Monday, August 27, 2007

Guard at Nuke Plant Found Sleeping on the Job

They have enough problems at Indian Point, and this sure as hell doesn't help their image.

Armed Guard Was Asleep at NY Nuke Plant
An armed guard was found asleep at the gate of an inner security ring around the Indian Point nuclear power plants, officials said Monday.

The inspector who found the snoozing guard spent two minutes trying to rouse him before the guard "stood up and opened his eyes," said Neil Sheehan, spokesman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The guard was alone on the second of three security rings around the two plants in Buchanan, Sheehan said. He said other security measures at the gate remained in operation during the guard's Sunday afternoon nap and tapes showed there was no breach, "but that doesn't make it any less serious."

Jim Steets, spokesman for Indian Point owner Entergy Nuclear, said the other measures included a palm-print reader. To get through the gate, a person's palm and his badge would be scanned, and if they matched, the gate would click open, he said, allowing access to "general plant areas."

Another security ring would then have to be breached to get to critical areas including the reactor buildings and the spent-fuel pool, Sheehan said.

He said the guard, a five-year veteran whose name was not made public, was found sleeping by an NRC inspector performing a "backshift" inspection - focused on night and weekend operations. Steets said the guard carried a sidearm.

The inspector saw that the guard "appeared to be inattentive, with his eyes closed," Sheehan said. The inspector then "tried several times to get his attention from eight to 10 feet away, and after about two minutes the guard stood up and opened his eyes," Sheehan said.
Homer Simpson was unavailable for comment.

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