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Davis-Besse up and running

Melissa Topey • May 9, 2014 at 9:30 AM

Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station restarted Thursday, despite a glitch Monday.

The FirstEnergy facility had been shut down for three months as workers replaced two steam generators at a cost of $600 million. The investment signals FirstEnergy has every intention of operating the plant through 2037.

The plant was operating at 48 percent power Thursday, and crews anticipated it would be at 100 percent within a week, said Jennifer Young, spokeswoman for FirstEnergy.

A problem arose Monday night during routine control rod testing, which is done in preparation for the startup. Plant employees were sending commands to the control rods, to ensure the equipment was properly reacting to the signals, when a motor started overheating.

In a quick-stop process known as SCRAM, controllers shut down the test. The rod being tested at the time went back into the nuclear reactor core without incident.

“There were no safety implications” Young said.

The plant experienced no problems as it connected to the grid Thursday afternoon, she said.

Workers on Monday determined adjustments needed to be made to the cooling lines that serve the motor. They adjusted the equipment and successfully completed the testing.

Kevin Kamps, nuclear watchdog for Beyond Nuclear, predicted FirstEnergy would brush the incident off. He said it was a good thing the reactor was shut down.

“If you had a loaded reactor core and you withdraw the control rod and a problem happens, it will increase the nuclear reactor,” Kamps said. “You certainly want your control rods to function as you want them to.

“Yet again, another problem with Davis-Besse that I hope does not line up one day for disaster” Kamps said.

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