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Organizational Self-preservation

Mike Nickerson

Examples abound of government departments and business organizations embellishing their reports to make themselves look good and to protect their well established personnel. It is natural, even sometimes commendable, to be loyal to one's group and to care for and defend that group and its participants. When public money or public safety is involved, this tendency, unfortunately, does not disappear. While many will recognize their allegiance to the greater public, there is still a strong tendency to support the immediate group. Holding back information and selectively reporting on activities, even falsifying information, abounds. It is a human trait and the nuclear industry is not exempt.

The same Washington Post article that illustrated the submission on Complacency illustrates this problem of organizations protecting their own people first and considering society second.

Article from the Washington Post:

"Video of Sleeping Guards Shakes Nuclear Industry Sight of Guards Asleep Shakes Industry"

By Steven Mufson
Washington Post Staff Writer Friday,
January 4, 2008;

Kerry Beal was taken aback when he discovered last March that many of his fellow security guards at the Peach Bottom nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania were taking regular naps in what they called "the ready room."

When he spoke to supervisors at his company, Wackenhut Corp., they told Beal to be a team player. When he alerted the regional office of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, regulators let the matter drop after the plant's owner, Exelon, said it found no evidence of guards asleep on the job.

So Beal videotaped the sleeping guards. The tape, eventually given to WCBS, a CBS television affiliate in New York City, showed the armed workers snoozing against walls, slumped on tabletops or with eyes closed and heads bobbing.

The full story is posted at: