Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station Begins Maintenance Outage

Major Projects Include Reactor Head Replacement

Sep 30, 2011, 13:49 ET from FirstEnergy Corp.

AKRON, Ohio, Sept. 30, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company (FENOC), a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE), announced its Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station in Oak Harbor, Ohio, will shut down early Saturday morning to begin installation of a new reactor vessel head and complete other scheduled maintenance.

The new reactor head enhances safe and reliable operation of Davis-Besse.  The new head, which replaces the head installed in 2002, features control rod nozzles made of material less susceptible to cracking.  Originally planned for 2014, FENOC voluntarily accelerated Davis-Besse's new head installation after modifications were required to 24 of the 69 control rod nozzles on the current head during the site's spring 2010 refueling outage.

"Advancing the installation of the new reactor head provides additional margins of safety and reliability for long-term plant operations," said James Lash, President of FirstEnergy Generation and Chief Nuclear Officer.  "The investment in our new head, along with other work we will complete during the outage, supports our commitment to remaining an important part of northwestern Ohio's economy as a reliable, economical and clean energy source for many decades ahead."

Davis-Besse's new reactor head measures nearly 17 feet in diameter, is eight-feet tall and weighs more than 82 tons.  The head was manufactured by Areva in France, and a comprehensive, pre-service inspection was conducted by FENOC personnel before the head was shipped to the United States and transported to the plant in November 2010.

Once at the plant, the new reactor head was placed in a specially constructed building where new control rod drive mechanisms and other components were fitted and installed.  Next, the new head will be moved in and the old head removed from the plant via an opening that will be cut into the containment building during the outage.

Other work scheduled during Davis-Besse's maintenance outage includes installation of a new reactor control system and upgrading several battery chargers that provide DC power to important plant components.  In addition, the station will replace underground piping in a water system that provides cooling to plant equipment and systems.

Some 1,000 temporary contractors and FENOC employees from the company's other nuclear plants will supplement the Davis-Besse workforce during the outage, providing an economic boost to the region as these workers lodge in area hotels, frequent area restaurants, and shop at local stores.

The 900-megawatt Davis-Besse unit operated safely and reliably since the completion of its last refueling in July 2010, generating more than 9.1 million megawatt hours of carbon-free electricity.

Davis-Besse is part of FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company which also operates the Beaver Valley Power Station in Shippingport, Pa., and the Perry Nuclear Power Plant in Perry, Ohio.

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SOURCE FirstEnergy Corp.