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Published: Monday, 12/9/2002

Monthly update on plant moved to Camp Perry

PORT CLINTON - This month's community update about the Davis-Besse situation will be tomorrow in a new location: Camp Perry.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission chose the clubhouse at the military complex for at least this month's oversight panel meeting - possibly more - because of scheduling conflicts at Oak Harbor High School. The agency also thought more people might be able to attend on Tuesday nights, Jack Grobe, oversight panel chairman, said.

Tomorrow's meetings will be at their normal times: 2 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9:30 p.m., with the same format in place. The afternoon meeting will be primarily a discussion between FirstEnergy Corp. officials and the regulator, with questions from the public taken if time allows. The night meeting will be entirely a question-and-answer session between NRC officials and the public.

Camp Perry is in Ottawa County, along Lake Erie just west of Port Clinton and the nuclear plant. Its main entrance is along State Rt. 2. Visitors will be required to show a driver's license or other form of identification.

The clubhouse is near the lake, at 1000 Lawrence Rd., Building 600.

The NRC's oversight panel has been meeting monthly since April 29.

It was formed in response to the massive corrosion - the worst in U.S. nuclear history - found March 6 on Davis-Besse's reactor head. The intent is to give the public a chance to hear periodic updates about ongoing investigations and the company's efforts to restart the plant, Mr. Grobe has said.

Attendance has been consistent at recent meetings, with usually about 100 spectators during the daytime and fewer at night.

Christine Lipa, another oversight panel member, said the NRC noticed the turnout tended to be better when meetings were held on Tuesdays. The agency shifted meetings to Wednesdays during October and November because of problems that federal holidays those months caused in scheduling flights for federal employees, she said.

The Oak Harbor High School auditorium has ample seating, but the facility is often booked for school events on most nights other than Wednesdays. The NRC is trying to veer away from Wednesdays due to a number of church activities in the Oak Harbor area that could make it difficult for residents to attend Davis-Besse meetings, said Ms. Lipa, head of reactor oversight for the NRC's Midwest regional office in Lisle, Ill.

Tomorrow's meeting will be sort of a test run for the NRC. The agency has the Camp Perry clubhouse booked for its next two tentative meeting dates - Jan. 14 and Feb. 11 - but might look for a new locale if the logistics and times aren't conducive, she said.

“If we find that Camp Perry is a deterrent, we'll try to find another place,” Ms. Lipa said. “We're hoping we don't solve one problem by creating another.”



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