Nuclear power whistleblowers. On February 2, 1976, (Gregory C. Minor, Richard B. Hubbard, and Dale G. Bridenbaugh (known as the GE Three) "blew the whistle" on safety problems at nuclear power plants, and their action has been called "an exemplary instance of whistleblowing". The three engineers gained the attention of journalists and their disclosures about the threats of nuclear power had a significant impact. They timed their statements to coincide with their resignations from responsible positions in General Electric's nuclear energy division, and later established themselves as consultants on the nuclear power industry for state governments, federal agencies, and overseas governments. The consulting firm they formed, MHB Technical Associates, was technical advisor for the movie, The China Syndrome. The three engineers participated in Congressional hearings which their disclosures precipitated.
Revealed Israel's clandestine nuclear program to the British press. He spent seventeen and a half years in prison as a result, the first eleven of these in solitary confinement. After his release, sanctions were placed on him: among others, he was not allowed to leave Israel or speak to foreigners. The sanctions have been renewed every twelve months. At present, he is appealing a further six-month prison sentence imposed by an Israeli court for having spoken to foreigners and foreign press.
Arnold Gundersen discovered radioactive material in an accounting safe at Nuclear Energy Services (NES) in Danbury, Connecticut, the consulting firm where he held a $120,000-a-year job as senior vice president. Three weeks after he notified the company president of what he believed to be radiation safety violations, Gundersen was fired. According to The New York Times, for three years, Gundersen "was awakened by harassing phone calls in the middle of the night" and he "became concerned about his family's safety". Gundersen believes he was blacklisted, harassed and fired for doing what he thought was right. NES foled a $1.5 million defamation lawsuit against him that was settled out-of-court. A U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission report concluded that there had been irregularities at NES, and the Office of the Inspector General reported that the NRC had violated its own regulations by sending business to NES.
George Galatis was a senior nuclear engineer who reported safety problems at the Millstone 1 Nuclear Power Plant, relating to reactor refueling procedures, in 1996. The unsafe procedures meant that spent fuel rod pools at Unit 1 had the potential to boil, possibly releasing radioactive steam. Galatis eventually took his concerns to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, to find that they had "known about the unsafe procedures for years". As a result of going to the NRC, Galatis experienced "subtle forms of harassment, retaliation, and intimidation". The NRC Office of Inspector General investigated this episode and essentially agreed with Galatis in Case Number 95-771, the report of which tells the whole story. George Galatis was the subject of a Time magazine cover story on March 4, 1996. Millstone 1 was permanently closed in July 1998.
Richard Levernier is an American nuclear power whistleblower. Levernier worked for 23 years as a nuclear security professional, and identified security problems at U.S. nuclear facilities as part of his job. Specifically, after 9/11, he identified problems with contingency planning to protect US nuclear plants from terrorist attacks. He said that the assumption that attackers would both enter and exit from facilities was not valid, since suicide terrorists would not need to exit. In response to this complaint, the U.S. Department of Energy withdrew Levernier's security clearance and he was assigned to clerical work. Levernier approached the United States Office of Special Counsel (OSC), which handles US federal whistleblower matters. It took the OSC four years to vindicate Levernier, ruling that the Department's retaliation was illegal - but the OSC could not reinstate Levernier's security clearance, so he was unable to regain work in nuclear security.
^A book chapter which discusses the whistleblowing, written by Vivian Weil, was published in 1983 as "The Browns Ferry Case" in Engineering Professionalism and Ethics, edited by James H. Schaub and Karl Pavlovic, and published by John Wiley & Sons.