BUCHANAN, N.Y. – Indian Point security guard Clifton "Skip" Travis Jr. called Friday on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to deploy National Guard troops at the nuclear power plants until what he says are serious security concerns can be addressed. The subject is part of a $1.5 billion lawsuit that Travis filed against the plants' owner and his supervisors.
The lawsuit, filed Tuesday by Amy Bellantoni of The Bellantoni Law Firm in Scarsdale, alleges that Indian Point's perimeter monitoring system, known as ARINCS, crashed more than 8,000 times since January 2012, that drills meant to simulate insurgent attacks end with terrorists reaching their target and causing "radiological sabotage," that security guards falsify training records, and that some guards admit they would run rather than fire on enemy combatants.
"You mess up, you move up. There's a security culture that it will never happen here," Travis said Friday at a press conference.
Travis said officers were caught sleeping on the job as recently as the last week of August, although he was not working there at the time. He said guards are encouraged to watch DVD players and bring video games to keep themselves occupied. Entergy spokesperson Jim Steets confirmed that security guards are allowed to watch DVD players during work at some stations.
"There are situations where looking at videotapes or DVRs are fine," Steets said. "It's consistent with industry practice, and with [Nuclear Regulatory Commission] regulations. So I'm not sure what his specific allegation is in that regard, but there are situations where a security officer can look at videotapes. Sometimes they're encouraged from the standpoint that outside stimuli is positive to keep a security officer alert."
Asked whether officers had been found asleep on the job at Indian Point, Steets said, "Have we ever? I think at various times a security officer has been found inattentive. It's hard to say someone's asleep unless they're snoring and you're shaking them. I don't know that we've had that situation, but I can say that in the past it has happened and we deal with that aggressively." He could not say what specific disciplinary consequences were used in such situations.
Bellantoni said that Travis was never formally fired from Entergy Nuclear, the plants' owner, and that he is still employed by the company. Travis took a voluntary leave of absence in November 2011, after he was retaliated against for voicing security concerns, his lawyer says. When he was cleared by his doctor to return to work in March, Travis said, he was never returned to the schedule despite repeated requests.
Steets said the company still has not been served with the lawsuit, which was filed Tuesday in state Supreme Court in White Plains. Several Entergy subsidiary companies and Travis' supervisors are also named as defendants. The lawsuit seeks $20 million in compensatory damages and $1.5 billion in punitive damages.
"We know several of the allegations he's made are untrue, and other ones we're reviewing. If there's any reason to believe there's any basis for it, we'll address it," Steets said.
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