What’s in store for Davis Besse as federal investigation wraps up

Published: Jun. 26, 2023 at 7:21 PM EDT
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OAK HARBOR, Ohio (WTVG) - A federal safety investigation at the Davis-Besse nuclear power plant should wrap up in the next month or two. That comes after a very important visit to the plant Monday as some look to what could be next on the property.

With new ownership on the horizon, lots of changes could be coming to the Davis-Besse nuclear power plant in Oak Harbor, which might include the addition of hydrogen.

Currently, there is a federal investigation underway by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. NRC learned in October that a fire protection piping failure, which delivers water to the plant for firefighting, was most likely the result of excessive stress on it from ground settling.

“It was good to see up close the ground settling area. Our special investigation team, that process is ongoing. We should be issuing a report sometime in the next 30 to 45 days probably on our conclusions on that,” said Nuclear Regulatory Commission chairman Chris Hanson.

Hanson toured the facility on June 26 with Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur. Davis-Besse is currently owned by Energy Harbor, which acquired it from First Energy. There’s a plan in place to sell it to Texas based Vistra Corporation.

“My first priority, I’d put it in federal hands after what it’s been through right now, the law does not permit that I thought we could do conservator ship. There is no way to achieve that but I want it,” said Kaptur.

The future of this place might not only rest on nuclear. Along with University of Toledo researchers and private businesses, this area has applied to the Department of Energy to become a hub for creating hydrogen as an alternative fuel supply and work is already underway on it.

“It’s very realistic because we actually made the first cut on hydrogen. The Department of Energy could have spit us out in the beginning and they didn’t,” said Kaptur.

Hydrogen could eventually be used to power things like trucks and buses. Plus manufacturing facilities in our region could use it for their operation. We could know in the fall whether the hub at Davis-Besse is selected.

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