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 Patricksonâ€™s claim. While the NRC found that the evidence did not substantiate Patricksonâ€™s claims of discrimination for reporting safety problems, the DOL found exactly the opposite. (Entergy appealed the DOLâ€™s decision.)
Burnell couldnâ€™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 NRCâ€™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 â€“ as is typical â€“ 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.