Title: In Historic Vote, Vermont Poised to Shut Down Lone Nuclear Reactor
Source: Democracy Now via Fairewinds
Upload Date: Feb 25, 2012
AMY GOODMAN: […] Arnie Gundersen, your own background, how you came to be a whistleblower? You’re a nuclear engineer. You worked in Connecticut?
ARNIE GUNDERSEN: Yeah, I had — I have a bachelor’s and a master’s in nuclear. I was a licensed reactor operator, was a senior vice president of a nuclear firm. And I discovered some license violations. This is twenty years ago. I told the president about them, president of the company, and he fired me. I then contacted John Glenn and my local senator, Senator John Glenn, about the license violations. And the Nuclear Regulatory Commission came in and found no violations. John Glenn then had the inspector general come in, and they found seven violations and found that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission had been taking illegal gratuities from my employer.
Didn’t stop there, though. I was sued for a million-and-a-half dollars by my employer, because I was slandering their reputation by writing to John Glenn. It went on for six years. And at the end, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission refused to do anything, despite what’s called a SLAPP suit, a strategic litigation against public participation. The net result of that was that we, my wife and I, took an out-of-court settlement, because the litigation would have continued on for another five years, and we got on with our lives. And I became a nuclear watchdog. And we moved from Connecticut to Vermont.
AMY GOODMAN: And here you now have become a, well, well-known nuclear consultant, executive member of the oversight panel and consultant to the Vermont legislature. When you were in Connecticut, you started to receive harassing calls as you were speaking out against the power plant there?
ARNIE GUNDERSEN: That’s — yes, that’s true. It was harassing calls, we were followed, there was private investigators that delved into our personal records. It was not a nice time. Worse, though, was the million-and-a-half-dollar lawsuit against us that ruined our credit. Our house was foreclosed on, and there was bankruptcy. It was literally designed to crush us. And it didn’t work.
AMY GOODMAN: And you were sued again by? You were sued by?
ARNIE GUNDERSEN: Oh, I was sued by the company I worked for, Nuclear Energy Services. They were the licensee, and I was the senior vice president there. And their claim was that I had defamed their reputation by talking about the license violations. And, of course, you know, Senator Glenn and his subcommittee clearly proved that I was right and that the NRC was taking illegal gratuities, so the — but it didn’t stop the process, because the Nuclear Regulatory Commission refused to get involved. […]
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