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Thursday
Apr072016

When "FirstEnergy says PUC vote assures Davis-Besse operation for several years," Beyond Nuclear begs to differ

This still images comes from a U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission video. The yellow arrow shows a sub-surface crack in Davis-Besse's concrete containment Shield Building wall. The cracking was revealed during an October 2011 reactor lid replacement. The cracking grows by a half-inch, or more, in length, every time it freezes out, due to Ice-Wedging Crack Propagation, due to water locked in the walls by FENOC's 2012 "White Wash" weather sealant of the Shield Building exterior, 40 years too late.In an article entitled "FirstEnergy says PUC vote assures Davis-Besse operation for several years," Nucleonics Week reporter Michael McAuliffe quoted Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps:

A coalition of anti-nuclear and environmental groups including Beyond Nuclear was also critical of the PUC decision.

“PUCO’s $4 billion bailout to FirstEnergy will mostly go towards padding the pockets of company executives and shareholders, not to critically needed repairs of safety systems, structures, and components,” Beyond Nuclear spokesman Kevin Kamps said in a March 31 statement.

[FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company, FENOC, spokesman] Colafella said “there are currently no major capital improvements needed at Davis-Besse.” But the coalition said that among needed plant maintenance is repairing a shield building which has a multitude of cracks. The shield building protects the reactor from impact by external objects.

Kamps questioned whether Davis-Besse will be able to remain in operation for the eight years covered by the plan and said in an April 4 interview that FirstEnergy does not “plan on plowing much of their bailout back into maintenance, and the NRC didn’t require it.”

Nucleonics Week is a publication of Platts/McGraw Hill Financial. This article appeared in Volume 57/Number 14 on April 7, 2016. (Nucleonics Week requires a subscription to access, $3,110 annually for one user. However, limited free trials are sometimes provided.)

Beyond Nuclear, along with Citizens Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario and Don't Waste Michigan, as well as the Ohio Green Party, have officially intervened against Davis-Besse's 2017-2037 license extension since 2010.

The coalition was joined in 2013 by the Sierra Club, in a challenge against Davis-Besse's risky, experimental steam generator replacements. In that intervention, the coalition was served by expert witness Arnie Gundersen, Chief Engineer at Fairewinds Associates, Inc. in Burlington, Vermont. Gundersen, as expert witness for Friends of the Earth regarding dangerously failed steam generator replacements at San Onofre nuclear power plant in southern California, played a key role in the permanent shutdown of the two reactors in June 2013.

Beyond Nuclear and Don't Waste Michigan issued a press release in response to the PUCO's bad decision on March 31st, listing the numerous, large ticket capital expenses Davis-Besse faces in the near future, by its own documented admissions. (See the Word version for functioning URL links.)

The press release quotes the environmental coalition's legal counsel, Toledo attorney Terry Lodge: The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) chained and shackled Ohio ratepayers with a burdensome "Pig in a Poke" known as Davis-Besse.