Watts Bar’s Culture of "Intimidation" Highlighted

Part 2 of the CBS investigation into the Tennessee Valley Authority power plants revealed an environment in which questioning authority was not an option, even if those questions were addressing safety concerns. This is what several of our clients, who are featured in the CBS story, have said for years.

Although the plant has received poor grades by experts, who have discovered numerous violations, the NRC has continued to let them operate. It's in no small part due to the intense battle the Watts Bar power plant is engaging in with its workers when it comes to whistleblowing.

This is nothing new for the TVA. A report dating back to 1986 found a culture mired in "widespread intimidation, harassment and discrimination by TVA management," as well as "widespread mistrust."

Profiled in part 1 of the story, firm client Ann Harris has been fighting for more than 20 years to protect whistleblowers and spread the word about safety in power plants. Some of which may be little more than ticking time bombs.

"I want people to know how we were treated," says Harris in the story.

One woman who has sought help from Harris is Janice Overall, who claims her husband "paid the ultimate price" after he raised concerns about safety at the plant. Although he was a model employee, after raising his concerns at the plant he received multiple threatening notes and even a fake bomb.

These types of intimidation tactics are part of the reason Harris makes sure her home is an anonymous sanctuary for any whistleblower seeking safety.

"People are terrified to come forward at TVA," says Lynne Bernabei. "It's just like back in 1985. Nothing has
changed."