Whistleblowers “terrified” at TVA nuke plants?, CBS News, July 20, 2011:
A crying Janice Overall told CBS News her husband, Curtis, “paid the ultimate price.” [...] an award-winning employee who helped run Watts Bar’s unique ice containment system, designed to prevent a nuclear meltdown.
But in 1995, after Overall discovered what he believed were problems with the system on the eve of Watts Bar’s long-delayed startup, he got harassed with threatening notes, and even a fake bomb discovered in the back of his pickup. Battling a bad heart and deep depression, Overall died in 2007 at the age of 56, without any proof of who had harassed him. [...]
“People are terrified to come forward at TVA,” [attorney Lynne Bernabei] asserts. “It’s just like back in 1985. Nothing has changed. They’re terrified to come forward because they know that they will not get employment at TVA.” [...]
Says Bernabei, “The whole regulatory system is based on self-reporting by the utility employees. If those employees are scared of coming forward, you’re not going to get the safety problems reported, and you’re gonna have a plant that is not safe.”
CBS News spoke with one whistleblower, Gail Richards, who said she was too afraid to appear on-camera for “fear of further risk of retaliation for me and my family by the TVA and NRC.”
CBS also discussed a 1986 report documenting what investigators called “widespread intimidation, harassment and discrimination by TVA management,” along with “widespread mistrust.”
Published: July 20th, 2011 at 1:49 pm ET