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Published: Friday, 10/12/2007

Sabotage ruled out in steam line damage at Fermi II


NEWPORT, Mich. While the sequence of events that resulted in damage to Fermi II s steam lines remains under investigation, officials today have ruled out sabotage as a possible cause.

A statement issued this afternoon by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said that Detroit Edison Co., the plant s operator, has determined that the damage occurred during the removal of pipe insulation.

What initially was reported by the Associated Press as several holes turned out to be one, with multiple indentations of varying depths, the NRC said.

John Austerberry, plant spokesman, said it appears a drill was used to remove the pipe insulation in the vicinity of safety relief valves in the plant s drywell area, which sits below the nuclear reactor.

It was not immediately known how much damage occurred, how many workers were involved, or how the situation will be resolved, he said.

The plant is in the second week of a scheduled refueling-and-maintenance outage that is expected to last until early November. It has about 2,300 workers on site, including 1,400 contractors, doing hundreds of tasks.

The damage was discovered Thursday during a routine inspection. The plant will not restart until the damaged area is fixed or replaced, Mr. Austerberry said.

The plant confirmed the FBI was called to the scene because the incident had been declared an unusual event. FBI spokesmen in Detroit and Washington could not be immediately reached.

Read more in later editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com

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