Closing Davis-Besse will be “devastating” to community, says NRC manager
by John Funk
PORT CLINTON, Ohio — An unexpectedly small crowd showed up Tuesday evening at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s annual meeting to talk about the performance of the Davis-Besse nuclear power plant.
Davis-Besse’s more than 600 employees operated the plant safely with one minor citation, said NRC managers.
Surprisingly, the small turnout had few questions about FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company’s announcement in April that it would close Davis-Besse by May 31, 2020.
James Cameron, an NRC manager responsible for power plant inspections, said Davis-Besse’s closing would be “devastating” when asked by a Toledo reporter what the impact of the closing would be on the community.
Cameron said close scrutiny by on-site resident inspectors would continue — with an eye toward determining whether the closing is affecting the morale of the plant employees,whether the company is managing to keep staffing levels adequate to safely operate the plant or whether the backlog of maintenance projects is developing.
“At this point, we have not identified any problems at the plant attributive to financial issues,” he said.
Shawn Harwell, an NRC financial analyst responsible for determining whether the trust funds established to pay for decommissioning are sufficient, said the funds were adequate as of March 2017, the last publicly available decommissioning report FENOC filed with the NRC.
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The Midwest-based Environmental Law and Policy Center and several other consumer and environmental groups raised the issue of inadequate decommissioning funds with the NRC in March, just days before the company petitioned for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
Howard Learner, executive director of the ELPC said SAFSTOR will prevent towns that hosted nuclear power plants from re-developing the land for many decades.