Beyond Nuclear Backgrounder re: fire & security risks at Palisades in light of WWMT's “Security workers placed on leave at [Entergy's Palisades] nuclear plant”
July 9, 2016

Entergy Nuclear's Palisades atomic reactor in Covert, MI, located on the Lake Michigan shoreline four miles south of South HavenKalamazoo, MI’s (35 miles downwind of Palisades; see a photo of the reactor, left) WWMT TV-3 on July 8, 2016’s evening news broadcast aired a story entitled “Security workers placed on leave at [Entergy’s Palisades] nuclear plant.” The video, and transcript, is posted online at:

Regarding the revelation that Entergy Nuclear had placed security guards on paid administrative leave for “fire inspection anomalies,” and Entergy’s claim that not only security -- but also fire protection -- duties are being adequately covered by “strong interim actions,” WWMT’s ITEAM investigative reporter, Cody Combs, reported:

But over at Beyond Nuclear, a group critical of the Palisades plant, Kevin Kamps is skeptical, especially with so few details from Palisades.

“So the questions that are raised are, did security guards pretend to make their rounds and not really do it, and just fill out the paperwork like they had?” he asked.

The 45-year-old plant is no stranger to security investigations and violations. Kamps says both Palisades and the NRC need to be more forthcoming.

“There have been some major incidents at Palisades, that the NRC, to be frank, was complicit in helping to cover up,” Kamps said.

In response to the news story, on July 9th Beyond Nuclear prepared a backgrounder, to provide significant additional context, information, and documentation. See the PDF version, as well as the Word version (with live URL links to additional documentation).

Then, on July 14th, Beyond Nuclear prepared a supplementary backgrounder, entitled BURNING DOWN THE HOUSE ON NUCLEAR REGULATIONS! Palisades: Lessons NOT Learned from Entergy’s Prior Fire Safety and Security Violations. It includes a section entitled REVELATIONS FROM SIMILAR PRIOR VIOLATIONS AT ENTERGY’S WATERFORD NUCLEAR POWER PLANT IN LOUISIANA COULD SHED LIGHT ON CURRENT VIOLATIONS AT PALISADES. See the PDF version, as well as the Word version (with live URL links to additional documentation).

Beyond Nuclear issued a press release about the supplemental backgrounder, and significant updates learned in recent days, such as: 22 Palisades security guards have been relieved of their duties; the remainder of the security guard force are being pressured to sign waivers, and then to work 75 hour work-weeks, in violation of NRC's standard fatigue rule limits; and the FBI has joined NRC's Office of Investigations on site to look into the violations.

Update on July 9, 2016 by Registered Commenteradmin

WHTC's Gary Stevens has reported, in an article entitled "Beyond Nuclear Wants Answers in Latest Palisades Probe":

The most outspoken opponent of the Palisades nuclear power plant wants answers.

Following a report by WWMT-TV on Friday of an investigation over several security officers at the Covert facility being placed on administrative leave, the group Beyond Nuclear on Saturday sent a “backgrounder” to media outlets that provides “significant additional context, information and documentation” about “current and long-standing security and fire risks at Palisades.”

Lead spokesman Kevin Kamps added in a statement that, “Beyond Nuclear also plans to file a Freedom of Information Act request at the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission as soon as possible regarding this matter, in order to make the NRC investigations into 'fire inspection anomalies' … at Palisades accessible and transparent to the concerned public.”

Update on July 12, 2016 by Registered Commenteradmin

NBC 5 Investigates has reported on this story, quoting Beyond Nuclear:

Nuclear watchdog group Beyond Nuclear said the developments raise deep concerns about security and fire risks at the aging atomic reactor.

“If an undetected fire were to spread to safety-significant systems, structures, or components, a reactor meltdown or high-level radioactive waste storage pool fire could result,” said Kevin Kamps of Beyond Nuclear.

Kamps also raises questions about why security guards are burdened with the added responsibility of making fire watch rounds in the first place.
Update on July 15, 2016 by Registered Commenteradmin

Diane Turco, a watchdog on Entergy's problem-plagued Pilgrim atomic reactor in Plymouth, MA, alerted Beyond Nuclear to yet another instance of the nationwide rash of Entergy Nuclear fire watch tour violations. She forwarded an April 12, 2016 news article by Christine Legere in the Cap Cod Times, entitled "No Penalty for Pilgrim for 2 Years of Falsified Fire Watches: Critics say federal agency continues to overlook safety problems."

A security guard at Pilgrim skipped his fire watch tours over a two year period, covering his tracks with falsified paperwork.

Yet again, NRC decided to not even fine Entergy over the violations. (Turco also alerted Beyond Nuclear to New Orleans Times-Picayune coverage, by Littice Bacon-Blood, re: NRC's decision to not fine or penalize Entergy for the similar willful violations at Waterford. Ironically enough, both NRC decisions to let Entergy off the hook -- at Pilgrim and Waterford -- took place within the same week.)

The Cape Cod Times article reports:

David Lochbaum, director of the Nuclear Safety Project for the Union of Concerned Scientists, criticized the NRC’s decision.

“I remember having an overdue library book and having to pay a nickel,” he said. “Entergy didn’t even have to pay that much.”

Local Pilgrim watchdog Diane Turco said the decision showed why the plant should be closed immediately. “The appalling lack of safety culture at Entergy coupled with the NRC's 'roll over and play dead' response to ongoing violations of their own regulations is a nuclear disaster in the making,” Turco wrote in an email. “There is no public trust in the NRC."
Regarding a warning by NRC to Entergy that any future such violations could result in a fine, Lochbaum added: 
Lochbaum said he would be surprised if that happened. “There have been a lot of fire watch falsifications; it seems to be a recurring problem,” he said of the nation’s fleet of nuclear plants. “The NRC doesn’t seem to care. I can’t recall anybody who they fined over it.” (emphasis added)
Update on July 15, 2016 by Registered Commenteradmin
Article originally appeared on Beyond Nuclear (
See website for complete article licensing information.