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Davis-Besse seeks extension opinion

Public meeting set for Camp Perry on March 25

CTY-BESSE11-3-17

Akron-based FirstEnergy Corp. still is months away from knowing if it will get the 20-year extension it wants for its Davis-Besse nuclear power plant in Ottawa County. But the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s lengthy review of the utility’s 1,810-page application, submitted by FirstEnergy in 2010, reaches a new milestone next week.

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OAK HARBOR, Ohio — Akron-based FirstEnergy Corp. still is months away from knowing if it will get the 20-year extension it wants for its Davis-Besse nuclear power plant in Ottawa County.

But the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s lengthy review of the utility’s 1,810-page application, submitted by FirstEnergy in 2010, reaches a new milestone next week.

The NRC is hosting a pair of meetings in the Camp Perry Conference Center on March 25, from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m., to give the public a chance to submit comments on the 681-page draft supplemental environmental impact statement that was prepared by the agency’s staff and released for discussion in February.

The hefty document is subject to public review through April 21.

After the March 25 meetings, comments must be submitted over the federal rule-makings Web site, www.regulations.gov, using Docket ID NRC-2010-0298, or mailed to Cindy Bladey, Chief of the Rules, Announcements, and Directives Branch, Office of Administration, Mail Stop: 3WFN-06-44M, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, D.C. 20555-0001.

The March 25 event could be one of the last chances for the public to weigh in on FirstEnergy’s application at a public forum.

The NRC’s latest schedule calls for the environmental impact statement to be finalized by September, later than the earlier projected timetable of July.

Decisions on the entire application are to be made by the NRC’s Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation director and the agency’s commission at a time to be determined after that.

Links for the Davis-Besse timetable and links to multiple documents are available at the NRC Web site by clicking through the menus for operating reactors, licensing, and status of renewal applications.

Barring a change of heart, the NRC appears likely to approve the environmental impact statement and keep the process moving.

According to a statement on page 21 of the draft supplemental environmental impact statement: “The NRC’s preliminary recommendation is that the adverse environmental impacts of license renewal for Davis-Besse are not great enough to deny the option of license renewal for energy-planning decision makers.”

The same statement appears on a Web page last updated by the NRC on March 10.

Last September, the NRC signed off on another major document necessary for license extension, Davis-Besse’s 895-page safety evaluation report.

Davis-Besse commenced operation in 1977. Its 40-year license expires April 22, 2017. A 20-year extension would allow it to continue operating through April 22, 2037.

The plant, currently offline for refueling and replacement of its two steam generators, is on the Lake Erie shore, about 35 miles east of Toledo.

Contact Tom Henry at: thenry@theblade.com or 419-724-6079.

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