The Michigan Daily - Sunday, July 22, 1984 - Page 3
Local Midland staff faces layoffs
By LILY ENG
Seventeen years ago when Con-
sumers Power announced its ambitious
plans for a twin-reactor nuclear plant in
Midland, they said it would cost $267
million and provide energy and jobs for
But last week, after spending $3.6
billion and completing 85 percent of the
plant, Consumers Power voted to aban-
don the project. There has always been
debate about whether Michigan needed
the extra energy, but there was no
doubt about the need for the more than
6,000 jobs which were eliminated by last
ABOUT 750 of those jobs belong to
workers at the Ann Arbor offices of
Bechtel Power Division, the chief con-
tractor for the Midland plant, and many
of those workers wonder where they
will be working next.
According to Mario Cotruvo, public
relations manager for Bechtel, 750 non-
manual employees - engineers,
technicians, and secretaries - at the
Ann Arbor office will either be laid off
or reassigned to other Bechtel projects
"We are not just sitting still and let-
ting our people go," Cotruvo said. The
company's two priorities for these
people are to find reassignments for as
many as possible and reduce the
trauma of being laid off for the rest, he
said, adding that he does not yet know
how many can be reassigned.
WHEN THE Zimmer nuclear plant in
Ohio closed this year, Bechtel was able
to find jobs in its own company for only
200 of the 600 employees who had been
working there. Two weeks ago 800
Bechtel craftworkers at Midland were
laid off as the shut down process began.
Bechtel has been involved in 30 nuclear
plant projects around the country.
Suzanne Gibbs, a supervisor whose
job ended with the abandonment of the
Midland project, called the move a
"bad mistake for the state" because
Michigan will need more energy in the
Angry about the plant closing, Gibbs
said she hopes to stay here but is con-
fident she will find a job somewhere.
"I've moved before for a job so that's
no problem," she said.
"I SEE people walking around here
with sad faces," said Mary Piccola, a
Bechtel data processor.
"The closing of Midland has had an
effect on the whole office," added em-
ployee Robert Fromm. Both Fromm
and Piccolla have yet to learn whether
they will be among the laid off.
According to William Castanier, a
spokesman for the state Department of
Labor, local unemployment offices will
provide increased services as the layof-
fs are announced. An emergency
unemployment office recently opened
in Midland, where 4,500 to 4,800 people
are expected to use its services, which
will include counselin, marketing in-
formation, and job referral.
The Midland project was abandoned
after Consumers and a coalition of its
top industrial customers could not
reach an agreement on a financial
program for completion of the plant.
Midland may be biggest
power plant failure ever
LANSING (UPI) - Is last week's
cancellation of the Midland nuclear
plant the biggest such abandonment to
hit the nation's nuclear industry?
The answer to that question, like so
many others that have surrounded this
complex drama, is not quite clear.
THE MATTER is complicated by
how comparitive sizes of nuclear
projects are figured. In the Midland
case, that is complicated further by the
fact that the plant was never finished.
Consumers Power Co. says it has
spent about $3.6 billion in th 17 years it
was constructing the project. That
figure goes up to nearly $4 billion when
the cost of nuclear fuel is added in.
This week, Consumers is expected to
ask the Public Service Commission
See MIDLAND, Page 4
surrenders to police
BEIRUT, Lebanon (UPI) - A man
wielding a phony Molotov cocktail
tried to hijack a jetliner carrying 147
people from Abu; Dhabi to Beirut
yesterday but the pilot flew on to
Lebanon where all aboard were
released unharmed and the suspect
About 30 minutes after Middle East
Airlines Flight 419 took off on a midday
flight, a Lebanese man upset over Abu
Dhabi's refusal to grant him a visa
demanded that the pilot return, said
Osman Osman, director of Lebanon's
Internal Security Forces.
"A MAN pushed through to the cock-
pit holding a bottle wrapped up in
paper, which looked like a Molotov
cocktail," passenger Hussein Ali Ab-
boun said. "Everyone was very
But MEA pilot Samir Hasbini said he
only had enough fuel to fly to Beirut,
and the hijacker - whose bottle con-
tained only orange juice - agreed to let
the Boeing 727 land in Beirut, police
The plane landed at Beirut Inter-
national Airport on schedule at 2 p.m.
local time. Its occupants were released
in two batches after two hours of
negotiations with the would-be
hijacker, who then surrendered to
"WOMEN AND children were
crying," said a witness who saw the
passengers released. "Some were near
hysterics, hugging their relatives."
As anxious relatives greeted sobbing
passengers and crew members, repor-
ters and photographers were shoved
aside in a scuffle with Lebanese
In a particularly tense moment, a
Lebanese soldier grabbed NBC
cameraman Gary Fairman by the
neck, shoved him backward and then
cocked his Kalashnikov automatic rifle.
He later uncocked the weapon and
swaggered away, laughing with his
Christian Phalange-operated radio
identified the hijacker as Aatef Zein, 45,
a Lebanese native. Witnesses said he
was released "scot free," but security
officials later said he had been
questioned and detained at the airport.
The relatives of a young Lebanese boy released by the hijacker of a Middle
East Airlines plane celebrate after being reunited with him at Beirut
International Airport yesterday.
Miss America ponders resignation
From AP and UPI
MILLWOOD, N.Y. - Vanessa Williams, Miss America
1984, spent yesterday in seclusion at home with her parents,
two days before tomorrow's deadline to relinquish her crown
because she posed for nude photographs.
Acquaintances said Williams, 21, was led to believe the pic-
tures of her and another woman in sexually explicit poses
would be used as art and she would not be recognizable.
THE PICTORIAL layout is to apper in the September issue
The country's first black Miss America was in Little Rock,
Ark., making personal appearances when the Miss America
Pageant's executive committee voted unanimously Friday to
ask her to turn in her crown in 72 hours.
Dodging reporters, she hastily returned Friday evening to
the tiny New York City suburb of Millwood, where her paren-
ts' house still bears the plaque "Home of Miss America
THE WILLIAMS' telephone was busy yesterday and her
attorney did not return calls.
The first runner-up, Miss New Jersey, Suzette Charles,
would probably assume that title_ if Williams resigns.
Pageant officials refused to say what they would do if
Williams does not quit.
"I've gotten a number of Mailgrams and a number of
telephone calls, most of them supportive," said pageant
director Albert Marks.
"I did get two or three telephone calls from people who
said, 'What right have you to do this to a woman who was only
modeling?' My answer was it would be very nice for you to
reserve judgement until you have had a chance to see these
pictures for yourself. Then say if we made the wrong
... may assume title