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

Steven Dapra sjd at swcp.com
Wed Aug 27 20:41:48 CDT 2008

Aug. 28

Yes, this definitely sounds irregular.

What does the NRC's web site have to say about this case?

Steven Dapra

At 08:30 PM 8/27/08 -0400, BLHamrick at aol.com wrote:
>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)
>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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