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Saturday, December 11, 2004

They could have killed a million people...

Depending on the wind, I might have been one of them. Still, two years later, it's only "likely" that they'll be indicted on criminal charges. From the Toledo Blade via Cyndy:
FirstEnergy Corp. yesterday said its nuclear subsidiary likely will be indicted on criminal charges, accused of misleading federal regulators about the condition of Davis-Besse's reactor head prior to the plant's 2002 shutdown.

In a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, FirstEnergy indicated that it received a letter yesterday from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Cleveland stating that prosecutors assigned to the case believe "it is likely that federal charges will be returned against FENOC" by a federal grand jury in Cleveland that has been reviewing evidence for more than a year.
The shutdown revealed a much bigger problem than potential nozzle-head cracks: Davis-Besse's reactor head itself was so corroded that it was a mere two-tenths of an inch from blowing open. It was the worst corrosion in U.S. nuclear history.

NRC officials eventually labeled it the nation's biggest safety lapse since the Three Mile Island Unit 2 meltdown in Pennsylvania in 1979, in part because of doubts over whether emergency safety systems would have worked once radioactive steam had formed.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D., Cleveland), whose district is downwind from Davis-Besse, became so incensed that he tried to get FirstEnergy's operating license revoked.

The congressman told The Blade last night that he was pleased by the possibility of FENOC being charged criminally. "They haven't been telling the truth," he said.

He said the utility's history of mismanagement is one of the nation's most underrated stories. "It's all about money in the end. It's not about public safety," Mr. Kucinich said.
So while Cheney and Rice were babbling about mushroom clouds over US cities because of a country 8000 miles away which had no nuclear capability, we were only 2/10ths of an inch from a major nuclear disaster less than fifty miles from Detroit, Ann Arbor, Toledo, and numerous other cities.