A security lieutenant at the Indian Point nuclear power complex has filed a $1.5 billion lawsuit in state Supreme Court, claiming the facility is unsecure, and that staffers regularly watch DVDs, play video games and sleep on the job. The suit also claims the plant routinely fails anti-terrorism drills. Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.
Clifton Travis Jr. still works at Indian Point, but tells Associated Press he's been "marginalized" over his security concerns. In a lawsuit filed Tuesday, Travis alleges that supervisors encouraged employees to falsify records related to how much security training they received, and in security drills conducted at Indian Point, "terrorists" won control of the facillity about half the time. Travis says security staff bring laptops to work to watch DVDs and play video games to stay awake during their shifts. He says staff members remove batteries from the lights on their weapons so they can power personal electronic devices.
The lawsuit seeks $20 million dollars in compensatory damages and $1.5 billion in punitive damages. It also names several Entergy subsidiaries and three of Travis’ supervisors, and calls for Indian Point to be closed until Entergy can prove it is secure and that security personnel are adequately trained.
Scarsdale attorney Amy Bellantoni represents Travis: she calls the a 10-figure lawsuit "appropriate", considering that Entergy is believed to make $4 million a day.“The only way to make an impact ... is to hit them in their pocket,” Bellantoni said.
Riverkeeper's Philip Musegass says environmentalists got wind of the lawsuit a few days ago - and have serious concerns about the issues it raises.
Entergy spokesman Jerry Nappi defended Indian Point's safety and security. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Spokesman Neil Sheehan says the agency is constrained as far as commenting on security-related information.
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) planned to start hearings in October 2012 on the numerous contentions against the renewal of Indian Point's licenses. Judges will review issues raised by Indian Point critics, including New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who wants the power plant shut down.
The two Indian Point reactors provide about a quarter of the electricity used in New York City and Westchester County.