[ RadSafe ] Re: Jury: Worker covered up damage at Ohio nuke plant

BLHamrick at aol.com BLHamrick at aol.com
Wed Aug 27 19:30:01 CDT 2008

I found that to be a very strange story as well.  It's ridiculous to  think 
there was one rogue employee that knew about the corrosion, and held the  
information back.  If one knew, many did.  If one found it, there is  no reason at 
all not to report it to management, and many, many reasons to  report it.
His attorney's are basically saying he DID speak out, and that is the  reason 
he was set up as a scapegoat.  If he was the lone voice in the  woods, how is 
it he ended up the only one accused of not saying something?
That doesn't add up.
In a message dated 8/27/2008 7:12:53 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time,  
cjb01 at health.state.ny.us writes:

As a  follow-up to my previous post:

What motive could this guy have had to  cover up the corrosion problem and
to lie about it to the NRC? Many people  in the plant must have known about
the corrosion once it was  discovered.  Wouldn't he and others have informed
management  immediately? Yet, "None of the company's senior leaders was
charged in the  investigation."  That means that management told NRC the
truth all  along while their employee was lying about it?

The more I think about  it the less sense this makes.  I'm sure there is a
reasonable  explanation. Anybody know what it is?
Aug 26, 3:06 PM (ET)                  

By JOHN SEEWER               
TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) - Jurors on Tuesday convicted a former  nuclear plant     
engineer of hiding information from  government regulators about the worst  
corrosion ever found at a U.S.  reactor.                     
Prosecutors said  Andrew Siemaszko and two other workers lied in 2001 so    
the  Davis-Besse plant along Lake Erie could delay a shutdown for a safety   
inspection. Months later, inspectors found an acid leak that nearly  ate    
through the reactor's 6-inch-thick steel cap.      
Siemaszko covered up the damage to the plant's reactor vessel  head and     
lied to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the  federal jury said.          
It's not clear how  close the plant, midway between Toledo and Cleveland,   
was to an  accident.                                                          

Siemaszko  faces up to five years in prison and $250,000 in fines. He was    
convicted on three of five counts, including concealing material   
information from the government. The jury  cleared him on two counts of     
making false  statements.                      
Following the discovery of the leak, the  NRC beefed up inspections and     
training and began  requiring detailed records of its discussions with      
plant  operators.                      
Siemaszko's  attorneys said the plant's owner set him up as a scapegoat      
because he spoke out about safety concerns. They will consider an  appeal.  
"I'm disappointed," Siemaszko said. When asked what message  the verdict    
sends, he said: "Do not go against a big  company."                     
Siemaszko was responsible for making sure the reactor  vessel head was      
cleaned and inspected. He said he was  wrongly fired and that he had told   
supervisors the reactor  needed to be cleaned. He said managers rejected    
his  requests.                       
Defense attorney Billie Pirner Garde said nuclear workers will be less   
likely to raise concerns about safety. "This makes the nuclear  industry    
less safe," she said.           
The plant's operator, Akron-based FirstEnergy Corp. (FE), said  Siemaszko   
deserved to be fired and should have caught the  damage.                     
FirstEnergy paid a record $28 million in fines a year ago while  avoiding   
federal charges. It also spent $600 million making  repairs and buying      
replacement power while the plant was  closed from early 2002 until 2004.   
None of the company's senior  leaders was charged in the investigation.     
Another former  worker at the Davis-Besse plant was sentenced to three       
years' probation in May for concealing information from the government.  A  
private contractor was  acquitted.                                          

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