Great Moments in Nuclear Derp, no. 6,274,339 (collect ’em all!)

Nothing to worry about, move along folks.

A Vermont Yankee employee reported in November that security management “detonated a suspicious item” that resembled a pipe bomb inside the nuclear power plant compound.

According to VTDigger’s Anne Galloway, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said “the situation was not handled appropriately.” And by that, Our Guardians Of Safety mean…

Against the advice of the police, Entergy employees duct taped a piece of string to the pipe, stood back and pulled the string to see if it “went off,” according to the report.

Oh lord. I don’t know if Homer Simpson himself would’ve tested a possible bomb on the grounds of a nuclear power plant with a piece of string and some duct tape.

And the nuclear industry wonders why we don’t trust them.

But don’t worry. Our friendly reassuring voices, Yankee spokesflack Rob Williams and NRC spokesflack Neil Sheehan, both say there was no danger to the plant or the public. Which is no thanks to the Einsteins of the Vermont Yankee Amateur Bomb Disposal Team; there was no threat because the “pipe bomb” turned out to be a piece of trash.

The suspicious item… was a well pump that was being thrown away.

And in the process of “being thrown away,” an item that looked like a pipe bomb was casually left laying around. Might I suggest, ladies and gentlemen, a wastebasket?

After all, a neat nuke plant is a happy nuke plant.  

9 thoughts on “Great Moments in Nuclear Derp, no. 6,274,339 (collect ’em all!)

  1. I just double checked to see if it was April 1st and of course it isn’t.

    So Vermont Yankee officials call law enforcement -then against their advice VY security detonates the  suspicious item

    […]security management “detonated a suspicious item” that resembled a pipe bomb inside the nuclear power plant compound.

     Afterward VY officials led by Rob Williams then take shelter in the land of no comment and unanswered questions.  

    “It is our policy not to comment on security events,” Williams said.

    And this incident was all the way back last November!

    It reminds me of the unexplained and as far as I know unsolved suspected arson fire at nearby VY headquarters back in 2011. Unlike silent Rob Williams a high level VY spokesman in 2011 had no problem commenting publicly on a security issue back then

    Larry Smith, manager of communications for Vermont Yankee.

    […] was shocked that someone could be so selfish as to put their agenda before someone’s lives.

    “There’s never been anything someone’s done that was malicious or that was meant to harm any of the employees,” he said.

  2. don’t belong be in the same sentence imho. Looks like they’re going out w/a bang – pi.  

    Ongoing sloppiness, mishaps, duct-taping of repairs, “small” 1/8″ holes in pipes emitting “tiny puffs of steam” – emphasis on “tiny” have marked & permeated the entire culture & ethic @ Vermont Yankee from day one — as the plant began & continued rotting the stories only grew in number & frequency. And given their propensity for “untruthfulness” — these are only the ones we are aware of. Suffice it to say the facade disaapeared long ago.

    Since Entergy/Louisiana bought the plant the litany of textbook examples of leaks, laziness & lies is very long. Spread on a continuum seems to span centuries. Aside from the infamous cooling tower crash & collapse, er, “partial collapse” another was the dropping of a dry cask from a crane

    and losing the fuel rod:

    • On April 20, 2004, Entergy announced it was missing 2 radioactive fuel rods. The misplaced fuel rods were not found until July

    Yeah that’s quite a heads-scratcher isn’t it boys?

    Even Pilgrim workers in MA criticized the safety culture @ Vermont Yankee. Can’t find the link.  

  3. “Hi, I’m Larry.  This is my brother Darryl.  And this is my other brother, Darryl.  We’re doing this PSA for Vermont Yankee, your friendly provider of safe energy through nuclear reactions, which neither I or the two Darryls understand, but that’s not our job.  Our job is SAFETY.  My brothers and I have just been hired by the Entergy Corporation as SAFETY CONSULTANT TROUBLESHOOTERS.  And we want you all to know that we’ll be making sure the Vermont Yankee plant in Vernon is safe from any…untoward, I think is the word…yes, untoward events that might or might not raise questions about how this plant operates.  Darryl, hold up your burlap sack.  Yes.  Folks, my brothers, Darryl and Darryl have been policing the plant these last few days and have called attention through the proper Entergy corporate channels to improvements that can be made in the day to day operations.  First…open that up, Darryl, and lay it out on the table here…yes, that’s right…we’ve been picking up various items that certain employees have been unnecessarily casual with in disposing of or securing safely.  See, here’s a Bic lighter and a half pack of cigarettes…terrorists love that.  And see here, here’s somebody’s umbrella, which a terrorist could use to replace a fuel rod.  And this.  What is it, you ask?  My other brother Darryl has informed me that it is the remains of a fisher-cat…which had very sharp teeth and claws.  How it got in here is still under our investigation…Save that, Darryl…that will be tonight’s dinner.  And this here, this here is a glove, for the right hand.  Where is the other glove?  My brothers and I are investigating.  And this…this we really are still puzzled about.  It appears to be someone’s portable digital alarm clock that has been set to ring…yes…in exactly one minute.  Why workers need to stop leaving these personal items lying around, not to mention bringing their pets to work with them, will be in the Safety Report we will submit to Entergy’s Corporate Headquarters.  I’d now like to…damn…turn that alarm off, Darryl…I’d now like to…(BOOM!!!)……………. …………………………  

  4. VSP: We believe it would be best to wait for the bomb squad.

    VY ‘Security’: Nonsense!  This is a nuclear power plant, nothing could ever go wrong here!  We are going to walk right up to it, completely unprotected, slap some tape and string on what is obviously the triggering mechanism, and then stick our fingers in our ears and pull.  What could go wrong? This IS a nuclear power plant, after all!

    VSP:  Ummm…

    VY ‘Security’: Oh, quit your worryin’!  Nothing ever goes wrong at a nuclear power plant!

    [Pulls string]

    VY ‘Security’: Aw, dang.  Nothing happened.  Say, can your bomb guys blow this up for us? That would be so cool!

    VSP:  Ummm…

    [VY Maintenance arrives]

    VY Maintenance: So that’s where we left the old well pump…  Pesky thing.  Easy to lose, don’t ya know.  Just like those old fuel rods we lost a few years back.  Now, those are just too hard to keep track of…

    VSP:  Ummm.  Yeah.  We’ll be going now…

  5. Underground pipes, it makes perfect sense why ther would be a pipe bomb just laying around. I mean…. Couldn’t be a pump. We don’t have any pipes to pump stuff out of.

    Waiting for the ‘there’s more pipe bombs in exit signs’ defense.

    And, I do really wonder if maybe the same ‘security’ was on duty at the HQ when there was that little fire. What’s this? Looks dangerous. Let’s light it up!

    Convenient that we were going to tax soda but still can’t find the perpetrator. Wish Peter Falk were around.  

  6. Here is some follow-up (is there any hope for more from the VT media?) from the Times-Herald/Rutland-Argus on the bomb incident at VY.  And they suggest one of the questions good old VY spokes-flack Rob Williams or some VY Entergy official should comment on.

    Robert Williams, spokesman for Entergy, said the company does not comment on security issues. He said Vernon police were called but that neither the general public nor Entergy employees were in danger.

    He declined to answer a question about why police were called to the plant if no one was in danger. [added emphasis]

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