NRC meets at Byron for public comment and questions - – Rockford’s News Leader

NRC meets at Byron for public comment and questions


An employee blows the whistle on issues he claims the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is neglecting at Byron's generating station.

That employee's name is Barry Quigley. He's worked at the Byron power plant for more than 25 years and has often voiced his concerns. Wednesday, he held nothing back.

Among a long list of grievances, Quigley has a problem with two large holes in a building on the Byron nuclear plant's grounds.

According to him, the holes, meant for ventilation, create a hazard.

"If the steam piping fails, which is not unheard of, you know the steam could enter into these rooms and disable the electrical power supplies for all the important stuff," said Quigley.

The NRC had a response.

"There's a program in place to prevent that. There's questions to whether or not it's adequate. We're working with the licensee to ensure they adequately resolve those," said Byron Station Senior Resident Inspector, Bruce Bartlett.

Quigley first brought that up in 1991. He isn't confident that the NRC will do anything about it.

"They've kind of been picking at a scab for twenty years on this. And I think it's time to fix it," said Quigley.

Quigley says he was threatened with his job if he went too far into detail with his reports. According to Byron Station Site Vice President Tim Tulon, Quigley has no reason to believe he will be treated any differently due to his outspokenness.

The NRC says it wants people to come forward with questions and concerns.

"If anybody has a concern for safety. If anybody has a concern for NRC activities, I welcome that and please bring it to us in any of the ways you feel most comfortable with," said Ken O'Brien, Acting Deputy Director for Region III of the NRC.

Quigley has submitted a petition to get the plant shut down.

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