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Project on Government Oversight

POGO’s Letter in Response to the February 26, 2008 NRC Region I Letter

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March 5, 2008

Richard J. Urban
Senior Allegation Coordinator
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Region I
475 Allendale Road
King of Prussia , PA 19406-1415

Via facsimile: (610) 337-5208


Dear Mr. Urban:

This letter is in response to your February 26, 2008, letter regarding the Project On Government Oversight’s (POGO) allegation that the NRC Office of Investigations (OI) conducted interviews with Peach Bottom security officers in the presence of Exelon and/or Wackenhut attorneys. 

POGO believes that such a practice has a chilling effect on the security officers’ ability to be forthcoming in the interviews.  If witnesses to wrongdoing were to be truthfully forthcoming under these circumstances, they would have every reason to believe their jobs would be in jeopardy. One member of my staff, who has 25 years experience as a congressional investigator, has repeatedly observed this ill-advised practice during interviews of company executives and employees by government investigators, including those from the NRC. We raised this issue with the three NRC Commissioners, and even suggested some possible alternatives for legal assistance to the witnesses that would be free from conflicts of interest. Our intent was not to suggest to the Commissioners that we knew the specific names of interviewed security officers whose testimony was affected by the presence of company attorneys.  However, we have seen documents and have spoken with individuals involved with the investigation who told POGO that a number of the OI interviews took place in the presence of Exelon and/or Wackenhut attorneys. 

Although we very much appreciate the intent of the Commission to take this concern seriously, we did not realize this concern would be turned over to Region I to investigate. Indeed, Region I may be the least capable office to investigate a matter involving the Peach Bottom sleeping guards incident, as it

has a very clear interest in making the Peach Bottom matter go away.  I am not surprised that Region I has therefore so quickly dispensed of this matter with no findings.

Instead, POGO has brought this issue to the attention of the NRC IG, which we believe is far better capable of thoroughly and effectively undertaking such a review. 

Sincerely,


Danielle Brian
Executive Director


cc   Commissioner Pete Lyons
       Inspector General Hubert Bell
 

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