NRC Staff Says Calvert Cliffs Plant Is Safe

A report issued yesterday by Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff members concludes that there are no safety concerns that would preclude renewal of the operating licenses for the Calvert Cliffs nuclear power plant.

But renewal of the license has been put on hold after a ruling last week by a federal appeals court. The court found that the NRC unfairly ignored opponents in its rush to approve the renewal for the plant, which generates about half of Baltimore Gas and Electric Co.'s electricity.

"If we hadn't won that victory, this report would have put them very close to renewal," said Stephen Kohn, attorney for the National Whistleblowers Center, which brought the suit against the NRC.

The commission is still considering what steps to take in response to the court ruling, an NRC spokeswoman said.

Yesterday's report said that there is "reasonable assurance" that maintenance and inspections can mitigate the effects of aging on the plant, which opened in 1975.

Teen Killed by Truck While Riding Bike

When darkness fell yesterday and 15-year-old Rabi Smith hadn't come back home, his parents took separate cars and searched their Silver Spring neighborhood.

A short time later, Montgomery County police said, both parents came upon numerous stopped police cars and their son's silver mountain bicycle on Thayer Avenue. The bike was crushed beneath a 10-wheel heating fuel tank truck.

"They identified the bicycle and then went down to Children's Hospital to hear the bad news," said police spokesman Derek Baliles. Rabi was dead.

The accident happened about 5:45 p.m. Police said Rabi, who lived in the 700 block of Woodside Parkway, was riding his bike west on Fenton Street on the truck's passenger side. The truck turned right onto Thayer and hit the bicycle, knocking Rabi to the street, Baliles said.

Baliles said it was unclear whether the driver, Roland Chester Downey, 49, of Oxon Hill, had seen the youth. Baliles said the accident was under investigation. A neighbor described Rabi as "a friendly kid. He loved flying. He loved skateboarding. He loved riding his bike."

Dispute Leads to PTSA

Resignations Four members, including a co-president, of the Parent Teacher Student Association at Kennedy High School in Montgomery County resigned Tuesday in an escalating dispute over the principal that has largely pitted black parents against white parents.

Harry Bagdasian, PTSA co-president, resigned as a vote was being taken to censure him for refusing to sign a letter condemning an article critical of Principal Sheila Dobbins that appeared last month in New Republic magazine.

Black parents said the article was inaccurate and an unfair attack on Dobbins, who is black. A move to have Bagdasian removed from office had failed when he resigned.

Bagdasian, who is white, said he resigned because he wanted to speak freely about the problems at the school. The three other parents, who are also white, resigned in support of Bagdasian.

Kennedy has one of the highest failure rates of any high school in the county and falling test scores.

Parents have sparred over a special leadership program offered at the school, with many white parents arguing for its expansion and some black parents complaining that too few minorities have been recruited for the program.


School Named for Civil Rights Pioneer

The Alexandria School Board voted unanimously Tuesday night to name a new elementary school in the western part of the city for lawyer and civil rights pioneer Samuel W. Tucker.

Tucker, an Alexandria resident who died in 1990, defended a group of black men who sat in Alexandria's public library in 1938 to protest the building's whites-only policy.

City officials said it might have been the first sit-in in civil rights history. Tucker also defended the rights of African Americans in several cases elsewhere in Virginia.

Tucker Elementary, scheduled to open next fall, is the first new school in the city in 30 years.

Nottingham New Transport Commissioner

Gov. James S. Gilmore III (R) said yesterday that he has appointed Charles D. "Chip" Nottingham as state transportation commissioner. Nottingham had been serving as interim commissioner since Gilmore forced David R. Gehr from the job in August.

Gilmore and his aides said the resignation was the result of what they call a pattern not only of environmental mishaps but also of management problems involving the department. Democrats said Gehr was a political scapegoat for problems in Virginia's transportation system. The commissioner oversees 55,000 miles of highway, 10,000 employees and an annual budget of $2.6 billion.


Women's Organizations to Receive Awards

Seven community-based organizations will receive Leadership Awards tonight from the Washington Area Women's Foundation honoring innovative, cost-effective programs that help women and girls become self-sufficient.

Award recipients are Community Bridges: Jump Start Girls! Adelante Ninas!, a free after-school program for low-income girls in East Silver Spring and Takoma Park; Crossing the River, a treatment program for adult female substance abusers at the Center for Mental Health in Anacostia; Crossway Community, an organization providing child care, job training and other family support services to residents in Kensington and Wheaton; Generations Closet, a program that provides office-appropriate clothing and counseling for women moving from welfare to work; Training Futures, a job training program in Springfield; the Young Women's Project, a Washington program that helps girls move successfully from school to work or college; and Women Empowered Against Violence, which provides legal services and counseling to victims of domestic violence in Washington.

Each organization will receive a $3,500 grant and future planning and fund-raising assistance from the foundation.


"We're going to have to broaden our scope of what involvement means. And we're going to have to start with the first big hurdle language because that's a real barrier. If you don't understand each other, it's hard to communicate. Then frustration builds up and that carries over into the homes and that carries over into student performance."

-- Montgomery County School Superintendent Jerry D. Weast, who announced the use of a new service to provide translations in 140 languages to assist parents and get them more involved in their children's schooling. --Page B1