Kucinich claims FirstEnergy downplayed cracks at Davis-Besse

Hundreds gathered at a public meeting Thursday night to hear from First Energy and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission about the decision to reopen the Davis Besse Nuclear Power Plant.

Late last year, the plant was shut down after a 30-foot hairline crack was discovered during the installation of a replacement reactor head.

After nine weeks, the plant was allowed to reopen despite strong opposition from Representative Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) and anti-nuclear activists.

"If the core melts down, if the metal containment structure fails, you've got the concrete containment structure. Well it is severely cracked," Kevin Kamps of Beyond Nuclear said.

Kamps and a dozen other anti-nuclear protestors gathered outside the Oak Harbor facility earlier in the day, to protest its reopening, and later attended the meeting in the hopes of "learning more" about the situation at the plant.

At the Camp Perry Clubhouse in Port Clinton, the protestors were among a large group of citizens and politicians.

The meeting began with comments from both officials with the NRC and representatives from the plant. Both groups assured the public that the necessary steps were being taken to ensure safety at the plant and public safety.

"The shield building is capable of performing its intended function and is suitable for operating conditions," Davis Besse Site Vice President Barry Allen told the crowd.

But the skeptics, including Congressman Dennis Kucinich, used the meeting as an opportunity to publically call First Energy's response to the situation into question.

"Up until tonight First Energy repeatedly downplayed the true nature of the problems. And why haven't you admitted, until tonight, that the cracking was in the outer rebar?" Kucinich asked of Allen.

"The information we presented in that was not information we had all pulled together early in this has been an ongoing investigation over a period of weeks," Allen replied.

Representative Marcy Kaptur was also in attendance Thursday night and called attention to the overall importance of the meeting.

"This meeting is an important part of the process of ensuring that Davis Besse operates safely. Indeed tonight we are doing that in the American way. A culture of safety requires an atmosphere of openness and sharing. The NRC, First Energy, the Davis Besse workforce and local community must work together closely," Kaptur said.

Both Kaptur and Kucinich both commended the NRC for their response in dealing with the situation at Davis Besse.