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Published: Thursday, 4/10/2003

FirstEnergy says shell passes test

OAK HARBOR, Ohio - FirstEnergy Co. said yesterday it found no signs of a leak from an eight-hour test it performed on the steel containment vessel that encapsulates its Davis-Besse reactor.

But a Nuclear Regulatory Commission official said the agency, which has the final say, has not yet reached any conclusions about the test results.

The shell, one of the primary shields, had to be cut open to swap out reactor heads last summer. The leak test on that piece of metal began late Monday night.

It is separate from an upcoming week-long pressure test of the reactor bottom, one of the largest and most anticipated inspections in the plant's 26-year history.

Yet the utility believes Davis-Besse has cleared another hurdle in its ongoing effort to resume operation.

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