An engineer at a Georgia nuclear plant was terminated and escorted from the plant after he filed a complaint about plant safety with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The engineer filed the complaint after a valve at the plant became stuck, affecting the plant’s ability to control the nuclear reaction.
The valve had become stuck several months prior, and workers believed dirt was the culprit. No one opened the valve to determine the real problem until after a second incident. The inspection revealed significant corrosion. The engineer blamed the lapse on high employee turnover and inexperienced workers on the job. He passed this information to the NRC in a memo known as a “condition report.” Federal law provides whistle-blower protection to all employees who file condition reports.
The engineer had worked at the plant for six years and always received glowing reviews. But his report to the NRC produced a chain reaction of filed complaints, bad reviews and termination. Now he is suing his former employer. It is unclear whether the company will settle—or the situation will blow up.