From: "Russell D. Hoffman" <>
Subject: Technical details on near-catastrophe at Davis-Besse are profoundly disturbing
FYI: This letter was sent to several "world-renowned experts" in alloys, embrittlement,Wigner's disease, etc. This is part 2 of a 3-part email.)   Please forward it to politicians, media, etc.  Thank you in advance) -- Russell D. Hoffman, Concerned Citizen


To: Concerned scientists
From: A concerned citizen
Re:  First Energy Corp. B&W PWR Nuclear Power Plant, Oak Harbor, Ohio (Davis-Besse)

Location: 21 miles ESE of Toledo, OH, on Lake Erie.  Any and all places downwind: That means, depending on prevailing winds, Sandusky, OH, Cleveland, OH, Pittsburgh, PA, Washington DC, Toronto, Canada, Virginia, West Virginia, New Jersey, NYC, Long Island, New England, Maryland, Delaware, North Carolina...

Date: Discovered March 11th, 2002 during inspection.

What: Pre-existing leaks in nozzles (LARGE flanges) and transition welds, which sounds a lot like Dr. Edward Siegel's warnings in his prescient paper (Jnl. Magnetism & Magnetic Materials, 7, 312 (1978) originally given while an employee (and whistleblower) at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Vienna, Austria; given originally at the International Conference on Magnetic Alloys and Oxides (ICMAO) at the Technion (Israel Institute of Technology), Haifa, Israel).  See details in attached open letter to Congress, 11/01, by Siegel of a generic/endemic (so-SELF-called; so-MARKETED; so-CLAIMED) "super" alloyS' Wigner's disease (Ostwald Ripening; Spineodal Decomposition; OVERaging  Embrittlement; Thermal Leading to Mechanical INStability; "sensitization" (meaning very susceptible to overaging embrittlement); ...)  Often very sudden and nasty, as witness Monju (Anderson was the consultant that helped the Japanese correct Monju) (see below) and Lei paper (referenced below), Figure 2, Y axis.

Severity: Quoting Siegel in a telephone conversation: "It most probably might -- may / could have been worse than Chernobyl".

We almost had a massive explosion of a 2,500 PSI primary containment vessel!  This isn't just some tiny leak -- if the inner liner was ruptured it would blow a hole in the reactor which would spew super-heated water, flashing over to super-heated steam, destroying and sucking out the radioactive core and fuel elements (like shooting a bullet at a SCUBA tank).  It would be more dangerous than a CORE MELTDOWN because instead of going into the ground and sinking down perhaps a quarter of a mile, the molten-hot uranium would go UP AND OUT into the air, to be carried by the winds to any and all who would like breath of fresh air instead.

Had the Davis-Besse pressure vessel exploded outwards (fatally rupturing the containment dome), it most certainly would have been blamed on terrorists, rather than on its true cause: "Super" Alloy age, component age, plant age, lack of proper maintenance, lack of proper timely Non-Destructive Examination (NDE)  (See references to Lofara reports from DOE/Brookhaven National Laboratory, funded by DOE/NRC, below) (Davis-Besse came online in 1977, and didn't run full-tilt the whole time, with refueling and other outages along the way, so it may be very close to Siegel's 17 +/- 3 year prediction, coincidentally coinciding with Robert Pollard's last report at the Union of Concerned Scientists about embrittlement of 304/304L stainless steel skirts in GE Boiling Water Reactors (like the on-going Hamaoka 1 accident (see current Japan Times articles given below)).

Siegel (denied access to nuclear plants since 1977) guessed, during a phone inquiry, that most probably what happened, is that when the nozzle leaks were examined (this is a flange, and THE key joint between two parts of the reactor), they saw that the boric acid leaked into some pre-existing cracks which SHOULD HAVE BEEN DETECTED years ago using NDE.

Siegel says "THE standard textbook on metalloids is (and always has been) by H. J. Goldschmidt, called Interstitial Alloys, Pergamon Press, a classic by 1970.", which Siegel used extensively in his predictions 1977, 1978, and many other relevant papers:  Physica Status Solidi, 1971; Scripta Metallurgica, 1972-1974; Semiconductors and Insulators, 1979 - 1 paper about Fracture of Transition Metalloids: Carbides, Nitrides, and Borides, (focusing on TiC), connecting mechanical and fracture properties to -- of all things -- superconducting properties (witness announcement January 1, 2001 by Aki Matsu et. al., and postdeadline special session at American Physical Society, March meeting, 2001, about MgB2, the then-new surprising higher-temperature super-conductor from which Siegel's contributed abstracts were purposefully deleted by same American Physical Society.  Siegel draws attention to the fact that TiB2 is right next to MgB2.  Suggests all look at his last flow-chart figure in that paper (regarding fracture). (He "almost" predicted it!).

[Notice figures 3 and 4 are THE FIRST experimental discovery of GIANT magnetoresistence (GMR); the current disk drive standard worldwide, usually credited to Fert et. al. (Grenoble, France) in 1988: 77 <<< 88.  In the same issue of the ICMAO / Technion / Haifa  (1977) conference, another short theoretical paper by Siegel predicted colossal magnetoresistence (CMR) -- the soon-to-be successor to GMR in computer disk drives worldwide.]


Russell D. Hoffman
Concerned Citizen
(formerly of Connecticut)
Carlsbad, California

Attachments:  Technical specifications on Davis-Besse (from DOE web site; note description of it's status); related report by Dr. E. Siegel (includes partial resume); links to more items by Dr. Siegel; news articles about the Davis-Besse accident.  Technical experts receiving this document should note the many technical errors in the newspaper accounts, especially in the NC Times article shown at the bottom. 


Date: Fri, 22 Mar 2002 17:42:32 -0800
To: "Edward Siegel" <>
From: "Russell D. Hoffman" <>

The Davis-Besse plant is a single unit reactor located east of Toledo in Oak Harbor, Ohio on the shore of Lake Erie. The site covers 954 acres of which 733 acres is leased to the U.S. government for a National Wildlife Refuge. Safety-related problems in its early years tarnished its reputation, but its sale to new owners has brought about a recovery. The site is licensed for dry storage of spent nuclear fuel and had 3 casks as of March 2000.
Operator: FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Co.
Owners: Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company (51.4%), Toledo Edison Company (48.6%)
Reactor Supplier: Babcock & Wilcox
Capacity: 873 net MWe
Reactor Type: Pressurized water reactor

Date of Operation: April 1977
License Expiration date: 04/22/2017
Electricity Produced in 2000: 6.70 billion kWh
2000 Average Capacity Factor: 87.32%


Cc: "Russell D. Hoffman" <>
Subject: BEWARE Price-Anderson Act RENEWAL vis a vis GENERIC ENDEMIC  FRAUD & Possible Terrorism Against Nuclear-Plants!!!
Date: Sun, 4 Nov 2001 22:02:38 -0800
Organization: "FUZZYICS"

(1) BEWARE Price-Anderson Act upcoming renewal vote limiting nuclear utilities' legal liability in the face of:
(2) Ongoing GENERIC ENDEMIC massive FRAUD by nuclear utilities, their vendors, their contractors, their suppliers, and with complete collusion of NRC and DoE!!! (see below)
(3) Possible susceptibility to possible terrorist attacks, using this verysame GENERIC ENDEMIC FRAUD, as a tool for making ~103 US nuclear-reactor power-plants into readymade weapons of mass destruction (WMD), nuclear (so called) "accidents" WAITING TO HAPPEN!!!
I would most strongly urge you to please read carefully this somewhat technical expose of multigenerational multidecade covered up GENERIC ENDEMIC FRAUD on nuclear-reactor power-plant (civilian and military) (so called)' "super"alloys' metallurgy [same (so called) "super"alloys as those which fail in gas-turbine and jet engines (remember the jet-engine combustion-chamber/"burn-can" explosions in the 1980's: Milwaukee, Manchester, Japan, (~1985-6)..., the Challenger,...?)]: design, component fabrication, construction, inspection, maintainance, certification, licensiing, quality assurance, quality control, reinspection, license renewal, (many old reactors FRIGHTENINGLY in the last year/recently being purchased to be relicensed to run far beyond their most optimistically intended maximum lifetimes!) and ask your staff to gather the articles highlighted below, and to contact the corroborating experts listed and highlighted below, MOST of who live and/or work in the Washington, D. C. area thus being LOCALLY almost immediately available to you, your staff, the members of and staffs of both House and Senate committees which oversee the: NRC, DoE, Price-Anderson Act renewal (and its debate!?).

Gentleman and Ladies:
                                  As you Senators and Representatives reconsider and vote on the Price-Anderson Act extension, limiting the legal and financial liability for nuclear-reactor power-plants to relatively nothing compared to the actual cost of any possible nuclear "accident" (waiting to happen!!!), and (too!) many reactors with (so called) "super"alloys' GENERIC ENDEMIC FRAUDULENT advanced age overageing-embrittlement [the technical subject/metallurgy of this letter; see below]
"osteoporosis" (very analogous to an old woman's bones geting ever more brittle with age with NO possibility of reversal whatsoever!!!), and its strong possibility of vertually guaranteeing the success of any possible terrorist attack(s) upon nuclear-reactor power-plants lurking,
Please feel free to RSVP as soon as possible as you may see fit with any: questions?, comments?
Most Sincerely and Respectfully,
Dr. Edward Siegel
Metallurgist & Physicist
ThermAlloy Technology Ltd.
[Ph. D., Metallurgy, MSU (1970);
M. S., Physics, U. of Michigan (1969),
attended: NYU (Physics) & U. of Pennsylvania (Metallurgy);
B. S., CCNY (1965)]
[Fired, Westinghouse APD/NES, Sr. Materials Scientist (1974)
Fired, P. S. E. & G. Chief Matallurgist & Mgr., NDT/E (1976)
Fired, I. A. E. A. (Vienna) (1977)]
PLAINTIFF: Federal False Claims Act/"Qui Tam" Lawsuits
COMPLAINANT: NRC (twice), mid-late 1990s, DoE (mid-late 1990s)
(resume below at very end)

PERSONAL FOR B E T T Y   A N N   B O W S E R and/or PBS Newshour
 News Directors/Producers
VICTORIA CORDERI and/or NBC Dateline News Directors/Producers
(re: 11/1 Datelione NBC and 11/2 PBS Newshour segment on
Nuclear-Reactor Safety Against Terrorism)
cc: Editors and Investigative Reporters:The: New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times,...

   In the 11/1 NBC Dateline and 11/2 PBS Newshour segment on possible upcoming terrorist attacks against nuclear-reactor power-plants great probability of success, Rep. Edward Markey was dead right,
N. R. C. Chairman Meserve a bit to a lot wrong, and Mr. Beadle an outright liar!
   Why? Because, even IF the reinforced-concrete (a.k.a. "rebar") containment-structure could withstand impact of a fuel-laden jet, the (determined by: time at temperature determines it, like cooking a pizza in a microwave-oven) overageing-embrittled/"spinodally-decomposed"/"Ostwald-ripened"/
(analogous to osteoporosis in your grandmother's bones)
of (so called) "super"alloys (Nickel-based: Inconel-600 piping,  INCO-182/82 piping-to-flanges/"nozzles" transition-welds, Hastelloy-X core-internals, Iron-based: 304 & 304L stainless-steels (like your elevator doors at NBC or PBS), etc. etc.,... ) are INfamous for becoming with age, at fabrication and then ambient temperatures, VERY VERY BRITTLE hence SHOCK/"notch"-sensitive, would crack like eggshells.
   Where to attack? NOT the concrete containment, BUT the: EMBRITTLED: PIPING, FLANGES (like a person's lips), "NOZZLES" [as recently cracked at Oconee PWR in South Carolina (read on)], and STEAM GENERATORS!!! They would ALL LITERALLY SHATTER LIKE "GLASS" [see Roman Rollnick article quoted below: in
The European, week ending 1/14/92-front page, about this happening to PIPING in ALL E. C. (46 PWRs in Germany, ..., 56 PWRs in France, = 102+ PWRs in E. C. by 1992].
   Why should our US reactors': same designs, same (so called) "super"alloys but OLDER (i. e. MORE AGE) be any different? (Because we're good loyasl blond haired blue eyed Americans? I think not!)
   These are even MUCH MORE VULNERABLE than spent-fuel pools if the reactor is critical/ i.e., on!!!
[you might want to read a layman's book:
"Nuclear Power: From Physics to Politics", by Lawrence Pringle (~1979), seemingly about me; in addition Keith Snow, a noted environmental journalist,[c/0 (413) 268-7458] has writen most of a book about this and me]
Other references:
Ana Mayo (still writing for NYTimes part time?), The Village Voice, p. 40, 8/21/78 article about me "If Leaks Could Kill", in her "Geiger Counter Column" (then), about my work, Journal of Magnetism & Magnetic Materials 7, 312 (1978)
LOCAL D. C. REFERENCES: [the first four are in their 60's-70's, have been around alloy metallurgy/physics for a very long while, and are all VERY FAMOUS in metallurgy!]:
(1) Dr. Lydon Schwartzendruber, Metallurgy Division, N. I. S. T. /DoC, Gaithersburg, MD.
(2) Prof. Lawrence Bennett (Lydon's former boss; NIST ret.), Materials Science Dept., George Washington (?) or Georgetown(?) Univ., D.C.
(3) Prof. (ret.; Simon Fraser Univ., B. C., Canada) Anthony Arrott, World's Best Alloy Magnetism expert, LIVES IN D.C. (202) 364-6044 and eaches at some Northern VA. state university.
(4) Prof. (ret.; Univ. of Illinois Materials. Science & Physics Depts., & Case Western-Reserve Univ. also)  Wendell Williams (217) 344-5180 &/or (winter escape; FL.) (941) 349-4218
(5) Dr. Kevin Aylesworth, [used to work for Sen. Tom Harkin, (D-IA)] and in D.C. phonebook - spent quite a bit of time with me and talked extensively about this when both in Boston (~1994-~1996)
(who some of you may know personally, having been a Senate staffer for nearly a decade now!)
(see pdf version very short/very limited layman's summary of Lofaro Brookhaven National Laboratory/DoE/NRC nuclear "incidents" statistical/actuarial (as in "time until death"!; do to overageing-embrittlement)assessment on website:
or, even better, do a Google search under "Robert Lofaro" and wade through his/Brookhaven National Laboratory's/DoE's/NRC's veryown MANY VERY NEGATIVE nuclear-reactor component/systems failures predicted FRIGHTENING RISK-ASSESSMENTS!!!
(which you may not have been aware of)
[or, for more/to be complete, have your staff(s)/commitee(s) staff(s)
gather together ANY/ALL Lofaro (MANY) reports from Brookhaven National Laboratory throughout the 1980s and 1990's]

Dr. Richard Meserve,
cc: Mr. Hugo Bell,
Inspector General,
Michael Steinberg,
Auditing Division, Inspector General's Office,
Agents George Mulley and Ronald Fields,
Inspector Generals Office,
Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Rockville, MD.
Dear Dr. Meserve,
I just heard about the Ocone, South Carolina ("8/01") PWR "nozzles" and piping transition-weld cracking, which sound a lot like the San Onofre, CA. "nozzles" and piping cracking problem!
This is EXACTLY what I tried to leave for you at the Hyatt Islandia in San Diego last November that American Institute of Physics CEO "Dudsky" or "Broadskii" "porloined" (unless the documents simply just "walked away themselves"?). Maybe you should have known about it a year ago? It would have helped you with this problem greatly!
Attached please find a (not so!) humerous article about nuclear-reactor,... (and LOOK UP ALL REFERENCES!!!)  GENERIC Fe-based "austenitic" (FCC crystal structure) (a.k.a. stainless-steels) and Ni-based "austenitic" (FCC crystal structure) (so called) "super"alloys: Inconel-600 (control-rod sleeve tubes), Hastelloy-X (core internals), and INCO-182/82 (FCC "austenitic"to BCC "ferritic" pressure-vessel steels) transition-welds.
Especially the latter I was THE FIRST to discover and call attention to.
Jnl. Magnetism & Magnetic Materials 7, 312 (1978);
see also article about my warnings:
Ana Mayo, "Geiger Counter Column", The Village Voice, p. 40, 8/21/78]
For INCO-182/82 worldwide transition-weld standard for decades (1950's-1990's), I found that it takes ~ 17-22 years, which sounds EXACTLY like what is happening in South Carolina ("now") and nearby San Onofre unit here.
Since it happened in
ALL E. C. PWRs [see R. Rollnick, The European (weekly), week ending 1/14/93 - front-page and flip-side] and in MANY Japanese PWRs, I ask:
All it takes is (like heating up a pizza in a microwave) time at temperature, and OURS are OLDER!!!
OF COURSE it IS, NOT just "now" and NOT just "only" in South Carolina, but most probably VERY WIDESPREAD and well covered up, or simply ignored and not recognized by: utilities, energy-companies, NRC, DoE!
(yet, since ~1988 a HUGE amount of money has been spend by NRC on studying this phenomenon; just ask NRC public information service to do an NRC/DoE literature search under superalloy embrittlement, Wigner's-disease, Ostwald-ripening, spinodal-decomposition, overageing, ageing, overageing-embrittlement, "sensitization", ... and you'll see the NRC/DoE CRASH program on this for perhaps ~13 years!)
Jonathan Pollard's last UCS report (I believe 9/95?) on stainless-steel skirts SUDDEN embrittlement at ~ 17-20 years in G. E. BWRs! There the culprit is 304 stainless steel. They use 304L ("L" meaning low-carbon, to slow down this overageing-embrittlement) and it failed too!]
also Lai's Met. Trans. AIME, 9A, 827 (1978) reference figure 2 on Hastelloy-X for just HOW FAST this can happen: 100 hrs.( = 4 DAYS!)/~2years = < 1% of intended lifetime!
[this is what fails and explodes, combustion-chambers in GE & P&W jet-engines]]
The GENERIC problem is called: Wigner's-disease, Ostwald-ripening, spinodal-decomposition, ageing, overageing, overageing-embrittlement, (euphemistically) "sensitization".
Ask any machinist. When it happens in tool steels (drills or lathe cutting-tools), it's called "streamers"
(NOT the cut metal chips), stringd/chains and sheets of brttle-carbides that grow in a more ductile tool-steel matrix. And the tools delaminate, literally crack apart, JUST LIKE for (so called) "super"alloys in PWRs and BWRs!
I hate to say "I (at least tried in 11/00 to) told you so", but...
(Q: just how did I sneak into the South Carolina PWR and cause this???
 A: It MUST be going on in ALL US PWRs and BWRs for MANY KINDS of DIFFERENT (so called) "super"alloys in many different components!!!)
Have you ever read
Robert Lofaro's (BNL) [see below] "bean counting" INPO incidents actuarial projections? Based upon past INPO/NRC documents, Lofaro (no metallurgist) predicted ~ 1990-1992 at the ?th Light Water Reactor Safety Conference, summarized in the Journal "Failure Analysis" quarterly in ~1991-2, and in a sequence of BNL reports probably right there in your NRC library, something like a ~73(!!!)% probability of failure due to (this) (so called) "super"alloy GENERIC (OVER)-"ageing" [a. k. a.:
Wigner's-disease, Ostwald-ripening, spinodal-decomposition, overageing, overageing-embrittlement, "sensitization",...]
(this latter decidedly NOT meaning sitting around a campfire and singing "Kumbaya",...  )
leading to EXPONENTIAL(!!!) reactor systems failure probability!
(a. k.a. technically "chaos"!!!)
Please RSVP if you need any consulting help
(from someone who can be HONEST with you about this GENERIC problem you've inherited, and, because he discovered it in INCO-182/82 transition-weld alloy 25 years ago,
Most Respectfully,
Dr. Edward Siegel
Metallurgist & Physicist
ThermAlloy Technology Ltd.
[Ph. D., MSU (1970), M. S., U. of Michigan (1969), attended: NYU & U. of Pennsylvania; B. S., CCNY (1965)]
[Fired, Westinghouse APD/NES, Sr. Materials Scientist (1974)
Fired, P. S. E. & G. Chief Matallurgist & Mgr., NDT/E (1976)
Fired, I. A. E. A. (Vienna) (1977)]
[PACIFIC-time; often busy if I'm online; NO voicemail!
BEST: Mon, Wed, Fri (after end of October), Sat, Sun: t < ~12:00-1:00 PM
7 nights: t > ~ 5:00 PM
Tue, Thur, (until end of October) Fri: t < ~ 10:00 AM]

The "U. S. S. KURSK":

          Generic Endemic Navy (SSN, SSBN, CVN) /

                    Utility NUCLEAR


(Courtesy: Westinklouse, G.-E., P. & W./U.-T., A.B.B./C.-E., B. & W., Inco, Haynes, Cabot, Prudential...)

                                                "SeŮor AdmirŠlŪssimo El Exigente ("OsamaBin")von"      

                                                                    Dr. Edward Siegel


                                                             Metallurgy and Alloy Physics

                                                               ThermAlloy Technology Ltd.


       ("Avenger of U.K. Admiral Sir Walter Raleigh s 1492 Vanquishing of the Spanish Armada")

                                                                         (858) 270-5111



very recent Oconee, S. C. PWR "niozzles" severe cracking, mirrored in San Onofre, CA. PWR "nozzles" cracking (which the NRC refuses to order inspected, muchless nationwide in ALL PWRs (and BWRs), and the utilities (like San Onofre's owner, nearly bankrupt Southern California Edison, refuse to do!, and actively lobby against!)

recent (5/19/00; Gibraltar/Algericas Bay) H. M. S. Tire"less"d SSN nuclear attack-submarine                        [Reuters News dispatch: (San Diego Union Tribune, p. 2, 10/22/00) but "amazingly" in no other national U. S. paper: neither: N.Y.T., nor L. A. T., nor W.-P.,...-talk about managed news!!!]; [also: in  El Pais (Madrid, Spain major daily (10/31/00) - on WWW) & on B.B.C. News, [N.P.T.V.; KPBS-Ch.15 (10/31/00), in which Spanish Prime Minister demanded to British Prime Minister that the U.K. "tow it our of Iberian waters forthwith!"], now renamed the H. M. S. "Aged" & Tired) and dry-dock/inspections of whole rest (12) of U.K. SSN nuclear attack-sub fleet, necessitating U. S. Navy guarding of their U. K. whole SSBN nuclear fleet ballistic-missile boats & G.-E.-KAPL core-meltdown diagnosis (518) 587-3245 /

plus older French nuclear attack-submarine SSN Emeraud steam-"leak" killing Captain and Nine Crew (Boston Globe, p.25, 3/31/94 ),

plus recent dire warning on Internet by John. P. Shannon and Bob Stater, [G.-E. Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory (KAPL) retired Nuclear Engineers, Former Health and Safety Manager, designers of Navy nuclear-reactor cores for some thirty years; @ 262 Jones Rd., Saratoga Springs, N. Y. 12866 / tel: (518) 587-3245 /] that the H.M.S. Tire"less"d , with no loss-of-coolant (LOC) emergency-core-cooling-system (ECCS) [as do all other nuclear Navy ships of any/all types and any/all countries similarly lack] actually suffered a loss-of-coolant-"accident" (LOCA; "China-Syndrome") on 5/19/00 and is now stuck powerless and unmovable in Gibraltar/Algereicas Bay, and that ...

ALL 57 U.S. SSN attack-submarines nuclear-reactor cores (which they designed for 30 years) should be as susceptible to and hence suffer similar LOCA "China-Syndrome" problems in the future!!!

early unheeded by both nuclear Navy(ies)/commercial nuclear utilities metallurgical warnings of "super"alloy generic endemic overageing-embrittlement thermal-instability in-fabrication / in-service problems warnings:

(the) Dr. Eugene P. Wigner (Nobel Laureate, physics, who took Einstein s letter to Roosevelt),                        Jnl. Applied Physics 17, 857 (1946)

Dr. E. Siegel (Metallurgist), Jnl. Magnetism & Magnetic Materials, 7, 312 (1978)@ ICMAO, Technion, Haifa

Ana Mayo, the Village Voice, "If Leaks Could Kill", Geiger Counter Column, p. 40 (8/21/78)

Dr. G. Lai, Metallurgical Transactions AIME, 9A, 827 (1978) - especially unbelievable Fig. 2/y-axis!!!)

Dr. J. R. Kattus, Code # 4112, U. S. DoD Aerospace Structural Materials Handbook, Battelle (1983) - OFFICIAL DoD WARNINGS!!!

Dr. E. Siegel (in abstract) 1978 - prediction of Monju, Japan Breeder Reactor nuclear "accident"                 (Japan Times, front page (12/10-12/95) & thereafter - on WWW in English)

E. C. (esp. France & Germany) mandatory commercial nuclear-reactor pressure-vessel heads and cooling piping replacements due to embrittlement-cracking                                                                         (R. Rollnick, The European, (1/14/93) front page headlines)

E. Savage and E. Nippies, Jnl. Welding (1963-67) - many technical papers on "super"alloy welds generic embrittlement

Howard Richards(RIP), metallurgist, PSE&G (largest utility/N. J.) suppressed dire multi-decade warnings

Professor W. B. Pearson, renowned Canadian metallurgist, University of Waterloo - multi-decade dire warnings of generic "super"alloy overageing-embrittlement catastrophic-failures in nuclear power-plants

H.M.S.S. Titanic, (W. Broad, New York Times, reprinted in San Diego Union Tribune, p. E2, (2/4/98)) which sank because of (closely related) metallurgical embrittlement of steel bolts and hull plates,...

Warnings, Portents, Continuing / Ongoing Disasters, and Trends are Clear / Undeniable!!!

Do the Governments have the courage to ACT NOW???


                                               Dr. Edward Siegel

messages: c/o:                                                           (858) 270-5111

                            (best: A. M. & Nights - 7 days- PACIFIC-time - NO-voicemail)





Creative challenging position in alloy metallurgy/NDT/ceramics/materials/process engineering/ utilizing my diverse heuristic skills: problem-solving, incisive analysis, and optimization, reasoning with: ambiguity, uncertainty, analogy, induction, deduction, via insightful disambiguation for decisive implementation with applications in: metallurgy/NDT/ materials/process-engineering: failure-analysis, troubleshooting, yield-enhancement, reliability, testing, QC, QA in both fab/R.& D. environments.


Skills-Set and Accomplishments

Initiating Failure-Analysis of: utility power-plants (nuclear and fossil), pipelines: gas, water, naptha, hydrogen,....

Implementing Yield-Enhancement of: utility power-plants (nuclear and fossil), pipelines: gas, water, naptha, hydrogen,....

Troubleshooting of development and fab process bottlenecks; in-process testing during fabrication.

Consulting within organizations on materials/process-specific problems in development and fabrication processes.

Developing real-time Q.A. and interactive Q.C. during processing for process yield-optimization.

Managing international-programs including: planning, reporting, staffing, vendor-liaison, foreign-government liaison, consulting, troubleshooting, failure-analysis, yield-enhancement, Q.C., Q.A., databases,..., in both fab, and R.& D.

Consulting/Troubleshooting/Qualifying ferrous/nonferrous alloys in high stress and/or high corrosion environments fabrication techniques and quality parameters

Qualifying selection of optimum materials of construction/fabrication practices for commodity items to maximize cost effectiveness

Determining cause and required remedial action for metallurgical failures in electrical/gas distribution/ transmission components: pipelines, valves, pumps, rotating/reciprocating equipment: compressors, structural facilities, pressure vessels,...

Anticipating potential alloy metallurgy problems: corrosion, stress corrosion cracking, fracture, hydrogen embrittlement, hydrogen sulfide cracking, brittle failure, plastic collapse, cyclic fatigue, corrosion fatigue failures.

Managed/Directed failure analysis of electricity/gas generating/transmission equipment/tools

Qualified/Monitored/Recommended Changes to existing: weld-alloys, welding-procedures, welder- qualification practices, industry codes/methods

Provided support to operations: maintainance/engineering/design/fabrication/construction firms on large capital intensive generation/transmission plants/facilities

Developed/Qualified alloy processing: welding, machining, forging, casting, powder-metallurgy: ball-milling, hot pressing, cold isostatic pressing, sintering, consolidation...

failure analysis of failure mechanisms corrosion, environmental cracking, fatigue, brittle failure, plastic collapse,...

appropriate analysis methods: fracture mechanics, metallography, macrophotography, SEM, EDAX, mechanical testing, NDT (especially acoustic-emission, ultrasonics)

Developed/Managed/Implemented testing/inspection methodology: component analysis methods, destructive and non-destructive testing (radiography, acoustic-emission, ultrasonics, magnetic particle, dye penetrant,...

Developed/Managed/Implemented/Mitigated corrosion: testing, prevention, mitigation engineering via corrosion resistant fab/construction materials: metallic/ceramic/polymer/composite/cermet coatings for corrosion, stress corrosion cracking, hydrogen embrittlement, hydrogen sulfide cracking, corrosion fatigue deceleration/prevention

fracture mechanics: Charpy V-notch/ CTOD testing, brittle failure prevention, plastic collapse failure criteria, corrosion-damage, mechanical-damage,..., especially superalloy (INCO-182/82), HASTELLOY-X,... magnetic-testing discovery/calibration and heat-treatment reversal

international transnational ANSI, API, NACE, codes/standards compliance.



ENTREPRENEURIAL new-ventures/start-ups and CONSULTANT

[ Silicon Valley, CA.: Dysan, Memorex, I.B.M., Systron-Donner,..., MA: Trillenium, and E.C. (Italy & Vienna): I.A.E.A./I.C.T.P., OPEC, Petrobras, A. G. A., Proton-Diamant, Excalibur, Eureka, and in former Eastern Bloc, ]:

"Digit-counting" QA/QC/Auditing on-average statistical inter-digit correlations logarithmic-law ["fraud detection"] inversion and expansion to reveal its/digits hidden quantum-physics with extensive applications to: auditing, Q.C., Q.A., accounting, fraud-detection, systematic-bias error-detection, digital-computing correction, quantum-computing implementations, software-packages,...

[popular refs: M. Browne, N.Y.T. (8/4/98)-front page/Science section; T. Hill, Am. Sci. (7-8/98); R. Mathews, New Sci (7/10/99)]

"Fuzzyics" & "Rough-Stoffe" Fuzzy-Logic & Rough-Sets Artificial-Intelligence packages.

"Static-Synergetics": real-time/during processing Q.A. and interactive Q.C. for yield-enhancement optimization.

Proton-Diamant: Proton-in-Diamond optimal heat-sink ion-implantation/diffusion interconnects.

Solar-Hydrogen-Water: solar-energy production of water via hydrogen/hydride-storage and gravity.

"ThermAlloy-Technology"(TAT):Ni-based superalloys/Fe-based stainless-steels thermal overageing-embrittlement catastrophic-failure preclusion via magnetic-N.D.T. real-time Q.A./alloy-rejuvenation heat-treatment Q.C.for forced-outage/maintenance/accident minimization process yield-optimization.

"Excalibur": earthquake sub-Hertz sub-audio infra-sonic/electromagnetic early-warning alarm sensors.

"Eureka"/"Shazam": Neural-Network Automatic Optimization via "Fuzzyics" & "Rough-Stoffe" A.-I.

"Bucky-Ball" Fullerine/Fulleride versus Cuprate High-Temperature Superconductivity enhancement.

Bioelectronic nerve pain-analgesia, cardiology-therapy, DNA-control by 1/f-noise nonlinear-dynamics



NDT SENSOR/DETECTOR PHYSICIST/ENGINEER National Research Council, Space Agency, S„o Paulo, BRAZIL


NDT SENSOR/ DETECTOR PHYSICIST/ENGINEER, Queen Mary College, University of London, UK



MANAGER: METALLURGY, MATERIALS, NDT, Public Service Electric & Gas. Co., Newark, NJ

SENIOR ALLOY METALLURGIST, Westinghouse Atomic-Power/Electronic-Device Div., Pittsburgh, PA

SENIOR ALLOY METALLURGIST, General Motors Technical Center, Manufacturing Development, Warren, MI

ALLOY METALLURGICAL ENGINEER Ford Motor Company Scientific Research Staff, Dearborn, MI.

ALLOY METALLURGICAL ENGINEER Weston Instruments Div.of Schlumberger, Newark, NJ



CERAMICS/COMPOSITE/ALLOYS ENGINEER US Army Materials Research Agency, Watertown, MA



DOCTOR OF ENGINEERING Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI Metallurgy

MASTER OF SCIENCE University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI. Physics.

[ attended: University of Pennsylvania Materials-Science ; New York University Physics ]

BACHELOR OF SCIENCE City College of New York (C.C.N.Y.), NY,NY Physics.

[ attended: Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO Metallurgy, Mineralogy, Geophysics ]

Three more items by Dr. Seigel:

BEWARE Price-Anderson Act RENEWAL vis a vis GENERIC ENDEMIC FRAUD & Possible Terrorism Against Nuclear-Plants!!!

FOLLOWUP to & Short Succinct SUMMARY to: "BEWARE Price-Anderson Act By Rote Automatic Renewal Upcoming VOTE!!!":

Followup #2: Sources for additional information:

Date: March 5th, 2002

Tests spot 5 defects in safety devices at Davis-Besse
Davis-Besse flaws on repair schedule


OAK HARBOR - Five of 69 primary safety devices used to help control FirstEnergy Corp.ís Davis-Besse nuclear plant have been operating with cracks in them, possibly for years.

The flaws, discovered by ultrasonic tests, caught the utility by surprise yesterday. The latest round of visual inspections only days ago revealed no problems, and neither did visual inspections during refueling outages every two years since at least 1996, Richard Wilkins, FirstEnergy spokesman, said.

Barring any complications, the defects will be repaired during the plantís biennial refueling and maintenance outage, which began in mid-February and is to conclude at the end of this month. The additional cost was not known, he said.

The danger of ignoring repairs isnít so much a radiation leak as it is compromising the integrity of devices that are essential to helping control-room operators shut down the plant in the event of an emergency.

The plant is along Lake Erie in rural Ottawa County, about 25 miles east of Toledo.

A company report on the matter is expected to be completed today or tomorrow. Among the first to be notified will be officials at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commissionís headquarters in Washington and its Midwest regional office in Lisle, Ill.

Regulators from that agency last year expressed concerns about Davis-Besse and a dozen other nuclear plants that have pressurized water reactors, because a similar plant in South Carolina was found to have circumference-type cracks in devices known as control rod drive mechanism nozzles. Those nozzles are long, vertical tubes in the reactor head that serve as passageways for rods that control-room operators use to absorb excess neutrons in the reactor core, thereby keeping the plant running as it should.

Plants can operate safely if the metal tubes get a tiny vertical crack. The NRCís anxiety grew because it had not previously seen nozzles crack in a circular manner, leading regulators to envision scenarios in which the metal could further weaken.

During the first week of December, the NRC considered issuing FirstEnergy a rare government order to shut down Davis-Besse for an emergency inspection - something that hasnít been done anywhere in the country since 1987.

The agency backed off, largely because FirstEnergy offered to move up its refueling and maintenance outage about six weeks ahead of schedule.

The ultrasonic tests were the first on Davis-Besseís reactor nozzles in the plantís 25-year history.

Preliminary results that came back from a laboratory yesterday showed three nozzles with defects that warrant immediate repairs. Another two nozzles had cracks so tiny they could be inconsequential from a safety standpoint. But the utility will repair all five, Mr. Wilkins said.

None of the nozzles shows evidence of the dangerous, circumference-type crack that worried the NRC, though one "looks like it was starting to go around," he said.

Cracks can take years to develop, Mr. Wilkins said.

NRC officials were not available for comment last night.

Detroit Edison Co.ís Fermi II nuclear plant in northern Monroe County was not identified last year as being susceptible to nozzle cracks, because it has a different type of reactor. It has a boiling-water reactor.


Date: March 6th, 2002

No leaks found in Davis-Besseís cracked nozzles


OAK HARBOR - None of the five cracked nozzles on top of FirstEnergy Corp.ís Davis-Besse nuclear plant reactor appears to have leaked.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission confirmed yesterday there was no salt-like buildup of boric acid on the exterior of metal tubes known as control rod drive mechanism nozzles, a sign that the cracks were confined to the interior of the devices.

Itís also a sign that the utility was able to head off the problem before it could have evolved into a greater safety risk, Jan Strasma, NRC spokesman, said.

Davis-Besse and other nuclear plants with pressurized water reactors have 69 such nozzles penetrating their reactor vessel heads.

The nozzles - essentially metal tubes - are considered part of the primary safety system because they help control-room operators plunge neutron-absorbing rods up and down the reactor core. That keeps the plant running as it should.

Nozzle cracks are not uncommon and typically take years to develop. They need to be fixed, though, so that they donít create more obstacles if thereís a need for an emergency shutdown, Mr. Strasma explained.

The cracks were diagnosed by a series of ultrasonic tests - the first in the plantís 25-year history. The fact they were confined to the interior of the nozzles helps explain why they went undetected in visual inspections during refueling outages every two years since 1996, the latest of which was completed in late February. Those inspections cover only the exterior of the nozzles, he said.

FirstEnergy has impressed regulators by not only making plans to fix the cracked nozzles - but with its plans to install a new reactor head during the plantís next refueling outage in 2004, complete with 69 new nozzles.

The project will be enormous: Dome-shaped vessel heads are 14 feet wide and made of solid steel, some four feet thick in the middle.

FirstEnergy declined to provide cost estimates for that project, as well as its latest round of repairs.

New vessel heads cost on the order of $15 million to $20 million - approximately $5 million to $8 million to build, plus another $10 million to $12 million for expenses such as design and installation, according to Melanie Lyons, spokeswoman for the nuclear industryís Washington-based trade group, the Nuclear Energy Institute.

The utility will be the first in the NRCís seven-state Midwest region to bring in a whole new vessel head, according Mr. Strasma, who described it as a "prudent move on their part."

The utility wants to start fresh with a new reactor cover to avoid more expensive repairs when the plant gets older and more nozzles become susceptible to cracks. "Thatís certainly one of the factors and a strong one," Richard Wilkins, FirstEnergy spokesman, said.

Another is the companyís hope that Davis-Besse has more years left in it, he said. The plantís 40-year license expires in 2017, but company officials notified the government several months ago that they intend to seek a 10-year extension.

Mr. Wilkins said that the plant always will need various parts replaced but that it has been running in good shape: It set an internal record of 639 days - nearly two years - of continuous operation until shutting down for refueling Feb. 16.

"The only way you can do that is to have confidence in the equipment you have," Mr. Wilkins said.


Date: March 7th, 2002

Davis-Besse, Fermi II pass safety evaluations

The Toledo areaís two nuclear plants received passing marks in their latest government evaluations.

FirstEnergy Corp.ís Davis-Besse plant in Ottawa County and Detroit Edison Co.ís Fermi II plant in Monroe County were notified by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission this week that they "operated in a manner that preserved public health and safety and fully met all cornerstone objectives."

Letters acknowledging the results were posted on the government agencyís Internet web site yesterday. Both plants are about 25 miles from Toledo.

A public meeting is set for April 3 at the Davis-Besse administration building to discuss that plantís results. No meeting is scheduled to discuss Fermiís results.


Date: March 20th, 2002

Regulators issue acid-damage alert


OAK HARBOR - Although the latest discovery of corrosion on top of FirstEnergy Corp.ís Davis-Besse nuclear reactor could be less serious than what was found last week, federal regulators want all other nuclear plants to check for similar problems.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has sent a bulletin outlining Davis-Besseís reactor head damage to the nationís 103 nuclear plants with special instructions to 69 that have pressurized water reactors.

Davis-Besse, in Ottawa County, has a pressurized water reactor. Detroit Edison Co.ís Fermi II nuclear plant in northern Monroe County is a different type of structure: It has a boiling water reactor.

All plants with pressurized water reactors are being required to submit detailed information on how the structural integrity of their reactor vessel heads has been examined recently. The information will be used to determine if any of them need to be shut down for emergency inspection, NRC spokesman Jan Strasma said.
Fermi II and other plants with boiling water reactors were provided the bulletin for informational purposes only.

A similar thing happened last year after Duke Energy Corp. found unusual circumference-type cracks in two nozzles on top of that utilityís Oconee 3 reactor in South Carolina. Those type of cracks made regulators believe the nozzles could eventually split open and impede use of the control rods.

Major corrosion discovered last week at Davis-Besse - described as the most severe of its type ever found on top of a U.S. nuclear reactor head - did not pose an immediate radiation threat to the public because no steam escaped from the reactor.

Even if it had, safety systems were designed to immediately kick in and help cool the reactor. Any steam that would have escaped would have been trapped by thick concrete walls of the reactorís containment building.

The NRC was stunned by the corrosion because of how deeply it had penetrated the reactor head. In the bulletin it sent to nuclear plants, the NRC stated that degradation of the reactor head or other portions of reactor coolant pressure boundary "can pose a significant safety risk if permitted to progress to the point that their integrity is in question and the risk of a loss of coolant accident increases."

Boric acid from the reactor leaked through at least two devices known as control rod drive mechanism nozzles.

Acid from one of those nozzles burned through all six inches of carbon steel that makes up the reactor capís upper layer, leaving a cavity four inches wide and about seven inches across. The only thing stopping it from burning a hole through the reactor head was a thin layer of stainless steel, which is about three-eighths of an inch thick or roughly the width of a pencil eraser. That type of steel is impervious to boric acid.

Though the NRC was awaiting more information yesterday about the latest discovery of corrosion, FirstEnergy doesnít believe itís as extensive as that found last week.

Richard Wilkins, utility spokesman, said the corrosion measured around a second leaking nozzle penetrated about four inches of the carbon steel and left a cavity that extended only about a quarter-inch from the side of the nozzle. The damage was limited to a section of the nozzle that measures about 15/8 inches across, he said.

The two most problematic nozzles are among 69 welded into the reactor head. Five were found to have tiny cracks shortly after the plant was shut down for normal refueling and maintenance Feb. 16.

Another one of those five nozzles - three altogether - is believed to have a crack which goes all the way through it. More tests are being done to see if acid made it through that nozzle, though Mr. Wilkins said there has not yet been the most tell-tale sign: the formation of salt-like boric acid crystals on the outside of the tube.

The cost to repair all damage could reach $10 million. The utility hopes to have the work done by late June, though the NRC wonít allow the company to restart the plant until it is satisfied that sufficient repairs have been made.

FirstEnergy hopes to avoid a repeat of the problem by installing a reactor head with 69 new nozzles when Davis-Besse is shut down for its next biennial refueling outage in 2004. Such project typically costs up to $20 million. Those costs canít be passed on to customers.


Date: March 12th, 2002

Boric acid leak eats 6-inch hole in cap of Davis-Besse reactor


OAK HARBOR - FirstEnergy Corp.'s Davis-Besse nuclear plant became the focus of a national investigation yesterday after officials learned that acid from the plant's reactor ate a half-foot chunk out of a steel cap that covers the vessel.

Described by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the utility as the most extensive corrosion ever found on top of an American nuclear plant reactor, the radioactive boric acid came within a half-inch of burning a hole through the huge vessel head - a domelike structure that is 17 feet wide and made primarily of two types of steel.

The corrosion, missed in previous inspections, prompted the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory to immediately notify the nation's 102 other commercially operated nuclear plants to be on the lookout for a similar problem.

"It's a very significant degradation of the vessel head," Jan Strasma, NRC spokesman, said. "It's certainly very unusual. ... Certainly, it's a deterioration of a very important safety feature."

None of the cracks caused an immediate threat to the public, because Davis-Besse is shut down for normal refueling and maintenance since Feb. 16.

The utility had hoped to restart the plant by the end of March, but said the corrosion problem - to be addressed by a team of 50 scientists, technicians, and nuclear experts from all parts of the country - will keep the plant idle until at least late April.

Mr. Strasma gave no assurances that the utility will be able to stick to that schedule.

"They'll develop a repair procedure and we'll see if that is sufficient to deal with the problem," he said.

Trace amounts of boric acid, which the reactor creates during the nuclear fission process, are believed to have dribbled for a long time - possibly years - from at least one of 69 extended, vertical tubes called control rod drive mechanism nozzles.

The nozzles, which operators use to maneuver control rods and keep the plant running safely, are permanently implanted into the reactor head and are supposed to be welded airtight.

Somehow, acid escaped.

It burned through all six inches of carbon steel that forms the outer layer of the reactor head and made contact with the stainless steel on the cap's innermost side. The stainless steel layer is only about three-eighths of an inch thick- about the size of an eraser head - but the corrosion did not penetrate it because that type of metal is impervious to boric acid, said Richard Wilkins, FirstEnergy spokesman.

The corrosion created a cavity four inches wide and five inches long around the most troublesome nozzle, he said.

"We were not expecting to see that extent of corrosion," he said. "This has not been seen in the industry before."

FirstEnergy is repairing five of the 69 reactor nozzles which are believed to have cracked sometime during the plant's 25-year history.

Two are now thought to be leaking - something which wasn't previously known.

The reactor head's corrosion appears linked to at least one of those two leaking nozzles or to aging weld seams surrounding them, Mr. Wilkins said.

Even if it had been operating, the reactor does not make direct contact with the environment. It is sealed off in a separate building designed to trap radiation that might escape from the vessel.

The utility also believes operators would have had plenty of time to shut down the plant if an emergency had arisen. There was never any hint of a problem: The plant ran at full power for months, without any noticeable loss in reactor pressure, Mr. Wilkins said.

The NRC wants the cracks repaired so that they do not ever impede efforts to shut down the plant.

FirstEnergy plans to install a new reactor head during the plant's next refueling outage in 2004, complete with 69 new nozzles, Mr. Wilkins said.

The reactor head cannot be installed now, because it will take months to build it and transport it to Davis-Besse, he said.

Projects of that magnitude can cost as much as $20 million, according to the Nuclear Energy Institute in Washington. The utility has declined to say how much it expects to spend on that or on its immediate repairs.

The plant's 40-year license expires in 2017, but company officials notified the government several months ago that they intend to seek a 10-year extension.


Date: March 14th, 2002

Outage at Besse extended 2 months
Reactor head repair to cost up to $10M


OAK HARBOR - FirstEnergy Corp.ís Davis-Besse nuclear plant likely will be idle at least two months longer than originally thought because of extensive corrosion on top of the plantís reactor head that will cost $5 million to $10 million to repair.

The utility yesterday announced its revised timetable and gave an estimate for how much it expects to spend on the repairs. Thatís all subject to change, however, depending on what a team of about 50 experts from throughout the country learn as they probe deeper into the cause of the corrosion.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the government agency that regulates the nuclear industry, wonít let the plant resume operation until it is convinced it is safe, regardless of what timetable the utility hopes to meet, NRC spokesman Jan Strasma said.

"Our team got on the site and began its inspection yesterday [Tuesday]," he said.

Davis-Besse was shut down for normal refueling Feb. 16 for what was supposed to be a six-week outage.

But serious corrosion was discovered following a series of ultrasonic tests and follow-up inspections: In one area of the top of the reactor head, measuring about four inches wide and five inches across, boric acid from the reactor had dripped out and burned through six inches of carbon steel. The only thing left in that part of the reactor head was the bottom layer of stainless steel, which is less than a half-inch wide.

The acid escaped via a device called a control rod drive mechanism nozzle. There are 69 such nozzles implanted in a typical head covering a pressurized water reactor. At Davis-Besse, five of those nozzles have cracked and one near the center of the reactor head appears to be troublesome.

The utility announced Monday that the outage would continue through late April instead of late March. It now appears more likely the plant will remain shut down until at least late May or late June, assuming it can stick to its latest timetable and get the NRC to sign off on repairs, FirstEnergy spokesman Richard Wilkins said. The delay was necessitated largely because the large team of experts the utility assembled to look into the problem wants to explore a number of options, he said.

The utility acknowledged an outside possibility it might keep the plant shut down for several more months and wait for a replacement reactor head in lieu of repairing the one that has covered the reactor since the plant opened nearly 25 years ago.

FirstEnergy has put in an order for a new reactor head, but the dome-shaped device - 17 feet wide and made of steel - will take months to build. The utility still plans to install it in 2004, during its next anticipated refueling outage, unless repairs go beyond June and the manufacturer can reduce the time it takes to build the new one, Mr. Wilkins said.

Replacing the reactor head is a massive project some industry experts in Washington said costs $15 million to $20 million. FirstEnergy wonít say how much it expects to spend, nor will it verify the industry estimate, Mr. Wilkins said.

The costs will not be passed along to consumers. The utility has contingency money set aside for improvements, and is bound to existing rates in its deregulation agreement with the Ohio Public Utilities Commission. "The bottom line is, they [customers] arenít going to see rate increases because of this," Mr. Wilkins said.

Though the shutdown could extend to the beginning of summer - when electricity usage peaks - FirstEnergy expects to continue meeting the energy needs of its customers.

Bulk power will be bought from other companies if the utility canít generate enough from its other two nuclear plants - the Perry plant east of Cleveland and the Beaver Valley plant in western Pennsylvania - as well as the companyís eight coal-fired plants. Contracts with other companies give FirstEnergy legal assurance to get any additional power it needs to make up for a deficit, Mr. Wilkins said.

Davis-Besse generates 935 megawatts of electricity when running at full power - roughly the same amount used by the Toledo metropolitan area and half of the utilityís northwest Ohio service base, he said.

Members of nuclear watchdog groups said the leak is a clear sign that federal regulators are not properly monitoring the industry.

Critics of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission questioned the agencyís decision to allow the Davis-Besse plant to keep operating even though cracks had been found at another plant a year ago. "It underscores the many problems and risks in letting these older plants forge ahead when theyíre already showing problems," said Hugh Jackson, a policy analyst at Public Citizen in Washington.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


Date: March 14th, 2002

A scare at Davis-Besse

First-Energy's Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station near Oak Harbor is getting unwanted national attention after officials discovered serious corrosion problems in a critical safety device. But the sudden federal scrutiny is certainly warranted to reassure an apprehensive public.

The corrosion was caused by a leak of radioactive water that dripped unnoticed, apparently for years, onto the top of Davis-Besseís massive reactor vessel. The acidic water ate a hole all the way through a six-inch-thick carbon steel wall on the reactor vessel. It did not, however, breach a thinner protective stainless steel liner below.

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission officials said such corrosion has never been seen before, and convened a 50-person task force of experts to study the problem. The NRC also immediately alerted owners of the other 102 operational nuclear reactors to be on the lookout for a similar problem.

The NRCís actions certainly were justified.

The reactor vessel, a sealed vault 17 feet in diameter, is one of the first lines of defense in preventing release of radioactive material to the surrounding environment in the event of a serious accident. It is located under yet-another protective layer, the thick reinforced concrete dome that is one of Davis-Besseís exterior signatures.

Thankfully, the problem was detected in time, while the reactor was shut down for maintenance. There was no release of radioactivity and no harm to the public or plant workers.

Even if an emergency had arisen while Davis-Besse was in operation, the plant could have been shut down safely, FirstEnergy officials stated.

Nobody knows whether the corrosion was an isolated problem limited to Davis-Besse, or a generic problem that affects other nuclear plants. NRC should resolve that question quickly, for these are critical times for the nuclear power industry.

President Bushís new energy plan envisions a renaissance of nuclear power, which produces electricity with abundant supplies of domestic uranium fuel. Public opinion also showed signs of improving, since nuclear fuel is abundant and does not release air pollutants that contribute to global warming.

Public confidence, however, remains a major barrier to increased use of nuclear power.

NRC should give particular emphasis to the implications, if any, for relicensing aging nuclear power plants. Many nuclear stations, including Davis-Besse, are moving toward the end of the 40-year life span for which they were designed.

Like other owners, FirstEnergy plans to ask the NRC for permission to continue operating for an additional 10 years. The NRCís studies indicated that plants generally can continue operating safely.

The public needs reassurance, however, that hidden corrosion - and other problems unforeseen by the NRC - are not lurking in nuclear powerís future.


Date: March 19th, 2002

More damage found on Davis-Besse reactor


OAK HARBOR - More damage has been found on top of FirstEnergy Corp.ís Davis-Besse nuclear plant reactor.

Boric acid from the reactor is now believed to have escaped through two points of the dome-shaped, 17-foot-wide steel lid that covers the vessel, Richard Wilkins, FirstEnergy spokesman, said last night. In each case, the acid has gotten through cracks in long steel tubes known as control rod drive mechanism nozzles.

The nozzles, welded into the reactor head, are primary safety devices because they help operators control what goes on inside the reactor.

The latest inspection revealed the same type of evidence that led to last weekís initial discovery of massive corrosion: Salt-like deposits of boric acid on top of the reactor head next to a cracked nozzle, Mr. Wilkins said.

Officials have described the corrosion found around one nozzle last week as the worst of its kind on a U.S. nuclear reactor head.

Boric acid burned through all six inches of carbon steel on top of the vessel head, creating a cavity about four inches wide and five inches across. It was stopped by only a half-inch of stainless steel, which is impervious to that type of acid.

The extent of the damage of the latest discovery wonít be known for about two weeks, in part because the nozzle in question is hard to remove. Much of the work will be done by robotic equipment, Mr. Wilkins said.

Jan Strasma, spokesman for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commissionís Midwest regional office in Lisle, Ill., was not available for comment last night.

The plant has been shut down since Feb. 16, when it was taken off line for refueling. The utility brought in about 50 experts from across the country to discuss what repairs should be made after the initial corrosion was found.

The government agency sent in its own team of inspectors, and notified all other nuclear plants to be on the lookout for similar problems. FirstEnergy announced last week that the plant could remain idle until the end of June, possibly three months longer than originally planned. It was not immediately known if the discovery of additional corrosion will cause a further delay, Mr. Wilkins said.


Date: March 20th, 2002


San Onofre operators asked to examine reactor vessels
Staff Writer

SAN ONOFRE ---- Federal regulators announced Tuesday they have asked all operators of nuclear reactors such as the two at San Onofre for new information about the strength of their reactor vessel heads.
The heads are where control rods, instrumentation nozzles and vents penetrate the solid steel of the vessels to reach the nuclear fuel inside. Welds around those penetrations have been found to leak water at some nuclear plants.
A leak discovered this month at the Davis-Besse plant at Oak Harbor, Ohio had allowed a large amount of boric acid to accumulate on the reactor head. The boric acid ate a 6-inch-deep hole in the pressurized steel container and nearly penetrated the head. A second, smaller hole in the top of the same reactor was reported Tuesday.
Power plant operators routinely add boric acid to the water that flows through reactors because the chemical helps control the nuclear reaction. A form of the element boron, boric acid absorbs neutrons the same way a lead shield does. Any water that escapes through a leak quickly evaporates leaving behind the boric acid and any other minerals carried in it.
"Boric acid has long been found on reactor vessel head for different reasons," said Linda Smith, an engineer at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's regional headquarters in Arlington, Texas.
"What's different here ... is the corrosion rate," she said. "Almost all the carbon steel was gone. That's not been seen before."
Boric acid deposits had never caused any significant corrosion before, Smith said. This time the boric acid had eaten almost all the way through the thick layer of carbon steel to the thin internal layer of stainless steel, which is impervious to the acid. Without the backing of the carbon steel, she added, the reactor's internal pressure had begun to stretch the stainless steel liner outward at the point of the corrosion.
Federal regulators are studying the corrosion at Davis-Besse, discovered during routine maintenance work, to learn more about what caused it.
A sudden break in the pressurized reactor vessel could allow large amounts of contaminated water and steam to escape from the vessel, although U.S. nuclear plants are built with concrete and steel domes designed to contain any such leaks and prevent contamination from reaching the outside environment.
San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station operators examine their vessel heads for leaks and corrosion during the refueling and maintenance work done about every two years for each of the reactors.
"In the past we have found very small residual deposits (of boric acid)," said plant spokesman Ray Golden, adding that no significant corrosion has been found at San Onofre.
Each of San Onofre's two operating reactors has 102 different penetrations of the reactor vessel head, he said. Ninety-one of those penetrations are for control rods, 10 are for instruments, and one is a vent.
San Onofre's reactor vessel heads are due for their most detailed inspection ever during their next refuelings, which are scheduled to start in May for Unit 2 and January for Unit 3. The plants began production in 1983 and '84.
The insulation that covers a portion of the head will be removed and replaced, Golden said. While the insulation is off, inspectors will be able to see portions of the head and nozzles that were inaccessible before.
Federal regulators sent their request for more information to all operators of pressurized water reactors, in which the water that circulates through the reactor is not allowed to turn to steam.
The United States has 102 operating commercial nuclear reactors, of which 69 are pressurized water reactors. The others are boiling water reactors, in which the water that cools the reactor turns to steam.
Contact staff writer Phil Diehl at (760) 901-4087 or




Onagawa's third nuclear reactor goes onstream

SENDAI (Kyodo) The third nuclear reactor at Tohoku Electric Power Co.'s Onagawa power station in Miyagi Prefecture went into commercial operation Wednesday, adding 825,000 kw of power to the Tohoku Electric grid.
Tohoku Electric officials said the boiling-water reactor, which has been under test-operation since last April, was switched to commercial operation under authority from the Nuclear and Industry Safety Agency.
With a third reactor on line, the Onagawa nuclear power station, which straddles the towns of Onagawa and Oshika in northeastern Miyagi Prefecture, has a total output capacity of 2.174 million kw, raising the share of nuclear power at Tohoku Electric from 8.9 percent to 13.5 percent.
The commercial operation of the No. 3 Onagawa reactor, the 52nd operating reactor in Japan, came 4 1/2 years after the last newly built reactor -- the No. 4 at Kyushu Electric Power Co.'s Genkai nuclear plant in Saga Prefecture -- went on line.
There are only three other reactors being constructed in Japan -- at Higashidori, Aomori Prefecture; Hamaoka, Shizuoka Prefecture; and Shiga, Ishikawa Prefecture.
The government has said Japan needs another 10 to 13 reactors by 2010 under the nation's long-term electrical power plan, but nuclear industry experts suggest the goal is unlikely to be met.
Analysts say the nation's power industry faces two major hurdles in building more nuclear plants -- objection by local residents in close proximity to the sites and slumping demand for electricity.
Six pending nuclear plant construction projects nationwide have stalled due to local opposition and other reasons.
Tohoku Electric said it expects a fall in electricity demand in the current business year, blaming the slump on the economic downturn as well as energy-saving initiatives by consumers.
The utility plans to give priority to building nuclear plants, saying they emit less carbon dioxide than thermal plants.
But Keiichi Makuta, president of Tohoku Electric, admits that even nuclear plant construction could be put on the back burner if power demand remains so sluggish.

The Japan Times: Jan. 31, 2002
(C) All rights reserved


Probe into reactor leak branches out

NAGOYA (Kyodo) Too much heat during welding, poor water quality and inferior materials are being examined as possible causes of a radioactive water leak at a nuclear reactor in Hamaoka, Shizuoka Prefecture, Chubu Electric Power Co. said Tuesday.
The Nagoya-based utility said the mistakes may have caused a welded part at the bottom of a pressure vessel in the 540,000-kw plant's No. 1 reactor to crack, leading to a leak in early July that averaged 80 liters of radioactive water each day.
The leak was not discovered until November.
The company reported the findings Tuesday to the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, which is a branch of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
Chubu Electric said it will send samples from the welded part to a facility linked to Toshiba Corp. for further investigation.
The welded part and others surrounding it will be replaced, the officials said. The weld links one of the reactor's 89 control rod driving units to the bottom of a pressure vessel.
Officials said the task will likely be difficult, since it has never been done before in Japan.
Fumio Kawaguchi, president of Chubu Electric Power, visited the town of Hamaoka on Tuesday afternoon and apologized to Mayor Yoshiaki Honma for the accident.
"I once again want to apologize for causing great worries to town residents and others," Kawaguchi said.
Radioactive steam was discovered leaking from a pressure-injection system at the Hamaoka plant's No. 1 reactor on Nov. 7.
The Japan Times: Dec. 26, 2001
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High pressure burst nuclear pipe
Inspectors suspect hydrogen combustion behind rupture

A steam pipe at Chubu Electric Power Co.'s Hamaoka nuclear plant in Shizuoka Prefecture ruptured instantly under enormous pressure last month, causing a radioactive steam leak, the plant's operator and the government's nuclear body said Thursday.
The utility firm and the Nuclear Safety and Industrial Agency, which have been looking into the cause of the Nov. 7 accident, said a "ductile fraction" caused the rupture, as characteristic dimples were detected in a cross section of the carbon steel pipe.
A ductile fraction -- in which the pipe is stretched to breaking point -- has never occurred before in Japanese nuclear plants, according to the company.
Masatoshi Sakaguchi, deputy head of the Hamaoka plant, said the phenomenon was "never expected."
Chubu officials said they suspect the pressure was due to explosive hydrogen combustion inside the pipe.
The pipe may also have ruptured as a result of shock caused by the flow of water within, they said.
The utility released the results of its analysis of the cross section, which is 15 cm in diameter 1.1 cm thick.
The officials said a microscopic examination was conducted on 17 pipe fragments at a facility affiliated with Toshiba Corp. and the Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute.
It did not show signs of metal fatigue or corrosion, they added.
Hydrogen could have been generated in the pipe as radiation split water molecules in the reactor, the agency said. Agency officials also said it is difficult to pinpoint the cause of the rupture due to the lack of direct evidence.
Steam containing a small amount of radioactive material leaked from a pressure injection system at the plant's 540,000-kw No. 1 reactor on Nov. 7.
Three days later, radioactive water was found to be leaking inside the reactor at the rate of about 60 milliliters per hour.

The Japan Times: Dec. 7, 2001
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Reactor leak traced to rupture in weld

NAGOYA (Kyodo) The leak in November of radioactive water at the Hamaoka Nuclear Power Station in Shizuoka Prefecture came from a 2-cm rupture in a welded part, according to the plant operator, Chubu Electric Power Co.
The Nagoya-based power company found the rupture in a tube connecting one of the 89 control-rod driving units to the bottom of the vessel, a Chubu Electric Power spokesman said.
It was the first time water had leaked from that part of a nuclear plant in Japan, nuclear experts said.
In a test, air bubbles were detected from both the lower right and left sides of the tube, leading experts to believe the cracks had allowed radioactive water to leak from the pressure vessel in the 540,000-kw No. 1 reactor, the spokesman said.
The 4-meter control-rod drivers were attached to the 14-cm-thick vessel by the tubes in 1972. The drivers, connecting tubes and inside of the vessel are made of alloy, including nickel.
The company will study the part to see whether workers used excessive heat when welding it to the vessel bottom, or failed to weld the parts properly.
Chubu Electric Power said on Nov. 10 that small amounts of radioactive water had leaked inside the reactor in the Hamaoka plant, following a leakage of radioactive steam three days earlier. The water leaked at a rate of about 60 ml per hour.

The Japan Times: Nov. 28, 2001
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Leak may have begun in July
Hamaoka reactor only spotted problem last week

NAGOYA (Kyodo) Operation data at Chubu Electric Power Co.'s Hamaoka nuclear power station in Shizuoka Prefecture indicate that a water leak from its No. 1 boiling-water reactor could have gone unnoticed for months, the power firm said Thursday.
Chubu Electric said it will remove all fuel from the 54,000-kw reactor to investigate the cause of the leak, in an unusual step that may keep the reactor off-line for some time.
The fuel will be removed after a pressure vessel is opened today to pinpoint the location of the leak, the Nagoya-based utility firm said, noting that it is a "grave situation."
According to the firm, water could have started leaking from the No. 1 reactor in July or August.
The government plans to question officials at the plant to determine how the utility could have failed to detect the water leak for such a long period.
An increase in the amount of water was observed from July through September in a local cooler, which is used to store water coming out of the pressure vessel, according to the utility.
But there were no changes in radiation levels, and Chubu Electric concluded the increase was a phenomenon peculiar to summer and did not represent an anomaly. It did not look into the possibility of water leakage while the reactor was operating.
The reactor was manually shut down Nov. 7 after a steam leak was detected. Chubu Electric initially said the water leak began after the reactor was shut down.
A water leak had earlier taken place at the same reactor in September 1988.
The government's Nuclear Safety Commission is scheduled to carry out an on-the-spot inspection of the accident site at the reactor today.
The Hamaoka Nuclear Power Station has four boiling-water reactors that generate about 3,617,000 kw. Chubu Electric on Wednesday shut down the No. 2 reactor, which has a similar piping structure as the No. 1 reactor, to carry out an emergency inspection.
The third reactor is currently undergoing a regular inspection and the fourth is running, according to the firm.
According to officials at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, fuel from pressure vessels is removed once every three to four years as part of regular checks. The procedure extends the typical 40- to 50-day inspection period by around 30 days.
It is unclear how soon the Hamaoka plant can resume operations, they added.
The steam leak occurred following a rupture in a pipe in the emergency cooling system. While looking into that, investigators found water leaking around a control-rod driving unit below the reactor.
The Japan Times: Nov. 16, 2001
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Reactor leaking radioactive water
Nuclear leak is second at Hamaoka plant in three days

SHIZUOKA (Kyodo) A leak of water contaminated with radioactivity has been discovered at a nuclear reactor in Hamaoka, Shizuoka Prefecture, Chubu Electric Power Co. announced Saturday.
The leak was discovered in the No. 1 reactor of the Hamaoka nuclear power plant around 3 p.m. Friday, and was reported to the Shizuoka Prefectural Government and other neighboring local governments around 11:30 p.m., the firm said.
The problem is in the same nuclear reactor that experienced a rupture in a carbon steel pipe on Wednesday. The crack in the pipe resulted in the release of steam, containing some radioactive material, from a pressure-injection system in the No. 1 reactor.
Chubu Electric Power said the two incidents are not related.
The water leak discovered Friday occurred within a containment facility surrounding the reactor and there is no danger of radiation leaking outside the nuclear plant, the company said.
The source of the leak was around a unit that manages one of 89 control rods.
As a result of this latest discovery, the company plans to conduct a range of emergency checks, especially around the lower part of the control rod system.
According to the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, a division of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the leak was in the order of a single drop of water every few seconds.
The level of radioactivity in the leaked water is 323 becquerels per cubic centimeter and some 60 milliliters of liquid are escaping each hour, according to the company.
The leak is the second problem of its kind in the No. 1 reactor since September 1988.
The Japan Times: Nov. 11, 2001
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Ruptured pipe blamed for 'anomaly'

SHIZUOKA (Kyodo) Enormous pressure may have suddenly cracked a carbon steel pipe at a nuclear reactor in Hamaoka, Shizuoka Prefecture, resulting in a leakage of steam and some radioactive material in a pressure-injection system, the government said Thursday.
The leak occurred Wednesday during testing of a startup system for a high-pressure core injection system at the No. 1 reactor unit in Chubu Electric Power Co.'s Hamaoka nuclear power plant, the Nagoya-based utility said.
The HPCI system is designed to cool the reactor core in the event of an emergency.
It is the first time such a pipe has cracked, according to the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, adding it intends to order all similar pipes be inspected at plants across Japan if necessary.
The agency has dispatched four inspectors to the plant to investigate the cause of the incident.
The carbon steel pipe, which is 1 cm thick and 15 cm in diameter, carries 290-degree steam under 70 atmospheres of pressure, according to the agency. The pipe ruptured at one of its elbows, it said.
The company checks the HPCI system every month and conducts annual overall inspections to look for leaks but had found no problems, it said.
The agency said the accident was provisionally designated Level 1, or "anomaly," on the International Nuclear Event Scale and was a deviation from operational safety limits.
Level 1 is the second category on a scale of 8 that begins at zero. It is more serious than a Level Zero "deviation," which is of no safety significance, and less serious than a Level 2 "incident" that involves a significant spread of contamination or worker overexposure.
Other Level 1 accidents in Japan include a 1995 sodium leak at a prototype fast-breeder nuclear reactor in Fukui Prefecture and a massive coolant water leakage in 1999 at another Fukui reactor.
In the 1995 accident, 2 to 3 tons of liquid sodium compounds used as a coolant leaked from the Monju reactor in Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture, forcing the plant to shut down.
In the July 1999 event, an estimated 89 tons of radioactive coolant water leaked from the No. 2 reactor at Japan Atomic Power Co.'s Tsuruga plant. An 8-cm crack was found in a pipe in a plant containment building.
Japan's worst nuclear accident, at a uranium processing plant in Tokaimura, Ibaraki Prefecture, in September 1999, was designated Level 4, which is classified as an "accident without significant off-site risk."
On Sept. 30, 1999, a self-sustaining nuclear fission chain reaction occurred at the plant 120 km northeast of Tokyo, killing two people and exposing more than 600 others to radiation.
In the latest mishap, Chubu Electric estimated the level of radioactive material leaked to be 400 becquerels per cubic cm.
It added it had completely shut down the reactor by early Thursday.
The HPCI system stopped operating during a test run at around 5 p.m. Wednesday after smoke alarms in the building went off, it said.
No fire was reported at the site, and the alarms may have been activated by the steam, local government officials said.
The plant operator immediately began a manual shutdown of the reactor to pinpoint the cause of the trouble. The No. 1 unit houses a boiling-water reactor capable of generating up to 540,000 kw of electricity.
The company is cleaning up radioactive materials remaining in the residual heat-removal system. When the removal is completed, plant employees will investigate the cause of the rupture, the utility said.
The company reported the accident to the national government, the Shizuoka Prefectural Government and five towns surrounding the plant.
There is no risk of the radioactive materials leaking out of the plant and no employees were confirmed to have been exposed to the radioactive material, it added.
The Japan Times: Nov. 9, 2001
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