FirstEnergy Blames Managers, Workers For Corrosion

OAK HARBOR, Ohio (AP) - Operators of the Davis-Besse nuclear plant said Thursday that managers and workers didn't follow procedures to control boric acid corrosion that led to damage on the reactor head.

FirstEnergy Corp.'s internal investigation, written by nuclear experts hired by the utility, recommended increasing management involvement in the plant's inspections and more training for those inspecting for boric acid corrosion.

The plant has been shut down since February, when inspectors discovered that boric acid had nearly eaten through a steel cap that covers the reactor vessel.

FirstEnergy is spending an estimated $55 million to $75 million to replace the reactor lid that was damaged by the leaking acid.

It was the most extensive corrosion found on a U.S. nuclear reactor and led to a nationwide review of all 69 similar plants.

Akron-based FirstEnergy gave its internal report to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which is conducting its own investigation and is expected to announce its findings this fall.

FirstEnergy has removed several top managers at the plant, including Howard Bergendahl, vice president in charge of Davis-Besse and the former plant manager.

Workers have started cutting into the walls of the plant's containment building to replace its damaged reactor head.

FirstEnergy plans to reopen the plant at the end of the year.

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