Friday, Jun 22, 2018
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Davis-Besse back at full operating power

OAK HARBOR, Ohio — FirstEnergy Corp.'s Davis-Besse nuclear plant in Ottawa County is back at full power.

The plant began its gradual restart last week and synchronized to the regional electric grid at 5:54 p.m. Friday, Jennifer Young, utility spokesman, said Tuesday.

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That typically happens when a nuclear plant reactor is holding steady at about 20 percent power.

Ascension to full power normally takes a few days.

The plant was shut down June 29 after one of its four reactor-coolant pumps experienced a malfunction and automatically shut down, Ms. Young said.

Inspections showed that wiring to the power source for the pump’s motor had to be replaced. A weld on a recirculation line connected to the pump seal also was repaired, she said.

The pumps and motors were deemed satisfactory before the plant was put back into service, Ms. Young said.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission had its resident inspectors overseeing the repairs and restart.

Reactor coolant pumps circulate coolant water over the reactor during normal operations.

Davis-Besse's original reactor coolant pumps were the focus of a federal whistleblower complaint filed in 2003 by Andrew Siemaszko, who alleged he was fired in 2002, for insisting that all four pumps be refurbished immediately.

Those pumps are expected to last up to 20 years. The NRC agreed then the work needed to be done, but allowed FirstEnergy to finish it in 2006.

After he was fired, Siemaszko was convicted in federal court on three counts of withholding information from the government about Davis-Besse's original reactor head in the fall of 2001, as was his former supervisor, David Geisen. Both were sentenced to probation.

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