Carolina's Oconee
nuclear station in August 2001, the NRC sought inspections for
the same kinds of cracks at 13 plants considered susceptible to
similar cracking. Davis-Besse was among those the agency wanted
inspected before the end of 2001. FirstEnergy sought a delay of
the inspection and the NRC granted it. That delay has come back
to haunt the agency because of the danger the corrosion would
have caused if the acid had broken through the steel protective
There are differences of opinion as to what might have happened
if the hole had reached Davis-Besse's reactor. Strasma said it
"would not be a good situation, but it was within the safety
systems to keep a significant release of radioactive material
from escaping." Kucinich said it would have threatened more than
6 million people who live within a 100-mile radius of the plant,
including the metropolitan areas of Cleveland, Toledo and
Since the Sept. 11 attacks, the debate over nuclear power plant
safety has centered on the possibility of outside threats from
terrorists, rather than structural threats from inside. David
Lochbaum, a nuclear safety engineer with the Union of Concerned
Scientists, argues that more aggressive inspections of nuclear
plants are needed because they are getting older and need more
attention. "Up to now we have been relying too much on luck,"
Lochbaum said.
The NRC's Strasma said there may have been a slight reduction in
the number of inspectors in the past several years, but nothing
that would suggest a significant cut in inspections. Strasma said
the agency is "convinced" that other nuclear plants are safe.
Rep. Paul Gillmor, R-Ohio, who owns a summer home on Lake Erie in
Port Clinton, about 15 miles east of Davis-Besse, said the
mistakes made at the plant "were not of the nature that would
justify shutting it down."
"Since there are other plants of similar design, why not shut
them all down?" Gillmor added.
Lochbaum said he believes FirstEnergy is sincere when it says it
wants to improve the performance at Davis-Besse. "But the problem
isn't just broken equipment. There's been an attitude where
problems were tolerated, and that's a much harder problem. … You
can't change that overnight."
Todd Schneider, a spokesman for FirstEnergy, acknowledged this
"kind of change will not happen overnight, but we are working on
it every day.
"We'll improve the reliability," Schneider said.
There are plenty of skeptics. Terry Lodge, a Toledo attorney who
represents several environmental organizations in the area, said,
"Davis-Besse should be a showcase for the rapidly spiraling
problems in aging nuclear reactors."
Lodge said his concern is that the NRC will allow Davis-Besse to
reopen before government and independent investigators have had
time to complete their probes. If that occurs, FirstEnergy will
be able to "effectively blunt future findings" of guilt.
"If the NRC is unwilling to close down the reactor, it's writ
very large that there is no set of circumstances short of a Three
Mile Island meltdown that would force the NRC to shut down a
plant," Lodge said.
Kaptur, whose new congressional district will include
Davis-Besse, said she sees no evidence that would assure her the
plant can operate safely. "Given all that has happened, you have
to wonder what else in there is not operating properly," Kaptur
said. "How are they going to raise our confidence level prior to
reopening? Why would any of us trust them?"
© 2002, Chicago Tribune.

Sent by Richard Wilcox:

Subject: '88 Warning Was Rejected at Damaged Nuclear Plant
To: "Russell D. Hoffman" <>

Published on Monday, September 30, 2002 by the New York Times

'88 Warning Was Rejected at Damaged Nuclear Plant

by Matthew L. Wald

WASHINGTON ‹ The discovery in February that a reactor vessel in a nuclear
power plant had corroded to the brink of rupturing may have shocked the
plant's operators and federal safety regulators, but years ago, Howard C.
Whitcomb saw it coming, or something like it.

Mr. Whitcomb, a former Nuclear Regulatory Commission inspector who was hired
by the owners of the Davis-Besse reactor, near Toledo, Ohio, to write a
report on what was wrong with maintenance there, concluded in 1988 that
management so disdained its craft workers that it had lost touch with the
condition of the plant.

Top executives responded swiftly and decisively, he said: They ordered him
to change his report. He quit instead.

Now, the owners are saying they need to get in better touch with their
employees, who according to company surveys are still reluctant to raise
safety concerns. In a meeting with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in
mid-September, company officials explained that they were meeting with all
800 plant employees in small groups with a facilitator to improve
communication. The plant, built for Toledo Edison, is now run by First
Energy Nuclear Operating Company, after a merger.

The simple problem at Davis-Besse, a 24-year-old reactor, was that water was
leaking from two nozzles on top of the vessel. The water contained boron, a
chemical used to regulate the nuclear reaction, and the boron accumulated in
a hidden spot and ate away about 70 pounds of steel.

The commission staff has said that the company's reports on the condition of
the vessel head were misleading.

Now the reactor head must be replaced, a task that has required cutting a
big hole through a containment dome several feet thick.

But there are broader questions. Why did the company delay making a change
to the reactor head that would have made inspection possible? Why did not
the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which wanted all plants of Davis-Besse's
type to inspect for the problem, push for earlier action?

As is common after severe problems at a reactor, the commission has been
examining the structure of management and what it calls the plant's culture,
meaning the attitudes of the people who work there, the willingness of
operators to raise safety questions and management's willingness to consider

While the corrosion at the vessel head was not obvious, the boron had spread
elsewhere, and the commission is particularly interested in why no one did
anything about corrosion on a ventilation duct that was in plain sight of
workers entering the containment.

"People generally accepted that condition," said Todd M. Schneider, a
spokesman for First Energy. Since the discovery of the corrosion in the
vessel head, management has worked to change attitudes so "those conditions
are no longer acceptable," Mr. Schneider said.

In his 1988 report, Mr. Whitcomb mentioned the culture problems that are now

"Many craft personnel hold strong negative perceptions of engineering and
management personnel," he wrote. "In general, the labor forces feel that
management exhibits a general lack of concern or respect for their
abilities, efforts or problems."

Mr. Whitcomb was hardly an industry rebel. A veteran of the nuclear Navy, he
was a resident inspector for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission at the H.B.
Robinson reactor in South Carolina, and then went to a plant under
construction in Ohio before being hired by Toledo Edison. After he gave two
weeks' notice at Davis-Besse, he went to work at the Fermi reactor, near
Detroit. Now he is a lawyer in general practice in Oak Harbor, Ohio, the
location of the Davis-Besse reactor.

In a report on June 20, 1988, to the company's vice president for nuclear
power and the plant manager, he said that closing to refuel took too long;
that preventive maintenance was slow and not fully effective because
managers did not pay enough attention to the workers' needs; and that the
workers were embittered.

"Maintenance has traditionally been regarded in a subservient role at
Davis-Besse," Mr. Whitcomb wrote. To be successful, management must
recognize "the contribution that craft personnel may provide in the
development of plant-specific maintenance actions." Managers must take a
more serious attitude toward maintenance, he wrote.

That finding in the report, a copy of which was provided to The New York
Times by Ohio Citizen Action, a nonprofit group that has raised many safety
questions about the reactor, seems prescient.

"If they followed the advice of 20 years ago, we wouldn't be here now," said
Amy K. Ryder, the group's program director in the Cleveland area.

In an interview, Mr. Whitcomb said, "They just didn't want to hear it."

Mr. Schneider, the spokesman for First Energy, said that the two executives
to whom Mr. Whitcomb had made his report 14 years ago were no longer with
the company. The report "was not up to our requirements," he said, but he
would not confirm that Mr. Whitcomb had been told to rewrite it. Mr.
Whitcomb left Toledo Edison voluntarily, he said.

The company says it hopes to restart the plant this year. Work is
progressing well on the head replacement, Mr. Schneider said. First Energy
bought the head of a similar reactor in Michigan on which construction has
been abandoned. It is still working on the culture, he said.

Copyright The New York Times Company


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Date: Tue, 24 Sep 2002 07:45:25 +0900
Subject: Credibility Meltdown
From: Richard Wilcox <>
To: "Russell D. Hoffman" <>
Message-ID: <>
In-Reply-To: <>
Mime-version: 1.0
Content-type: text/plain; charset="ISO-8859-1"
Published on Monday, September 23, 2002 by

Credibility Meltdown
The NRC¹s Failure to Deal with Davis-Besse May Point to the End of Nuke

by Harvey Wasserman

Ohio¹s nuke with the hole in its head may soon help bury an aging Peaceful
Atom. The question is no longer just ³Will Davis-Besse reopen?² It¹s also
³Will what it reveals about deteriorating reactors end atomic power

For nuke boosters, the stricken reactor near Toledo has become an endless
fount of devastating news. The latest involves a series of newly discovered
cracks in the crucial metal lining that may have barely prevented the
permanent contamination of Lake Erie and much of northern Ohio. The lining
was designed to redirect cooling fluids within the plant, not to protect the

The real safety feature was a six-inch-thick metal shroud surrounding
Davis-Besse¹s super-hot radioactive core. But during an unrelated inspection
in February, horrified workers found that boric acid had eaten entirely
through the shroud, gouging out a hole as big as a milk jug.

The inspection was prompted by unrelated problems in other reactors of
similar design. Staff at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission worried about the
deterioration of certain critical nozzles and demanded immediate shut-downs
and evaluations. Some operators complied.

But FirstEnergy, Davis-Besse¹s Akron-based owner, strong-armed NRC
higher-ups and got the inspection delayed. As it turns out, boric acid had
already eaten through the shroud. During that dubious delay, all that
protected Cleveland, Toledo and beyond from a catastrophic meltdown and
radiation release was a thin piece of metal designed to do something else.
It now appears that liner had been eaten down to a mere two-tenths of an
inch. According to David Lochbaum, a nuclear engineer with the Union of
Concerned Scientists, only one thing saved the region from catastrophe:

Davis-Besse is a sibling to Three Mile Island Unit 2, which melted in 1979.
The normally docile, pro-nuclear Cleveland Plain Dealer and Toledo Blade are
running major front-page exposes about NRC incompetence and problems at the
plant. Mainstream editorials are growing increasingly nervous, and at least
two members of Congress from northern Ohio want Davis-Besse to stay shut.

FirstEnergy has not appeared to notice. It has brought in a new reactor head
from Midland, Michigan, where citizen activists long ago shut a plant that
was, literally, sinking into a wetland. The utility has cut into
Davis-Besse¹s concrete-and-steel outer containment dome and is trying to
replace the old 17-foot-wide reactor head with the one from Midland, which
is not an exact fit. Such a transplant has never been tried. But FirstEnergy
expects Davis-Besse to be back online by December.

The NRC has been widelu expected to let FirstEnergy do whatever it wants.
The commission is infamous for putting the financial interests of reactor
owners ahead of public safety. On September 10, NRC chair Richard Meserve
told cheering industrialists at a ³Nuclear Renaissance² conference in
Washington that the future of atomic energy is bright, especially with him
as head of regulation. The commission, after all, is supported by fees
generated by reactors. Only those reactors actually in operation generate
that cash, leaving the commission with a clear incentive to keep them
online, even with holes in their heads.

But the stunning extent of Davis-Besse¹s internal deterioration makes things
dicier. FirstEnergy¹s own metallurgists say the inner liner that
miraculously prevented disaster is half as thick as originally estimated.
The company admits it¹s not sure if the acid ate through it more thoroughly
than first thought, or if the piece was manufactured thinner than apparently

The company¹s uncertainty has itself been poorly received. Additional cracks
have now surfaced in the liner. There are also troubling new signs of
deterioration around critical nozzles. If duplicated at other reactors
around the U.S. (there are about 103) and the world (there are about 435)
the implications could be huge. Nozzles with cracks around them cannot be
expected to sit firm, and if they don¹t‹expect the worst.

Such serious deterioration in crucial metals may indeed signal a global
reactor fleet that¹s aging with lethal speed. Davis-Besse proved that boric
acid can eat through very thick safety shrouds. But it may also confirm the
widespread belief that older reactors, whose metals have been subjected to
decades of extreme heat, radioactivity and corrosive liquids, may simply be
falling apart. Massive corrosion in a safety shroud, combined with cracks in
and around critical nozzles, added to thinning and cracking in an internal
sleeve, all in one small corner of one reactor that has been cited by the
NRC as being especially safe, is not an encouraging sample.

Every U.S. reactor now in operation was designed before 1974. Just as the
NRC is beginning to hand out licenses to allow these plants to operate deep
into the indefinite future, Ohio¹s nuke with the hole in its head has issued
a critical warning of rampant, internal cancer. In response, a Virginia
utility says it will try to fit new caps on four of its reactors. Serious
parallel problems have also surfaced in Japan¹s aging nuke fleet, where
major releases have recently run rampant.

Looming behind it all is the reality that no reactor or waste storage pool
could survive the crash of a jet like the one that flew directly over New
York¹s Indian Point reactors just moments before it crashed into the World
Trade Center. A widely published interview with two Al Qaeda leaders has
confirmed that the original September 11 targets may have been nuclear
facilities. A nuke hit might ³get out of control,² they said, but one could
still happen.

So could a disaster due to slipshod regulation. ³Senior management at the
NRC knew the reactor vessel [at Davis-Besse] was leaking, a clear violation
of NRC regulations, and did nothing,² says Jim Riccio of Greenpeace.
³Eventually, their luck will run out.²

As Davis-Besse shapes up as a test case for a deteriorating industry, a
nervous public, in northern Ohio and elsewhere, may be increasingly
unwilling to roll the nuclear dice.


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     This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always
been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such
material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental,
political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice
issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such
copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law.
In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is
distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in
receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.
For more information go to:
If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your
own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright
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FROM: "Vina K Colley" <>
To: <>
Cc: <>
Subject: [DOEWatch] Fw: Tests on Davis-Besse reactor reveal more cracks, corrosion

----- Original Message -----
From: Christine Patronik-Holder

Sent: Wednesday, September 11, 2002 10:21 AM
Subject: Tests on Davis-Besse reactor reveal more cracks, corrosion

(The Blade, 9.11.02, Wednesday)

Tests on Davis-Besse reactor reveal more cracks, corrosion



      The arrow points to a crack in the protective layer of stainless steel near the nozzle recess, left, of the Davis-Besse reactor head.
            ZOOM 1
OAK HARBOR, Ohio - New laboratory tests on the damaged reactor head at the Davis-Besse nuclear plant indicate the facility could have been closer to a major accident than originally thought.

The results, obtained yesterday by The Blade, show that only two-tenths of an inch of stainless steel was left in the most badly corroded section of the reactor head - not the liner's width depth of three-eighths of an inch. The stainless steel is the last protective metal layer on the reactor head, preventing radioactive steam from the pressurized reactor from leaking into the containment building that shields the public.

For complete coverage of Davis-Besse go to

Of even more concern to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is a tiny cluster of hairline cracks that were found in the stainless steel in that same area.

The NRC wants further testing done to determine if those cracks are directly related to the reactor head's unprecedented leak of boric acid that went undetected for years or if they resulted from something else.

Among the possibilities: a construction or design flaw in the metal reactor head when it was installed more than 25 years ago or cracks that could have developed during heating-and-cooling periods during the plant's operation. Either of those scenarios could have major ramifications for nuclear plants.

Another theory is that they developed as a result of handling when the head was removed for replacement this summer or when the 17-inch section was cut out for metal testing. Or, as a FirstEnergy spokesman pointed out, they could have developed during the early phases of the March inspection. The NRC has been told several times about how the liner was so weak that one of 69 reactor-head nozzles tilted when touched.

"At this point, what we know is very preliminary," said NRC spokesman Jan Strasma. "But certainly the fact of the crack will be included in our safety significance analysis."

The result of that ongoing analysis, being performed by NRC staffers, will be used as a basis by the agency when it decides what type of penalties or fines to impose against Davis-Besse's owner, FirstEnergy Corp. of Akron, Mr. Strasma said.

Although a report to the NRC mentions only one crack, FirstEnergy spokesman Richard Wilkins described the flaw as a cluster in which one main crack has a couple of ancillary cracks branching off in a parallel direction.

The crack is too small to know how deeply it penetrated without further testing, Mr. Strasma said.

The good news, he said, is that it was not a through-wall crack. If it had been, that could have allowed radioactive water in the reactor to mix with air and be converted into steam. Experts believe that, in turn, could have brought the region to the verge of a major nuclear accident not seen since Three-Mile Island: the release of radioactive steam that would have built up pressure and tested the strength of the containment building.

But David Lochbaum, nuclear safety engineer for the Union of Concerned Scientists and one of the nation's sharpest nuclear critics, said this latest round of lab tests tells FirstEnergy and the NRC that the Davis-Besse was closer to a nuclear accident "from a purist standpoint."

Davis-Besse's rust problems had gotten so far out of hand that - regardless of how severe it was - regulatory and utility officials should not lose sight of the fact that northern Ohio's safety was in jeopardy, he said.

"You can't be a little pregnant," Mr. Lochbaum said. "It was unacceptable to have that much corrosion in the first place."

FirstEnergy officials have acknowledged several times that plant operators should not have let Davis-Besse's reactor head fall into such a state of disrepair. The company has told the NRC it will never allow that to happen again.

The corrosion - the worst ever found on a U.S. nuclear reactor head - was discovered in early March, three weeks after Davis-Besse was shut down on Feb. 16 for refueling.

Reactor heads are massive, 17-foot-wide pressure-retention devices with important safety implications. Their primary strength comes from six inches of carbon steel cladding.

At Davis-Besse, boric acid from the reactor is believed to have leaked out of nozzles and onto the reactor head over a number of years. The acid chewed away all six inches of carbon steel in one area of the reactor head, exposing the thin stainless steel liner.

While those liners typically have an average thickness of three-eighths of an inch, the NRC does not require them to be that thick in all spots because the liners are only designed to acid away from the high tensile steel reactor vessel. The liners are welded into place in pieces, with slight variances in width, Mr. Strasma said.

The recent lab testing also revealed evidence that another circumferential crack - Davis-Besse's second - was starting to form in a weld at the base of one of the reactor-head nozzles, he said.

That type of crack, first discovered in February, 2001, at the Oconee nuclear plant complex in South Carolina, is considered far more dangerous than an axial, or vertical crack because it can weaken a nozzle to the point of breaking loose. Earlier this summer, FirstEnergy officials told the NRC that ultrasonic tests had found evidence of a circumferential crack inside one of the reactor-head nozzles.

For complete coverage of Davis-Besse, go to

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

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Date: Mon, 09 Sep 2002 20:52:58 -0700
From: Roger Herried <>
Subject: September 9th Radiation Bulletin

 10 Davis-Besse: Don't hurry back

The Plain Dealer

Now the General Accounting Office is launching an investigation
into the Nu clear Regulatory Commission's handling of the
Davis-Besse nuclear plant.

        This is the seventh probe of Davis-Besse, and Rep. Dennis
Kucinich's recent admonition is beginning to sound quite wise:
"There's no way that plant should be permitted to restart without
the GAO having investigated and presented its report."

        Kucinich has raised his voice - as he is wont to do -
because the GAO report may not be completed before FirstEnergy
Corp. restarts Davis-Besse, near Toledo.

        FirstEnergy hopes to get NRC approval to restart the
plant by December. But the GAO report team is slated to begin its
work within the next three months. Even if Davis-Besse risks
missing its December deadline, it should be sidelined until the
report is ready.

        Without the report in hand, we fear that FirstEnergy's
eagerness to get back in business and put this embarrassing
incident behind it might overshadow key lessons about plant
inspections. The NRC, too, which failed to follow up with tougher
inspections in 1998 despite signs that Davis-Besse's staff wasn't
doing its job, might be in too big a hurry for "closure."

        It took up to eight long years for boric acid to bore
through Davis-Besse's reactor lid. Despite long rust streaks and
huge lavalike boric acid deposits, the experts didn't notice a

        In short, that rotted lid is a symbol of a rotten system
of inspections by the company and the NRC. And if it's rotten in
Toledo, are there problems elsewhere, too?

        The probes by the GAO and others may not answer that
question, but the question must at least be treated seriously.

        The NRC and FirstEnergy botched critical safety
inspections, and it would be well worth knowing how to prevent
such a thing from happening again. FirstEnergy may not think that
information is worth waiting for, but we do.

© 2002 The Plain Dealer. Used with permission.

 © 2002 All Rights Reserved.


 23 Davis-Besse did nothing criminal, firm reports

The Plain Dealer  

 John Mangels and John Funk
Plain Dealer Reporters

The staff and management of the Davis-Besse nuclear plant made
poor decisions in operating the reactor and dealing with federal
regulators, but did nothing to break the law, according to
FirstEnergy Corp.

        Those findings were made by a law firm the company
retained to review staff activities at the troubled plant during
the past decade.

        "While they certainly found . . . decisions that we wish
had been made differently, actions we wish had been done
differently . . . our outside counsel has not found any
activities . . . which would rise to criminal," said FirstEnergy
vice president Terrance Howson.

        Howson made the comments yesterday to stock analysts
attending a conference for energy companies in New York City. A
FirstEnergy spokesman identified the law firm as Morgan Lewis, of
Washington, D.C., but said the company would not release the
firm's report.

        The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is conducting its own
probe into whether actions at the Toledo-area plant were criminal
and has not yet made a determination.

        That investigation and six others by the agency and
Congress stem from the discovery in March of a large rust hole
that had been growing undetected in the reactor's lid for up to
eight years. The plant has been shut down since spring. It will
not be restarted until the NRC is satisfied it can be operated
safely and management reforms have been made.

        Howson told analysts who follow energy utilities that in
spite of all of the scrutiny, the company still expects to have
the reactor ready to operate before year's end.

        Because the NRC has the final say about the plant's
readiness, FirstEnergy has bought replacement power into the
spring - at an estimated cost of $10 million to $15 million a
month - on the chance that Davis-Besse must remain idle, Howson

To reach these Plain Dealer reporters:, 216-999-4842, 216-999-4138

© 2002 The Plain Dealer. Used withOUT permission.


> --- In AlasBabylon@y..., jmstrause@a... wrote:
> This article from
> has been sent to you by jmstrause@a...
> For all those folks who believe commercial nuclear power is going to
> be part of the "answer" to the future of energy, I think this article
> makes it very clear that it cannot be left to corporate hands to run
> them. I guess that if we are to have nukes at all we are going to
> have to take the "commercial" out of the equation. And ASAP too.
> I have an acquaintance that works at a So. Cal. nuke after being
> trained in the nuclear navy. He said that he believes that the Navy
> runs a "tight ship" with their nuclear power plants, which run on
> bomb grade material vs. commercial plants which run on about 3
> 1.243048e-308nriched fuel, because their operators (and the officers)
> have to live and sleep within a few feet of the reactor. He thought
> commercial nukes would have less emphasis on profits and more on
> safety if some proportion of the Boards of Directors were required to
> be "on site" at all times and had to sleep there too.
> John.
> jmstrause@a...
> Ohio Atomic Plant Is Investigated Over Acid Leak
> September 1, 2002
> CLEVELAND, Aug. 31 - Federal regulators are investigating
> accusations that the owner of a nuclear plant where acid
> nearly ate through a six-inch-thick steel reactor cap
> altered records about the damage, the company said.
> Todd Schneider, a spokesman for the company, FirstEnergy
> Corporation, said the utility was cooperating with the
> Nuclear Regulatory Commission but he would not provide
> details of the investigation at the Davis-Besse plant near
> Toledo.
> "Allegations of altered documents and records are part of
> this investigation," Mr. Schneider said.
> The plant has been closed since engineers discovered in
> March that boric acid had nearly eaten through the steel
> cap on the reactor vessel. It was the most extensive
> corrosion ever found on a nuclear reactor in the United
> States and led to a nationwide review of all 69 similar
> plants.
> The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has said the leak that
> caused it should have been spotted as long as four years
> ago. An agency spokesman, Jan Strasma, would not confirm
> that officials were investigating whether FirstEnergy had
> altered records.
> A coalition of 14 environmental and nuclear watchdog groups
> is urging the agency to order an independent review of the
> plant.
> A coalition spokesman, David Lochbaum, a nuclear engineer,
> said investigators told him that the agency was studying
> whether FirstEnergy backdated videotapes, falsified
> documents and withheld a photograph to make damage seem
> less severe than it was.
> Workers removed the damaged reactor head on Thursday and
> were to begin installing a replacement. The plant is
> expected to be operational by October, Mr. Schneider said.
> ex=1031897896&ei=1&en=4cd238f5d78002b9


From: "Bill Smirnow" <>
MIME-Version: 1.0

Date: Sat, 31 Aug 2002 17:03:58 -0400
Subject: [DOEWatch] Feds Probe Possible Davis-Besse Cover Up
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=US-ASCII
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit

CRAC-2 Report On Deaths, Injuies, Property Damage,

From Daniel Wolf:
Feds Probe Ohio Nuclear Plant Owner


CLEVELAND- Federal regulators are investigating
whether the
owner of a nuclear plant where acid nearly ate
through a
6-inch-thick steel reactor cap had altered records
about the
damage, the company says.

FirstEnergy Corp. spokesman Todd Schneider said
Friday the
utility was cooperating with the Nuclear
Commission but would not provide details of the
investigation at the Davis-Besse plant near

"Allegations of altered documents and records are
part of
this investigation," Schneider said.

The plant has been shut down since engineers
discovered in
March that boric acid had nearly eaten through the
steel cap
on the reactor vessel. It was the most extensive
ever found on a U.S. nuclear reactor and led to a
review of all 69 similar plants.

A second, smaller hole was found later at

The NRC has been investigating the corrosion and
has said
the leak that caused it should have been spotted
as many as
four years ago.

Agency spokesman Jan Strasma would not say Friday
officials were investigating whether FirstEnergy

A coalition of 14 environmental and nuclear
watchdog groups
is urging the NRC to order an independent review
of the

Coalition spokesman David Lochbaum, a nuclear
engineer with
the Union of Concerned Scientists, said he was
told by
investigators that the NRC is investigating
FirstEnergy backdated videotapes, falsified
documents and
withheld a photograph to make damaged to the
reactor lid
seem less severe than it actually was.

Workers removed the damaged reactor head Thursday
and were
to begin installing a replacement. The plant is
expected to
be operational by October, Schneider said.

The coalition wants the NRC to delay the plant's
until the agency finishes its investigation.



FROM RADBULL, Aug 16th, 2002

 4 Davis-Besse admits it put production before safety

The Plain Dealer
Ohio News


 John Funk and John Mangels
Plain Dealer reporters

- A chastened team of FirstEnergy nuclear division officials
yesterday admitted to federal regulators that the Davis-Besse
plant in the last three years slid into a routine in which
electricity production mattered more than safety.

Teamwork declined, clues to major equipment problems were
overlooked, and managers rarely went into the reactor build ing.

crippled the plant and shaken the nuclear industry. In a
four-hour presentation, the new Davis-Besse leaders described to
Nuclear Regulatory Commission members how the former management
failed. And they detailed the steps the reformers are taking to
overhaul the plant's culture and rebuild its commitment to safety
and excell- ence.

The presentation and report are a required step in gaining the
NRC's permission to restart the plant.

"As an organization, we're very humble and, in fact,
embarrassed," said FirstEnergy nuclear's chief operating officer,
Lew Myers.

When it came to diagnosing the problems that hinted at the
corrosion simmering on Davis-Besse's reactor lid, "we often
jumped to the first conclusion, that was in many cases
production-oriented," Myers said.

While NRC officials overseeing repairs at the plant said the
inch-thick management analysis seemed at first glance to hit the
right themes, they were not yet ready to judge its adequacy. And
they had strong words about the need for change at Davis-Besse.

"I think you might be beyond humble, you might be into
humiliation," said Jim Dyer, who heads the NRC's regional office
in Chicago. "Maintaining that humble outlook is going to be
critical to going forward. This cannot happen again."

The management changes are crucial to the NRC's decision on when
to restart the plant, said Jack Grobe, who heads the special
panel overseeing FirstEnergy's restoration of Davis-Besse.

"This is the most complicated and difficult area to get your arms
around," Grobe said.

FirstEnergy earlier had analyzed and reported to the NRC the
technical reasons why the milk jug-size hole formed undetected
for six years, corrosion eating its way through the 6½-inch-thick
lid that covers the reactor core. Only a thin, stainless-steel
liner, bulging from the strain, kept the high-pressure coolant
from spewing out of the reactor vessel and causing a major

Workers found the hole in March while fixing cracks that had
formed in nozzles on the lid. Leaks from those cracks and
elsewhere formed the caustic sludge that eroded the lid.

The management troubles at Davis-Besse began after top officials
who had helped the plant near Toledo achieve a good operating
record in the late 1980s left during the next decade for
opportunities at other utilities.

They also occurred while the NRC office responsible for
overseeing Davis-Besse was stretched thin, its inspection efforts
focused more on serious problems at several other nuclear plants
in the Midwest.

From 1997 to 2000, "we provided a minimal amount of inspection"
at Davis-Besse, Dyer said, "and as a result of that, the quality
[of oversight] degraded."

Plant officials knew of the potential for the boric acid used in
the reactor's coolant water to cause damage if it was allowed to
build up in powdered or solid form on the hot reactor lid. They
also knew of the potential for the hollow nozzles in the lid -
which serve as pathways for the reactor's control rods - to crack
under high temperature and radiation, and for those cracks
eventually to leak coolant.

But plant executives didn't take the appropriate actions to keep
the lid clean and to stop other sources of coolant leaks so that
inspectors might have easily and quickly spotted the residue from
leaking nozzles, the analysis says.

Also, Davis-Besse workers at all levels wrongly assumed that
there was little chance of nozzle-cracking at the plant because
it was relatively young compared with other reactors.

"Low probability meant low concern," said FirstEnergy's Steve
Loehlein, who led the 11-member management review team of outside
consultants and the company's engineers from its Davis-Besse,
Perry and Beaver Valley nuclear plants.

Davis-Besse workers repeatedly found clues that should have
helped them and their bosses figure out that the nozzles were
leaking. Machinery inside the reactor building was being coated
and fouled by airborne acid from the leaking coolant. There was
an unexplained jump in the leakage rate that the plant's
instruments were recording.

But plant personnel at all levels didn't put the puzzle's pieces
together, the report says.

Top managers weren't directly involved in plant problem-solving,
relying on subordinates to notify them of concerns rather than
recognizing them firsthand. The managers allowed Davis-Besse to
run for long periods with degraded machinery and parts. Workers
had the philosophy that problems weren't serious until they were
proved to be.

The plant's efforts to police itself declined at the same time
that the threat of damage to the reactor lid increased, because
of its age and high operating temperature of 605 degrees.

Workers cleaning the reactor lid during each refueling shutdown
weren't adequately trained, the report says. The lid inspection
program didn't take into account that it might be the nozzles,
and not less critical parts, that were leaking. Reports detailing
the individual problems that pointed to nozzle leakage were left
unresolved by managers for long periods while damage occurred

"It was a site loss of focus," Loehlein said.

To address the problems, the company has replaced many of its
Davis-Besse managers. It is retraining its new ones and those who
remain. Managers are reconnecting with the plant, joining with
personnel from many departments to "walk down" the reactor from
top to bottom while repairs are under way.

"In summary, we're committed to doing the job right the first
time," Myers said. "We know we have a lot of work to do."

Just meeting the NRC's standards to get the plant restarted won't
be enough, the agency's Dyer said. "You cannot base your get-well
program on what you expect the NRC to inspect. You need to set
your own standards. It's going to be quite a challenging period
for both you and us."

complete coverage of Davis-Besse go to

To reach these Plain Dealer reporters:, 216-999-4138, 216-999-4842

© 2002 The Plain Dealer.


FROM RADBULL, Aug 14th, 2002
 10 NRC says 11 rules broken at Davis-Besse plant

The Plain Dealer
08/13/02 John Mangels and John Funk Plain Dealer Reporters

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has tentatively decided that
the operators of the damaged Davis-Besse nuclear reactor
committed 11 violations of agency regulations.

        The unprecedented corrosion in the lid of the Davis-Besse
reactor and cracking in nozzles that penetrate the lid of
Davis-Besse's and the nation's 68 other pressurized water
reactors has also led the agency to suggest that tougher
inspections may be needed to operate the reactors safely.

        Though the number of violations could change, depending
on the outcome of other reviews - including a criminal
investigation - the company expects to be fined, FirstEnergy
spokesman Todd Schneider said yesterday.

        The NRC bases the amount of fines on the severity of the
violations, the company's record, how the plant identified the
problems and whether it corrected them quickly. Large fines the
NRC has recently levied include $2.1 million against the
operators of the Millstone nuclear plant in Connecticut in 1997
and $500,000 against the D.C. Cook nuclear plant in Michigan in

        The agency expects to make a final determination of
Davis-Besse's liability this fall after further review by senior
agency officials. The company has the right to appeal, said Jack
Grobe, chairman of the NRC's special panel overseeing the plant's
repair and restart.

        Any fine would be in addition to the estimated $200
million or more FirstEnergy is paying to repair the crippled
plant, install a new lid and buy replacement power until it is
restarted. Davis-Besse's reactor, 21 miles east of Toledo, has
been idle since Feb. 16 and will probably not get NRC approval to
restart before the end of the year.

        While Davis-Besse's penalties for failing to quickly find
the corrosion on its reactor lid are uncertain, operators of
similar reactors are certain to incur higher inspection costs
because of the bulletin the NRC issued late Friday.

        In the wake of Davis-Besse's corrosion, along with
unexpectedly severe cracking found in nozzles in the reactor lids
at several other plants that operate at high pressure, the agency
is warning that current "eyeball" inspections of the lids may not
be adequate.

        The bulletin suggests several ways instruments can be
used to detect cracking of the nozzles in the 6½-inch-thick steel
lids. The nozzles allow control rods to move in and out of the
reactor core. It recommends how often such inspections should be
done - but stops short of ordering them.

        Operators that don't intend to perform the advanced
inspections are asked to explain their reasons. All reactor
operators must respond by Sept. 9.

        Current regulations require that lids be visually
inspected every time the reactor is idled for refueling, usually
every 18 to 24 months. The proposed advanced inspections would be
done on a sliding scale depending on the plant's age and
operating temperature. Older, hotter plants could run no more
than two years, while newer ones could go as long as five years
between inspections.

        But by giving operators an option on whether and how to
do the enhanced inspections, rather than ordering them to act,
the NRC is letting the industry determine how it will be
regulated, say critics David Lochbaum of the Union of Concerned
Scientists and Paul Gunter of the Nuclear Information and
Resource Service. Both groups are closely following the
Davis-Besse situation.

        "It's this kind of ambiguity that doesn't foster
confidence on the part of the public," said Gunter. "It's like
being in the passenger seat with the driver not fully in control.
The industry is driving the agency."

        The NRC's willingness to give reactor operators
flexibility in responding to safety concerns "seems to lead them
down the trap they fell into last year," Lochbaum said.

        He was referring to last fall when Davis-Besse did not
want to shut down on the NRC's timetable to inspect for cracked
and leaky nozzles. Although the agency staff was nearly certain
the cracks existed, they could not prove it to the satisfaction
of NRC management. The agency allowed the plant to run longer
than any other high-risk reactor, and when Davis-Besse finally
halted operations, workers found not only cracks but the large
rust hole they had caused.

        Ordering all reactor operators to take specific
inspection actions isn't practical for several reasons, said Bill
Bateman, chief of the NRC's materials and chemical engineering
branch. First, each reactor is different, so a blanket approach
would not work; second, building the case for an order takes
time, and third, the appeals process could cause delays.

        By giving the operators a say in determining how best to
identify cracking, there will be fewer challenges and the NRC
will get improved inspections sooner, he said.

        Despite continued uncertainties by both the nuclear
industry and the NRC about how fast cracks grow and when they
might create major leaks in the reactor lid, Bateman said the
agency is confident the proposed inspection schedule will catch
the cracks before they become dangerous.

        The enhanced nozzle inspections the NRC wants include
testing with sound waves, electric currents and dyes.

To reach these reporters:, 216-999-4842, 216-999-4138

© 2002 The Plain Dealer. Used with permission.
 © 2002 All Rights Reserved.


Date: Tue, 16 Jul 2002 13:09:11 -0400
From: Norman Cohen <>
Subject: More Messie at Davis Bessie
To: "" <>,
        "" <>
X-Mailer: Mozilla 4.78 [en] (Win98; U)
X-Accept-Language: en

" and" wrote:

> Norm Cohen ( thought you would be interested in this item from
> New DB safety concerns...


> ______________________________
> Want more news and info from
> Subscribe to My Newsletters and get
> FREE e-mail updates delivered to your inbox.

Coalition for Peace and Justice and the UNPLUG Salem Campaign; 321 Barr Ave., Linwood, NJ 08221;
609-601-8583 or 609-601-8537;  UNPLUG SALEM WEBSITE: COALITION FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE WEBSITE: The Coalition for Peace and Justice is a chapter of Peace
"First they ignore you; Then they laugh at you; Then they fight you; Then you win. (Gandhi) "Why walk
when you can fly?"  (Mary Chapin Carpenter)


        Fri, 23 Aug 2002 12:12:46 -0700
To: "Platts Updates" <>
Date: Fri, 23 Aug 2002 12:12:53 -0700
Subject: [DOEWatch] Platts - Friday, August 23, 2002
Platts - Friday, August 23, 2002


Washington (Nuclear News Flashes)--21Aug2002

US NRC finds apparent violations at Davis-Besse

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission has found numerous
apparent violations in five areas of FirstEnergy Nuclear
Operating Co's (Fenoc) running of Davis-Besse, agency
officials said Tuesday. The five areas were: technical
specifications, which require that there be no pressure
boundary leakage; adequacy of corrective actions; following
procedures, such as those for boric acid corrosion control;
the adequacy of procedures themselves to do what they were
supposed to do; and the completeness and accuracy of
documents, such as work orders and responses to generic
letters and bulletins.

NRC found two separate apparent violations in checking
Fenoc's readiness to restart. Those came in the panel's
inspections of Fenoc's containment walkdowns, where NRC
found apparent flaws in the qualifications of the Fenoc
inspectors and the adequacy of inspections. NRC disclosed
the apparent violations yesterday at a meeting in Ohio of
the special panel established under the agency's Inspection
Manual Chapter 0350. The panel is overseeing Fenoc's effort
to restart Davis-Besse after the discovery in March of
severe corrosion of the reactor pressure vessel head. The
plant has been shut since February, when it began a
refueling outage.


Washington (Nuclear News Flashes)--21Aug2002

Results of aircraft crash study due soon

The industry plans to release a summary of the results of an
aircraft crash study on Sep 9. The Nuclear Energy Institute
commissioned the Electric Power Research Institute to
conduct a study of the impacts of a deliberate jet attack on
a reactor containment, spent fuel pool, or independent spent
fuel storage installation. Steve Floyd, NEI's senior
director of regulatory reform, said the study focused on the
physical locations of fuel at nuclear power plants. He said
much of the analysis for the study will be completed by the
end of the month. The industry expects to discuss some of
the key assumptions, methodologies, and "conservatisms" in
the study when the information is released next month, he
said. A public version of the report could be issued in
October, he said.


London (Platts)--21Aug2002

Security checks at Germany's Krummel nuke completed

All security checks of the German nuclear plant Krummel have
been successfully completed, energy minister of the German
state of Schleswig-Holstein, Claus Moller, said Wednesday.
The 1,316-MW reactor, which is currently offline for annual
maintenance, is scheduled to come back online on Sunday.
Joint operator HEW was not available for immediate comment.

Moller said the floods, which could haunt the area in
northern Germany further over the coming weekend, would not
reach the reactor. "But at the same time we are doing
everything to be prepared for any unforseen developments and
to secure the safety of the population," said Moller. Moller
said HEW and E.ON, who jointly operate the plant, have to
prove by Thursday afternoon that "temporary high water level
measures" are operating as they should.

The ministry also ordered the operators to ensure all
cooling mechanisms are working properly and that no
radioactive material is leaked under any circumstances from
any sectors of the plant should water somehow make its way
into the reactor, the possibility of which could not be
completely discounted. Additionally, the plant has to pass
checks on its foundations before it restarts.

This story was originally published in Platts real-time news
and market reporting service European Power Alert.


Washington (Nuclear News Flashes)--20Aug2002

Key NRC decision on new US reactor licensing expected soon

A decision on the treatment of programmatic Itaac is
expected soon from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission. A
staff paper (Secy 02-67) that has been before the commission
since April seeks approval for requiring combined
construction/operating license applicants to verify they
have met inspections, tests, analyses, and acceptance
criteria (Itaac) for operational programs as emergency
planning and training. The industry has argued that Itaac
should be applied only toward hardware issues.

On another Itaac issue, the Nuclear Energy Institute wants
the NRC staff to provide some sort of sign-off after a
licensee has completed one or more Itaac in the combined
license. NEI wrote the commission last month that a proposed
revision to 10 CFR Part 52, the regulations for nuclear
power plant licensing processes, would provide periodic
notifications to the public of a licensee's claim that Itaac
have been completed--without stating the staff's assessment.
NRC Chairman Richard Meserve responded to NEI last week,
saying the staff changes to the rule (Secy 02-77) were under
commission review.


Paris (Nuclear News Flashes)--20Aug2002

Minor problems identified at some French reactors

Twenty-one French reactors have broken or insufficiently
prestressed tie-rods under various components and piping,
French nuclear safety authority DGSNR said. In an
announcement posted on its internet site (
Monday, DGSNR said a campaign of inspections Electricite de
(EDF) undertook after first discovering a ruptured tie-rod
in a steam generator support at St. Laurent-1 in November
1999 had led to findings of ruptured tie-rods, or tie-rods
with insufficient prestress, at 20 further units. The
phenomenon, attributed to stress corrosion cracking, was
found in tie-rods of support structures for steam
generators, main coolant pumps, and other components of
primary and secondary systems. Defects in the tie-rods could
make components more vulnerable in case of an earthquake or
a pipe rupture, DGSNR said. The affected tie-rods have been
replaced, the agency said.

Safety injection system feedwater tanks at Dampierre-1 and
Gravelines-1 through -3 emptied too quickly in recent tests
run by EDF, after the problem was first detected at
Fessenheim-2 and Bugey-2, French nuclear safety authority
DGSNR said. DGSNR said the nonconformance, which it said
“could hamper reactor cooling during a low-probability
accident situation,” represented a generic defect.

Blayais-2 and Gravelines-2 and -3 are affected by a generic
anomaly involving operating procedures, nuclear safety
authority DGSNR said. The incident involves insufficient
ventilation in rooms housing emergency pumps and was first
discovered by EDF at St. Laurent and other units of
Gravelines, the authority said. EDF, it said, should have
considered the ventilation out of order, but instead the
utility continued to operate the pumps, considering the
ventilation was operating satisfactorily. Though pump rooms
remained cool enough, DGSNR faulted EDF for “lack of rigor”
in applying operating rules and told the utility to fix the


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To: "NRC CONCERNS" <>, <>,
        "Dave Lochbaum" <>
Cc: <>,
        "Jersey Shore Nuclear Watch" <>
Subject: [JerseyShoreNuclearWatch] Re: Still More from the NRC Box o' Docs

Taken in the best light, it might be argued that NRC was  (a) blissfully
unaware of the potential message in all indicators regarding the DB reactor,
(2) trying to find the legal basis for ordering a shutdown...BUT, it cannot
be argued that shutting down DB was not within NRC's discretion. NRC invokes
discretion whenever they want to let a safety or security issue slide but
not when they are confronted with an obvious safety or security threat that
they cannot easily slip into a regulatory pigeon hole.  In short, they show
a preferential bias toward risking public health and safety. In the case of
DB and IP and elsewhere, this has decreased public confidence, failed to
maintain safety, decreased efficiency, and , in the end, cost the utilities
(caught out) money and increased regulatory burden . NRC loses sight of its
regulatory goals perhaps in part because the Commissioners spend so much
time, in violation of the spirit of their congressional charter,  shilling
for and promoting the nuclear industry.  The documents obtained through
Paul's FOIA show an NRC staff that has apparently abandoned professionalism
in regulation for cover-your-ass paper shuffling.
 If your intent in releasing these documents is to shame NRC, in particular
the Commissioners, into a respectable course of action, you will first have
to (1) get them to see themselves as others see them, (2) instill in them a
sense of shame. They have, in the words of one of the desert fathers, given
up the light burden of self-criticism for the heavy burden of self
justification. Sorry Dave, they have wrapped themselves in a protective
cocoon of banality and they won't, probably can't, come out.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Dave Lochbaum" <>
To: <>
Sent: Friday, August 23, 2002 3:55 PM
Subject: Still More from the NRC Box o' Docs

Good Day:

Attached is the report from an expert panel convened by the NRC to examine
the CRDM nozzle problem last year. Among other things, check out Item 7 on
page 3. The expert panel reported: "Existing PRAs do not explicilty address
these types of initiating events, but combine them with other possible
reactor coolant system breaks of similar size. The estimation of event
frequency, and the probability of recovery actions given the break location,
were hampeed by a [lack] of relevant information. ... NRC is in need of
additional plant-specific information from the industry to enable more
accurate determinations in this regard." Why did NRC grant the deferral for

Dave Lochbaum
Nuclear Safety Engineer
Union of Concerned Scientists
1707 H Street NW Suite 600
Washington, DC 20006-3962
(202) 223-6133 x113
(202) 223-6162 fax