CBS: Nuclear workers “terrified to come forward” — Whistleblower won’t appear on TV fearing retaliation by NRC (VIDEO)

Published: July 20th, 2011 at 1:49 pm ET
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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
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33 comments

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33 comments to CBS: Nuclear workers “terrified to come forward” — Whistleblower won’t appear on TV fearing retaliation by NRC (VIDEO)

  • farawayfan farawayfan

    And just like in 1986, absolutely nothing will change.


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  • TraderGreg

    Her fears are well deserved. Whistleblowers in USA died recently, and there are no investigation into their deaths, showing that the goverment sleeps in the same bed with big business or crime syndicate.


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  • norbu norbu

    Just returned from Nebraska near ft C.past a large truck carrying a large steel container labeled “radioactive”. No one around to follow this truck for emergency purposes. Also trucking company was named “HITMAN TRUCKING COMPANY” WE Found this to be odd and shocking. Have great photos of this. 2 small yellow lights to warn people or not to alarm anyone?


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    • Nuclear waste. And look how they drive:

      HITMAN TRANSPORT SERVICES
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AwWYfRXSSzY

      (not sure if Hitman Transport Services and Hitman Trucking Co. are one and the same)

      This truck has EnergySolutions written on its side.

      http://www.energysolutions.com/our-company/what-we-do

      What We Do
      EnergySolutions is an international nuclear services company headquartered in Salt Lake City with operations across the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and other countries around the world. With over 5,000 world-class professionals, EnergySolutions is a global leader in the safe recycling, processing and disposal of nuclear material. We provide integrated services and solutions to the nuclear industry, the United States Government, the Government of the United Kingdom, along with various medical and research facilities.

      EnergySolutions offers a full range of services for the decommissioning and remediation of nuclear sites and facilities, management of spent nuclear fuel, the transportation of nuclear material and the environmental cleanup of nuclear legacy sites. We’re committed to reasserting America’s leadership in the global nuclear industry and helping the United States, the United Kingdom countries achieve energy security in a way that reduces carbon emissions and protects the environment.


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    • arclight arclight

      hahahaha lolol had to repost this here…it makes so much sense in a weird kind of way!…haha! :)
      Italians Search for Radioactive Waste Sunk by Mafia
      Friday Oct 23rd, 2009 5:06 PM

      “The exploration by the Mare Oceano is the latest stage of an ongoing scandal. Prosecutors suspect ‘ndrangheta may have played a role in the suspicious disappearance of ships. For years investigations were hampered by a lack of evidence and the fact the ships’ crews were never found. Then, five years ago, former ‘ndrangheta member Fonti admitted his involvement in dumping the waste in a statement to police. Fonti told investigators he knows of more than 30 vessals sunk by the mafia.”
      http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2009/10/23/18626502.php

      and I don’t like thorium so I will put this in
      “The Marco Polo, which sank in the Straits of Sicily between Calabria and Sicily, was carrying a cargo of containers, some of which were found in 1994 along the coast of Campania, the region to the north of Calabria. Scientists found increased levels of radioactive thorium 234 in environmental samples. Presumably the ship was carrying radioactive waste when it sank. The Koraline sank near Ustica, a small island, 53 kilometres north of Capo Gallo, Sicily. Its containers were highly contaminated with thorium.”
      http://ruscombegreen.blogspot.com/2010/01/guest-blog-radioactive-shipwrecks-in.html

      and for the bigger picture this links a must!! Just this one organisation moved 3000 tons of illegal waste a day!!! How much ended up in Haiti I wonder…the mafia never forgave cuba and as it downstream from Haiti, why not!! Or from the original Italian “perché non eseguire il dump dei rifiuti nucleari lì! hahaha!”
      food for thought maybe! peace


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    • arclight arclight

      l told ya I hate thorium
      Thorium nuclear reactors not effective, not a viable technology
      ‘Even if thorium technology does progress to the point where it might be commercially viable, it will face the same problems as conventional nuclear: it is not renewable or sustainable and cannot effectively connect to smart grids. The technology is not tried and tested, and none of the main players is interested. Thorium reactors are no more than a distraction.’

      There is a significant sticking point to the promotion of thorium as the ‘great green hope’ of clean energy production: it remains unproven on a commercial scale. While it has been around since the 1950s (and an experimental 10MW LFTR did run for five years during the 1960s at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the US, though using uranium and plutonium as fuel) it is still a next generation nuclear technology – theoretical.
      China did announce this year that it intended to develop a thorium MSR, but nuclear radiologist Peter Karamoskos, of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), says the world shouldn’t hold its breath.

      ‘Without exception, [thorium reactors] have never been commercially viable, nor do any of the intended new designs even remotely seem to be viable. Like all nuclear power production they rely on extensive taxpayer subsidies; the only difference is that
      http://nuclear-news.net/2011/07/21/thorium-nuclear-reactors-not-effective-not-a-viable-technology/


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  • Novamind

    All Whistleblowers are enrolled in the
    Whistleblowers Protection Program. It seems to work very well.


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  • NoNukes NoNukes

    http://www.nytimes.com/1995/02/12/nyregion/paying-the-price-for-blowing-the-whistle.html?src=pm

    Arnie Gundersen’s experience. My apologies if it was posted before, I just ran across it today.


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  • pg

    Oh yeah? Then close all of them down. See how they like that. The Judge in VT told the owners of the nuclear plant there “too bad” yesterday regarding deadlines. Plenty more where that came from. Oh and by the way, best way to combat “fear” is to go on the offensive. Setup a few .traps’. Hide some cameras, install motion sensors on your vehicles & property, wire your house, tap your own phones. Stop being little bo-peep sheep.


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  • americancommntr

    The US government ought to have a secret force dedicated, globally, just to hunting down and killing such mobsters, as well as the people who hire them. No due process.

    And they ought to break the legs of TVA officials who threaten whisteblowers, every time. No due process.

    Part of the reason the pirates off the coast of Yemen got into business, was reportedly the dumping of radioactive wastes ruining their fisheries and the corrupt, lipservice UN doing nothing about it.


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  • I grew up living in the land TVA brought power to. I had relatives in Tennessee who lost farmland to them when they announced more land buyouts. this meant they showed up and told you what your land was worth and told you how long you had before moving.
    The TVA is a scary force for the folks living there to deal with. Not only will you lose your job for complaining or speaking out when things go wrong, but they do retaliate in many other ways.
    TVA cops are unreal in how they deal with the locals. everyone living there is afraid to cross them. I have heard enough to know that the fear is real for whistle blowing.


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  • StillJill StillJill

    Fear, or no fear,….doing the right thing is it’s own reward. I know, I have been fired three times for whistle blowing in my
    chosen profession. I’ve had to loose houses, marriages,…turn in new cars because I couldn’t make the payments, etc,…those were great jobs too,….what would I do if I had it to do over again? Blow that whistle BAAAABY! :-)

    LOVED that comment about TRUTH lasting longer than the grave. I’d sure love to die FOR something!


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  • Jebus Jebus

    Protesters ask TVA to stop building nuclear reactors

    http://timesfreepress.com/news/2011/jul/21/plants-vs-zombies/

    With deep under-eye shadows and painted-on blood stains, zombies brought a nuclear protest to the TVA headquarters on Market Street on Wednesday.

    Holding signs that read “No new nukes” and “Bellefonte = Danger + Debt,” about 50 protesters ranging from young teens to grandparents crowded the sidewalk at the Tennessee Valley Authority building downtown to ask CEO Tom Kilgore and the TVA board to say no to more nuclear reactors in the Tennessee Valley.

    Now look at the “poll” right next to the article…


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  • markww markww

    The Truth Shall Set You Free Turn To Jesus and be free from the criminals that you are. guilty of murder,terror,treason and the unjust things you do to intimidate innocent honest people’s lives. Remember when growing up your family taught you virtue,honesty,the things that make great human beings and now you all deceive the world and people for criminal things you do. SEE THE LIGHT in dark times.


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  • odylan

    Bread and Butter, thanks for updating re 198 lost workers.
    I was just now looking at
    http://www.nuclear-free.com/eng/recipients.htm
    which is a prestigious anti-nuclear award given to people like Helen Caldicott and Charlie Sheen (perhaps enenews will get one :) ) and I couldn’t help noticing that the individual award had gone in the last few years to Corbin Harvey, Ed Grothus, Grace Thorpe, Dorothy Purley, Francis May, Lydia Popova, Solange Fernex . . . and others – check them out. You’ll find some dots.


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    • BreadAndButter BreadAndButter

      odylan, thanks, I’ll have a look at it directly!
      Talking of prices: The Goldman Environmental price 2010 was awarded to Ursual Sladek (former german housewife). After Chernobyl, the people in her small town decided to buy the grid from their nuke power supplier. It took them 10 years, then they founded their own green power company and deliver green energy today all over Germany. I’m a client as well… :-)
      http://goldmanprize.org/2011/europe


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    • arclight arclight

      thanks odylan! Suppose we should blow the anti nuke trumpet from time to time! So,
      nuclear free future award this year for these good people!
      Nadezhda Kutepova
      Natalia Manzurova
      Nadezhda Lvovna Kutepova, 40, who has lost a number of close family members to radiation-related diseases, founded the Planet of Hope in 1999. From its very beginnings, this self-help organization’s main purpose has been to inform those who live in the region about radiation doses and corresponding health dangers – and about their rights as Russian citizens. Planet Hope has entered into partnerships with international activist groups and environmental organizations, has created a victims parliament, and facilitates for people across the Urals access to specialist radiation knowledge. Despite intimidation from authorities, the group has conducted analyses of probes from the prohibited zone, as well as taken its protests for justice, openness, and human rights to Moscow’s Red Square.
      And this
      Nadezhda’s fellow campaigner, the radiologist Natalia Manzurova, 59, is one of the few ‘liquidators’ who survived a stint of duty in the radioactive region bordering Chernobyl. Natalia suffers from lymph node cancer; her neck carries the “Chernobyl necklace” – as veteran liquidators call it – a sign that half of her thyroid gland was removed. Manzurova told representatives from Women in Europe for a Common Future: “I don’t know how many years I have left ahead of me. But I want to tell the people about Chernobyl for the rest of my life! It is not my life and my life story, but the story of our entire land.”
      http://www.nuclear-free.com/eng/KutepovaManzurova.htm#lark

      Barbara Dickmann
      Angelica Fell
      Government and industry experts countered: such irregularities can have no impact on the incidence of leukemia among the children of the region. “Immune deficiencies” were singled out as the primary risk factor, even as the commission laid out its chromosome analyses and findings detailing radioactive contamination in plant fibers and house dust.

      The media accepted the immune deficiency story. It wouldn’t have mattered whether the greatest spike of childhood leukemia in all the world was raging along the Elbe – the theme didn’t break the interest barrier. Parents and children of the region were left alone with their angst, forebodings, and disquieting statistics.
      Or almost.
      Two journalists from German ZDF Television, Barbara Dickmann and Angelica Fell, began investigating the equivocal nature of the industry’s answer. Their film, Und keiner weiß warum (“And No One Knows Why”), prevented the cancer clusters surrounding Krümmel from being dismissed as unlucky coincidence – the explanation the atom lobby and some people in government were trying to peddle. Immediately, Dickman and Fell were mobbed by a whirlwind of defamatory attacks and slanders unlike anything investigative reporters have ever experienced in Germany.
      http://www.nuclear-free.com/eng/DickmannFell.htm#lark

      Hans Grassmann
      “Using simple mirror systems we can replace oil, coal and nuclear power with solar energy at a competitive price. To do this, we do not have to go to the desert, the system I propose works in Germany as well.
      The establishment could have developed such mirror systems thirty or fifty years ago; they didn’t do it, and they are now doing everything in their power to prevent others from developing them,” says Grassmann, and he adds, “It is possible to avoid the wars over oil, to end the production of nuclear waste and to stop global warming. There would be no extra cost. All we have to do is grant freedom of thought, not just in politics but in science as well. … Fanatics and extremists benefit from the money we pay for oil. We even finance their development of atom bombs. At the same time we kill the minds of our young scientists, who could show us the way out of this insanity. How stupid and immoral can we get?”
      http://www.nuclear-free.com/eng/Grassmann.htm#lark

      Heinz Stockinger
      An untiring campaigner and whistleblower, Heinz Stockinger alerted his fellow Austrians to the European Union’s EURATOM treaty, which obliges the nuclear-free country to subsidize the nuclear industry. He called for a boycott of Siemens, the German electronics giant which always manages to keeps a foot in the door of the nuclear industry and doesn’t hesitate to switch allegiance from French Areva to Russian Rosatom in order to stay in the nuclear power plant construction business.

      Temelin, the Czech nuclear power plant, is a major concern for Austrian activists. Stockinger was there when they blocked the Czech border; he did fundraising for an attempt to use the US Freedom of Information Act to get documents released concerning the alleged Temelin deals between the US and Czech governments, Westinghouse, the Prague-based energy provider CEZ and Ex-Im, the Export-Import Bank of the United States; and he assisted US attorney Ed Fagan to prepare to sue for damages.
      http://www.nuclear-free.com/eng/Stockinger.htm#lark
      Helen Caldicott
      “A Desperate Passion” – the title of Caldicott’s autobiography – turned Helen Caldicott into a leading figure of the Nuclear Freeze movement in the U.S. and in Europe. She inspired anti-nuclear campaigns by physicians in eight European countries; in 1980 they founded International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War. Five years later, IPPNW won the Nobel Peace Prize.

      Helen returned to Australia in 1987, making it her base of operations as she continues her energetic globetrotting. Helen is one of the world’s few antinuclear campaigners who addresses all aspects of the nuclear fuel chain: uranium mining, nuclear power, nuclear weapons and depleted uranium weapons with a special focus on the health dangers posed by ionising radiation. She doesn’t back down from power, often directly chiding politicians in her books, films, TV appearances and lectures. She tells us: “What I feel so strongly about – if you decide to do something you can do it. You can change the world and I did help change the world.”
      http://www.nuclear-free.com/eng/Caldicott.htm#lark


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  • odylan

    Francis Macy (not May) that should be.


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  • odylan

    I hope to find Gundersen and Busby on the next awards list :)


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  • odylan

    arclight, that’s interesting about the mirrors (Grassmann), I seem to remember something about a valley in Italy’s South Tirol whre the sun never shone so they erected a mirror or a system of mirrors on one of the hillsides and it worked – they got sun :) – but the problem we have, or more correctly the planet and all its creatures has, is as Gundersen said in one of his videos that the iaea and co. there is nobody who can think outside the box-

    Some more great names on the awards list: Manuel Pino, Henry Red Cloud … everyone should take a look. We’re in good company.


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  • MoominLove

    Did we forget Karen Silkwood?


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