Heroes are hard to find these days. On TV, there are made-up ‘heroes’ whose deeds are wrapped up neatly before the last commercial. In real life, it never happens that way. Several months ago, Kerry Beal saw something on his job site that disturbed him greatly. Beal is a security guard at the Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station in Pennsylvania. His fellow guards were sleeping on the job. He did the right thing by telling his supervisor about it.
He was told not to talk about it, shut up and be a team player. He sought the advice of a friend at church who had been a former Director of Security for Wackenhut. This friend agreed to write a letter asking the NRC to investigate the situation. Beal is a young guy with three children. He needed his job and simply wanted the management to do the right thing. A perfunctory phone call was made from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to Exelon who assured them everything was just fine.
Kerry Beal knew better and so he put his family’s security at stake and video-taped 10 guards sleeping in the “ready room.
So what did the NRC and Exelon do to protect the public and institute new work rules? First, they suspended Kerry Beal and then refused to hire him back focusing on his alleged violations of procedures for videotaping the sleeping guards.
The obvious result is a good man takes the fall for irresponsible managers more concerned with their paychecks instead of a conscientious and dutiful employee and the safety of the nuclear power plant’s security. Oh, and by the way, new rules and regulations are being formulated and, according to the NRC, will be implemented in 16 months. We hope young Mr. Beal can find a job in the meantime.