Managers, Scientists

Differ on Power CutManagers of a federal nuclear plant in South Carolina said a recent power-level reduction at the reactor was routine, but a published report Monday says the action came after scientists discovered that safety equations had been wrong for decades.

The Washington Post reported that power levels at the Savannah River weapons material plant reactor were reduced following a stormy meeting during which private scientists warned that the reactor was operating beyond the demonstrated capacity of its emergency cooling system.

However, managers of Savannah River called the 10 percent reduction in power a routine action reflecting a change in the way reactor temperatures are measured. The reduction dropped the operating level from 1,100 megawatts thermal to 960 megawatts.

Michigan Utility Buys

4 Hydroelectric Dams

HOUGHTON, Mich. - Upper Peninsula Power Co. said it purchased four hydroelectric dams from Cliffs Electric Service Co., a subsidiary of the Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Co., for $3.9 million.

The four units have a total capacity of 15 megawatts and are all located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. About 16,000 acres of land are included in the purchase.

This purchase was made to help make up for generating capacity lost with the Dec. 31 sale of UPPCO's minority ownership in the Presque Isle Generating Station to Wisconsin Electric Power Co.

Duff & Phelps Lowers

Boston Edison Rating

CHICAGO - Duff & Phelps Inc. lowered its ratings on the debt and stock of Boston Edison Co., citing continuing problems with the utility's idle Pilgrim nuclear plant.

Boston Edsion's first mortgage bonds were lowered to a D&P-6 (middle single A) from a D&P-4 (low double A), preferred stock to a D&P-7 (low single A) from a D&P-5 (high single A), preference stock to a D&P-8 (high triple B)

from a D&P-6, and commercial paper to a Duff 1 from a Duff 1+.

This downgrade reflects the added regulatory risk stemming from the extended Pilgrim unit outage since April 1986, a D&P spokesman explained. The timing for reopening the Pilgrim unit remains uncertain, and potential disallowances are large.

At issue is the approval of an evacuation plan necessary for the restart of the Pilgrim unit, he continued.