Renewal for Davis-Besse & Drive-By Energy Audits

  • Matt Grocoff says icicles are pretty, but they're also a bad sign that your roof could be suffering water damage, drip by drip. (Photo by Matt Grocoff)

A 34-year-old nuclear power plant wants to live longer…

This is the Environment Report. I’m Rebecca Williams.

A coalition of environmental groups wants to stop a nuclear power plant in Ohio from renewing its license. Jennifer Guerra has the details:

The operating license for the Davis Besse Nuclear Power Plant in Ohio runs out in 2017. By that point, the plant will be 40 years old. And now First Energy – the company that owns the plant – wants to renew the license for another twenty years.

That’s the last thing Michael Keegan wants. He’s with the environmental group, Don’t Waste Michigan. Keegan and others went before a panel to challenge the license renewal:

“We have solar, wind and in combination, we have replacement power available now and which can be put in place prior to 2017.”

The panel now has to decide whether the environmental groups can move forward with their petition to intervene.

To date, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has yet to deny a license renewal, though several applications are still pending.

In Michigan, the license for the Fermi II Nuclear Plant is good through 2025.

For the Environment Report, I’m Jennifer Guerra.


This is the Environment Report.

In the winter… there’s a quick and easy way to find out where your house is leaking energy… just by looking at your roof a day or two after a good snow.’s Matt Grocoff invited me along on what he calls a drive-by energy audit:

More about ice dams from

Tips for making your home more energy efficient from Michigan Saves

More about drive-by energy audits


(car starting up)

MG: “Hello Rebecca!”

RW: “So what are we doing today?”

MG: “I’m going to drive you around, and you can see from the top of your roof after a snow like this, when you’re getting the snow melt, you can see how much people’s houses are insulated in the neighborhood. It’s about 15 degrees outside, we just had a snowfall, and yet so many of these roofs have almost no snow on some of the roofs. And the only reason that is, is because they’re being heated up from underneath. Which means the house is losing heat. So you know what I should do? I should go and show you my house first, because we’ve got all of the snow on the roof and we’ll show you.”

(Driving sound)

RW: “Are we getting out?”

MG: “Yup.”

MG: “On our roof over here, 100% of the roof is covered with snow. That’s because it’s really well insulated underneath, so the roof surface is cold and keeping the snow frozen. The warm part should be inside keeping us warm and not the roof.

RW: “So let’s go find some bad examples.”

MG: “Yeah, there’s a ton of bad examples.”

(car starting up again)

MG: “And I know icicles are really, really romantic, but that is the one thing you should look for. If you’ve got icicles hanging off the roof, that is a bad thing. Like here, this house right here, they’ve got like three inches of ice sitting in the gutters and icicles coming off. And what’s going to happen eventually is ice is going to get up underneath those roof shingles and start melting and causing water damage underneath very, very slowly. So over time, that is going to cause some severe damage to the roof if they don’t take care of that problem.”

MG: “Look, one after another, there’s icicles, icicles, icicles.”

MG: “Now this guy owns an insulation company, so he better have good snow on his roof.”

RW: “You know an awful lot about your neighbors!” (laughs)

MG: “Yes, he does have good insulation on his roof.”

RW: “So I should probably admit that my house looks a lot like some of these houses we’re seeing that are the bad examples. So, what should I do to fix it?”

MG: “You can go to and you can find a qualified contractor that can come in and do an energy analysis of your house. They’re going to come in with all the fancy equipment, let you know exactly what you need and where you can get the biggest bang for the buck.”

RW: “All right, thank you, Matt!”

MG: “And thank you, Rebecca.”

“That’s Matt Grocoff with and I’m Rebecca Williams with The Environment Report.”