As reported by the Kalamazoo Gazette and Michigan Radio, three security guard force whistleblowers spoke out an a Nuclear Regulatory Commission public meeting last night, alleging that they were terminated from Entergy's Palisades atomic reactor because they raised safety and security concerns.
The attorney representing two of the three whistle blowers, Billie Pirner Garde of Washington, D.C., phoned into the meeting as well.
Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps, as well as members of Michigan Safe Energy Future, and other concerned local residents, also spoke out at the meeting.
Kevin discussed a long list of security failures at Palisades, including a scandal involving the chief of security exposed by Esquire magazine in 2007, as well as incidents in 2002: a security guard suffering a nervous breakdown on the job, while armed, after having been forced to work 72 hours per week for a solid year; and three suspicious cars penetrating deep into Palisades, but driving off without ever being stopped, because Palisades security guard force phoned the wrong local law enforcement agency, resulting in a 45 minute delay in response.
Remarkably, nearly 12 years after POGO first warned about security weaknesses at Entergy's Indian Point nuclear power plant near New York City, Entergy's security failures continue today, as at Palisades.
At a recent meeting with NRC Chairman Allison Macfarlane, Kevin objected to NRC Region 3 Office of Public Affairs spokesman Viktoria Mytling expressing agency support for a state bill in Michigan granting immunity to nuclear power plant security guards for lethal shootings. The sponsor of the bill has been quoted warning environmentalists that they should think twice before protesting at nuclear plants.
The coalition also expressed concern to Chairman Macfarlane about the recipe for disaster of Palisades problem-plagued security guard force now being granted immunity for fatal shootings, with a state park immediately to the north, and a resort community immediately to the south. In addition, the State of Michigan has established a waterway trail on Lake Michigan, encouraging kayakers to travel past Palisades. Although there are buoys in the Lake demarcating Palisades' property, there is no signage warning boaters that they are entering a zone where use of lethal force is authorized.