The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) today held a hearing in Painesville, Ohio to examine the performance of FirstEnergy's nuclear operations. Top NRC officials heard from representatives of FirstEnergy's three nuclear power plants. Congressman Kucinich submitted a statement for the record at the hearing highlighting FirstEnergy's many mistakes, misleading statements and errors of judgment that undermine the credibility of the organization and its commitment to public safety.
"Today, we are tasked with taking a look at FirstEnergy's performance and the role of the NRC in ensuring the safe operation of their nuclear power plants. Both have failed," said Kucinich in written testimony.
Rep. Kucinich reminded participants about decades of mistakes and systematic failures which has led to Davis-Besse, one of three nuclear power plants operated by FirstEnergy, to become one of the most dangerous nuclear power plants in the United States.
"FirstEnergy continues -- to this day -- to try to prioritize profits over safety. Since there is not enough time to cover in detail the full history of FirstEnergy's bad decisions, near misses and safety lapses, I ask to place into the record of this hearing a document prepared by Beyond Nuclear that does just that."
Most recently, cracks were discovered in the shield building at Davis-Besse. FirstEnergy consistently misrepresented to the public structural defects in the building that shields its reactor. After misleading the public for months, FirstEnergy, as predicted, found the least burdensome explanation for the cracking. They argued that a snow storm from 1978 was responsible and all that FirstEnergy needed to do was to apply weatherproofing.
Despite decades of mismanagement, including recent findings by the NRC of inadequate protection for workers who could have been exposed to radiation at Perry, FirstEnergy has applied to extend the Davis-Besse's operating license for an additional 20 years past its original retirement date.
"This is my question: Why does the NRC think FirstEnergy's past record justifies an extension of their current operating licenses at their nuclear power plants," Kucinich asked.