The infamous Davis-Besse nuke---the one with the hole in its head---may be slouching toward new disaster. After nearly wiping out all of northern Ohio, First Energy, the utility that owns this radioactive turkey, has spent several hundred million bucks rushing it back toward operation. But there are critical problems still outstanding. And there is more than ample wind power to supply all the power the region needs without risking another Chernobyl.

So watch this the coming days we'll outline some of the basic problems and some of the things YOU can do to help keep this machine of mass destruction permanently shut.

Meantime, read the press release below from the Union of Concerned Scientists.

And go to to find out more, and to send a letter to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which could keep this damn thing down.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Contact: Dave Lochbaum or Eric Young at 202-223-6133

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

UCS Urges NRC to Delay Restart of Ohio Nuclear Plant Pending Criminal Investigation
Davis-Besse Nuclear Plant Likely to Restart Before Completion of NRC Investigation; Plant Management Must Be Held Accountable

WASHINGTON, June 25 - The Union of Concerned Scientists today urged the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) not to allow the restart of the Davis-Besse nuclear power plant until the agency has concluded its year-plus criminal investigation into the near accident at the plant. UCS made public a lengthy legal brief it has submitted to the NRC which concluded: "FirstEnergy falsely represented the condition of the pressure vessel and associated piping in order to avoid an NRC-ordered shutdown, and knowingly and recklessly exposed the people of Ohio to a grave and preventable safety risk."

A recent independent audit also found that many workers at Davis-Besse have serious ongoing concerns that senior managers whose actions helped lead to the near-miss have not been held accountable and that there are still problems with the safety culture at the plant.

"Many workers at Davis-Besse don't think those responsible for the near-disaster have yet been ferreted out, so neither should the NRC," said David Lochbaum, Nuclear Safety Engineer for UCS. "The agency should not allow a nuclear plant that came so close to a meltdown to restart without completing all necessary steps to prevent it from happening again."

The Union of Concerned Scientists retained legal counsel to detail the factual basis for criminal prosecution of those responsible for the Davis-Besse debacle. UCS's legal brief documented numerous statements repeatedly made by FirstEnergy, many under oath, to the NRC about conditions at Davis-Besse that have been proven to be false. FirstEnergy knew or should have known that these statements were incorrect. UCS alleges that the false statements include:

· There are no structural impediments to the visibility of the reactor vessel head.
· The reactor vessel head was cleaned before each inspection in order to expose the bare metal for close visual examination.
· The reactor vessel head was inspected regularly using established procedures.

Davis-Besse's problems surfaced in March 2002, when a hole more than six inches deep was found in the lid of the reactor vessel. A thin layer of stainless steel, which was bulging outward under the pressure, was all that remained to prevent a potentially catastrophic release of radioactive material. FirstE nergy estimated that the crack causing the vessel head damage formed in 1996. Under NRC safety requirements, nuclear power plants are only permitted to operate for six hours - not six years - with such a crack.