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October 18, 2006

Hard to Find Answers

When I spoke to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission last week for the article TNS published Monday on the developments in the case of FitzPatrick nuclear plant and whistleblower Carl Patrickson, I asked spokesperon Scott Burnell why the NRC came to such a different conclusion than the Department of Labor in their investigation of Patrickson’s claim. While the NRC found that the evidence did not substantiate Patrickson’s claims of discrimination for reporting safety problems, the DOL found exactly the opposite. (Entergy appealed the DOL’s decision.)

Burnell couldn’t respond because he said he was unfamiliar with the NRC's findings, which he also said is not a public document. I asked him to review the document and summarize the reasons behind NRC’s conclusion and on Monday, after the article was published, this is what he sent:

Sorry for the delay. If you look at the NRC's May 16, 2006 letter to Entergy, the staff said, "as is our normal practice, we will monitor the DOL ARB [appeal] proceedings to determine whether or not revising this matter is warranted." This means the NRC has chosen to hold this case in abeyance – as is typical – pending the outcome of the Entergy appeal of the ALJ decision. Since we have not come to a final decision on the matter, the staff is not able to discuss the basis for the investigative conclusion.

The NRC has a pretty nice public records search engine called ADAMS, where I found some of the documents I used in my research. However, the letter referred to above is unfortunately not there. I asked Burnell to send a copy to me directly, but as of today, he has not responded.


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The NewStandard ceased publishing on April 27, 2007.