December 20, 2003
Mr. Sandy Buchanan
216.861.5200; 216.694.6904 fax; 1.888.777.7135 toll-free
Re: Possible Unlawful Cover-up by Engineering and Nuclear Professions of Engineering-Related Disaster at Davis-Besse
Dear Mr. Buchanan,
I am a deeply nuclear safety engineer, licensed profession engineer (P.E.) and multiple time "prevailing" whistleblower in the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) as detailed at my website http://www.carsonversusdoe.com.
At end of it, my ordeal boils to the following: I consider myself a member of the engineering profession, employed by DOE; DOE considers me an employee it calls an engineer; my profession has insufficient cohesiveness to its code of ethics to adequately protect public/workplace health and safety in nuclear facilities as Davis-Besse.
There can be little question that Davis-Besse is an engineering-related disaster, from a financial standpoint, if no other. If a flood or other act of nature called over 500 million in property damages, even if there were no loss of life, it would be called a "disaster."
If Davis-Besse were publicly characterized as an engineering-related disaster, then the engineering profession would stop (tacitly) denying that there was a significant breakdown in its code of ethics at Davis-Besse, that needs to be corrected before public/workplace health and safety at Davis-Besse can be adequately assured.
In my professional opinion, the Ohio State Board for Professional Engineers and Professional Surveyors http://www.ohiopeps.org/ should be actively investigating numerous complaints against engineers and engineering firms associated with Davis-Besse, including First Energy. In my professional opinion, there should have been a number of "whistleblowing" engineers at Davis-Besse, over the years, bringing their concerns about workplace/public safety to the attention of FirstEnergy, the NRC, and the Ohio State Board of Professional Engineers and Professional Surveyors.
My opinion is based on the Ohio Board's "Code of Ethics for Engineers and Surveyors," chapter 4733-35 of the Ohio Administrative Code http://www.ohiopeps.org/pdf/general/4733oac.pdf.
Specifically, I point you to pages 27-30 of Chapter 43733. On page 27, section 4733-35-03(A) describes the positive duty of engineers to "blow the whistle" where unsafe conditions at facilities as Davis-Besse are not promptly corrected. On page 30, section 4733-35-07(C), describes the "strict honor code" implementation basis of the code of ethics for engineers in Ohio and why, if the engineers at Davis-Besse and FirstEnergy were ethical, there should be a number of complaints already filed against other engineers/engineering firms there.
Of course, none of this is happening. No engineers have been blowing any whistles at Davis-Besse (or the NRC responsible for oversight of safety at Davis-Besse) and no engineers have been filing complaints with the Ohio State Board. And the engineering profession, specifically the Ohio State Board of Engineering, "looks the other way" at this significant breakdown of its code of ethics (its position is "no complaint, no investigation"). This is while many engineers, both FirstEnergy and NRC, represent to the public that Davis-Besse is ready to restart, contrary to sections 4733-35-03(C) and 4733-35-04(B) (page 28), given the big breakdown in engineering ethics at Davis-Besse, First Energy, NRC, and the Ohio Board of Engineering.
My suggestion is that your organizations press the Ohio Board of Engineering to do its statutory job - to regulate the engineering profession in Ohio to protect the life and health of Ohioans, first by forcing FirstEnergy, NRC, and the Ohio Board to admit that Davis-Besse is an engineering-related disaster which evidences significant breakdowns in the code of ethics for engineers, a breakdown which has yet to be acknowledged, let alone corrected. Perhaps you should consider filing a petition for writ of mandamus in an Ohio Court, to force the Ohio State Board to do its duty to regulate the profession to protect Ohioans.
Please contact me if you or others at Ohio Citizen Action wish to discuss my concerns and suggestions further.
Joseph P. Carson, P.E.
copy: Dave Lochbaum, UCS