Is ANYONE awake?
FROM THE TIMES HERALD-RECORD
March 22, 2008
BUCHANAN – Two Indian Point nuclear power plant security guards have been suspended for coming to work with cocaine in their systems, a spokesman for the plants’ owner said.
The workers’ apparent drug use didn’t compromise safety at the plant 35 miles north of midtown Manhattan, Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesman Neil Sheehan said.
The security guards’ suspensions came a month after a construction company supervisor tested positive for alcohol use and was barred from working at the plant.
The security guards – employed by New Orleans-based plant owner Entergy Nuclear – are on paid leave for two weeks. The company fires employees who fail drug tests twice, Entergy spokesman Jim Steets said.
One guard was tested for drugs after leaving her post unexpectedly and failing to respond when commanders radioed her Wednesday; she was found sick in a bathroom, Steets said.
The other guard was tested Thursday because he was returning from an absence of more than 29 days; he had been on military leave, according to plant officials.
Federal regulations say there can be no trace of alcohol or drugs in anyone working at a nuclear plant. Only 209 of the more than 70,000 tests of nuclear plant workers and contractors nationwide in 2006 came back positive, according to the NRC.
Steets said the security guards’ test results were unfortunate but showed that the plant was succeeding in efforts to make sure workers were fit for duty.
The NRC is “satisfied with how the company is handling the situation,” Sheehan said.
Another Indian Point security worker got into trouble in August, when the armed guard was found dozing at an inner-ring security gate. The NRC later determined the incident was of “very low security significance.”
The plant has about 1,300 employees.
Critics regularly express concern about the plant’s safety, but federal regulators have rejected calls to shut it down. Entergy has applied for new licenses that would let Indian Point keep running into the 2030s.