Accused arsonist hired at US nuclear plant — Employed as safety specialist — Allowed ‘unescorted access’ around site

Published: March 21st, 2014 at 4:23 pm ET
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57 comments


The State, Mar. 20, 2014: The story of an accused arsonist’s employment at a South Carolina nuclear plant ended quietly when SCE&G learned more about the criminal charges and fired him. […] The Nuclear Regulatory Commission last week cited SCE&G for not completely checking the worker’s background and allowing him “unescorted access” to the nuclear plant […] NRC officials also banned the employee, a one-time volunteer firefighter from Mississippi, from working at a nuclear plant for the next five years. […] In the SCE&G case, a company contractor hired the firefighter in the fall of 2010, some six months after he was accused in Mississippi of intentionally setting fire to open land. The worker, identified in NRC and court documents as Michael P. Cooley, was at the time facing arson charges in Mississippi. […] the NRC said he failed to disclose an accurate disposition of the case and provided a false document about the case. V.C. Summer officials did not properly check that out before he was employed, the NRC said. […] SCE&G’s program of allowing access to its plant failed to provide assurance that workers are trustworthy and do not present “the potential to commit radiological sabotage,” the NRC said an order released Monday. […] At the Summer plant, Cooley worked as an environmental health and safety specialist […]

Tom Clements, Sierra Club: “The biggest risk is someone who might have nefarious goals who already is inside the plant and employed there. They can either do something harmful on their own or facilitate action from the outside. Anytime you have a security problem on the inside, in my opinion, it is much more serious.”

View the NRC’s order here

Published: March 21st, 2014 at 4:23 pm ET
By

57 comments

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57 comments to Accused arsonist hired at US nuclear plant — Employed as safety specialist — Allowed ‘unescorted access’ around site

  • fireguyjeff fireguyjeff

    You just can't make this shit up!

    Seems like it would take EFFORT to be so incompetent.

    The paradox is people getting turned down for jobs based on
    no more than not so good of a credit rating.

  • And I have to take my shoes off and have someone molest me (I refuse to walk through the DNA scattering machines) just to get onto an airplane!

    • That is because NPPs are the safe harbors in a world constantly endangered by evil airplanes of terrorist attitude !

    • Alaskan Ice Alaskan Ice

      If you had a private jet you could use the side of the airport where there was no security screening (or lines).

    • I am fully anti nuke, but take this with a grain of salt.

      On my last flight, my Radiation Alert Inspector Geiger Counter was registering 15 CPS, that is 900 CPM.

      Normal 2011 background is around 25 CPM. Just flying gives you a serious dose of radiation these days. Much more so than the goon squad pervert picture machines.

      • Ontological Ontological

        An airport these days with cancer is a very scary thing! Unbelievable how stupid people are!
        The atmosphere has 'collapsed' to a certain degree due to a lack of solar activity. This allows space radiation to penetrate more effectively to lower altitudes. This was a big problem BEFORE FUKU FU, so no BS plz. I am NOT downplaying anything FYI.

  • Quote from "Dark Knight" (2008):

    ALFRED
    Some men just want to watch the world burn.

  • Alaskan Ice Alaskan Ice

    How could they be sure he wouldn't drop thermite into the spent fuel pool and disable the water pumps? They couldn't.

    Really, though they should improve screening AND security.

    The money line for the nuclear industry from Tom Clements of the Sierra Club and the reporter for 'The State' newspaper: "The biggest risk is someone who might have nefarious goals who already is inside the plant and employed there. They can either do something harmful on their own or facilitate action from the outside. Anytime you have a security problem on the inside, in my opinion, it is much more serious.”

    It's the money line not just because it's partly false: a few well armed guys with guns could walk over the security at any plant they chose, not just one designated plant after having spent years burrowing their way into employment.

    But mostly, it's the money line because it's cheap, much cheaper for the industry and government to tighten screening than to hire or re-assign real uniformed officers or military personnel.

    Back-doored by the Sierra Club (and/or the reporter).

    But that's how the game is played over and over again by the powers that be. The example here: get the Sierra Club to backstop a limited solution that the nuclear industry fully supports (because it's a cheap public relations stunt) and the people on the left will have nowhere to turn.

    And nuclear power plants will remain virtually unguarded against any organized saboteurs. . .

    • Alaskan Ice Alaskan Ice

      You see the same type of hijacked thinking whenever supposedly anti-nuclear activists agree with the nuclear industry that Fukushima cannot be remediated and nothing can be done to retrieve and contain the coriums.

      It's a recurring "money line" that turns a trillion dollars worth of design, construction, and excavation into hand-wringing and a fifty cent handkerchief.

  • [off topic] @natives: what is the semantic difference between "melted" and "molten" ?

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    melted..past tense of having melted.
    molten…the state the melted material is in.

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    Do I win anything?
    I want to win something ..please please???

  • Capt. Nemo Capt. Nemo

    The Human Factor again. I think this is inevitable when technology is substituted for human intelligence, experience and wisdom. We will see more of his in the future as brain scans are used to determine who is trustworthy and who is not. And background checks that fail. Etc. The pursuit of perfection never succeeds. Consider how rare is the perfect crime.

    Even with a marvelously designed nuclear reactor and system, it only takes one employee having a seizure–or given the prevalence of psychiatric medications (and some are repackaged to cure itching or the like when the patents run out) an important employee in a critical task suddenly goes manic!! This would not be detected of course because you can not fire someone who has some itching skin. The Human Factor is more powerful than the Human capacity for control.

    • Remember what the NSA did after the Snowden puff ?
      They fired 90% of the system administrators and replaced them by specialized computer programs.
      Our planet is run by software, I'm afraid. Right now we're seeing Agenda V21.0 and NWO V2.0 (V1.0 crashed in 1945).

      • PurpleRain PurpleRain

        That's gotta be bullshit. I'm sure the same system administrators are doing the same jobs…and have access to the same info…all they would do is fire some of the middle guys who they want to screw out of getting any kind of retirement benefits anyway…probably hired a bunch more new contractors for less money to do the same jobs. Same old same old.

  • WIPP is not authorized to have high level waste, but they pulled a fast one on us. They called a "test program within the Pilot Program", after all the WIPP name itself showed them how effective a Pilot Program can be. 500,000 barrels are already in the "Pilot Program". If it was a "real program" they would have to get other approvals. See how that works? They have been trained that their lies work….so now under the test program they have already stashed 20,000 barrels of high level waste in the WIPP. Some of that high level waste is so hot, that a single quart of the liquid could contaminate 1 Billion Chickens. Not joking. The backup data and calculations are here.

    http://nukeprofessional.blogspot.com/2014/03/wipp-nuclear-disaster-in-2014-in-new.html

    • I sure hope you US folks will at least be able to sue some of the responsible individuals. As I mentioned on several occasions, they were "unable" (which is in fact unwillig) to identify any person, party, company or authority to blame here in Germany with respect to that Gorleben/Asse mess.

  • Making the handling of waste "be a problem" will help with the strategy of shutting them all down.

    These folks can use some education, drop in and help

    http://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/nuclear-waste-from-state-lab-may-go-to-texas/article_fe500ebd-8550-5428-9788-82766eb744a7.html

  • GQR2

    WIPP : We're going for the Darwin Award Olympics we're special.
    Badges we don't need no stinkin' badges!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nsdZKCh6RsU

  • Capt. Nemo Capt. Nemo

    What better than an accused arsonist for safety inspector of a nuclear plant . . . the people who own the plant are no doubt the greater crooks. Arson charges in Mississippi could be almost anything.

    "SCE&G employees are dedicated to providing you reliable electric and natural gas services each and every day. You can count on us to deliver energy to you in the safest, most reliable way possible. You’ve told us that having dependable service is important and we’re working to meet those needs today and into the future."

    Right here on their site they have employed a liar: "SCE&G employees are dedicated to providing you reliable electric and natural gas services each and every day. You can count on us to deliver energy to you in the safest, most reliable way possible".

    • In German we have the noun "Realsatire" which translates into something like "reality satire". It is used to describe events or situations when no satirical exxageration or additional wordplay is needed to get a perfectly humoristic or tragical (in satirical sense) result. In other words: it refers to situations where real life already provides a sufficient amount of irony.

  • Capt. Nemo Capt. Nemo

    What better than an accused arsonist for safety inspector of a nuclear plant . . . the people who own the plant are no doubt the greater crooks. Arson charges in Mississippi could be almost anything.

    "SCE&G employees are dedicated to providing you reliable electric and natural gas services each and every day. You can count on us to deliver energy to you in the safest, most reliable way possible. You’ve told us that having dependable service is important and we’re working to meet those needs today and into the future."

    Right here on their site they have employed a liar: "the safest, most reliable way possible". Really? What till you get a good reactor melt down.

  • jackassrig

    In trucking industry, the wisdom around is you have to turn a tank truck over before you can become the head of satety. Looks like it extends to nuc. Holy Moly. Someone stop this merry-go-round and I'll get off.

  • skizexq skizexq

    we had a local boy who was on the FD and started fires to be called up…
    it is a universal problem the unique/alonenessn of humans, but then again the groupthink that
    'Greed is Good' hammered home everynight on the boob-tube…well

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YgYP-bX3XLU

    • earthsmith earthsmith

      It is hammered in academics,sports, as well as by parents of the home. It is the new culture. "look at me" "me first" "I am so hip""I want that" "that's mine" "you can't have that" "that's going to cost you" "I said that first" "I am the one who did that first" "you are very bad" "who is going to stop me" "whatever" ……….I could go on forever. The pshyco-sociological indoctrination begins at a very early age and yes t.v. plays a big role especially infants plopped in front of it. They know this. These so called kids shows purporting education are so devious. This is not true for all but indeed for the vast majority. Then it continues as they grow through the parents because their child/children are better. Again not true for all but for most middle to upper middle class sports oriented communities and this is a large chunk of America. It was on full display this week. We had a first round of the NCAA in our city thurs. and Fri. Throngs of young people. I asked they did not care about Fuku just chants of we are #1. The parents got annoyed. We also had a robotics convention. Nobody was talking about Fuku…I annoyed them as well. It was all about drones,surveillance and gov. money. Somehow we must educate the precious young children…..they do not fear the truth and are more than willing to reveal it

  • m a x l i

    Question:
    What happens when an arsonist quits his job at a gas station and hires at a nuclear power plant?

    Answer:
    Safety is improved in both places.

  • PurpleRain PurpleRain

    meanwhile the television is filled with talking heads and hot air over a stupid plane. What the hell for? No offense to the few …this nuke danger puts MILLIONS at risk and they say NOTHING! That pisses me off!~

  • tsfw tsfw

    Anyone who wants to work in Nuclear is going to be have a moral screw loose. This guy was an accused (not convicted- important distinction) arsonist, but do you really have much faith in ANYONE who chooses a nuclear path of employment? I err on the side of caution and view them all as either psychopaths or brainwashed and therefore people I would never consider to be 'safe'.

  • Nick

    Radiation addles the brain.

  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    Thousands of people around the world work at nuclear plants. Who are they?

    Chernobyl, human error.

    Three Mile Island, human error.

    Fukushima, human error (poor decisions with plant design, plant location, backup cooling, waste storage, etc, etc.

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