— Former Humboldt Bay nuclear plant technician talks about PG&E’s safety problems and retaliation against employees

The story of Humboldt Bay Nuclear Plant is an expose of PG&E and an expose of nuclear regulation. It’s happening now. Its dangers and warnings are critical for the public to heed.

Shut It Down Now! Former Humboldt PG&E IBEW 1245 Nuclear Plant Technician Bob Rowen On Nuclear Power

Bob Rowen was a Humboldt PG&E IBEW 1245 nuclear control technician at the power plant. He talks about being a control technician at the plant and what happened when he began to stand up for health and safety as a whistleblower. His fight to protect the workers and the community cost him his job when he raised health and safety concerns and he along with another nuclear control technician Forrest Williams were retaliated against and illegally terminated. He also recounts an effort to set up a criminal conspiracy frame-up by PG&E to charge him with planning to blow up the plant and a false document was sent to the FBI to blacklist him throughout the country to prevent him from working in any other nuclear plant in the US. He also reports on the role of his union IBEW 1245 and the media when a reporter from NBC Donald Widener tried to cover the story and was retaliated against by PG&E in actions that destroyed his career. He also discusses the case of PG&E Diablo Canyon nuclear plant whistleblower Neil Aiken. Aiken went to PG&E’s Board of Directors with his concerns over safety and was also targeted and fired. This interview was done on January 26, 2015. Rowen has written a book about his struggle called My Humboldt Diary: A True Story of Betrayal of the Public Trust, Nuclear Power at Humboldt Bay. For more information http://www.myhumboldtdiary.com

Production of Labor Video Project http://www.laborvideo.org

Unofficial transcript:

My name is Bob Rowen. I became a nuclear control technician at the Humboldt Bay nuclear power plant in Eureka. The plant went online in 1963, in August of 63, and I showed up in March of 1964.

My first job at the plant was apprentice instrument repairman, but within six months I entered the nuclear control technician training program. journeymanprogram in the PG&E system, I became a nuclear control technician.

I thought that I had found a career of a lifetime. When I got out of the Marines and went to work there and thought I was on the ground floor of a program that in an industry that was going to be second to none, but as I got into it, I found that it was not what it was all cracked up to be.

How long was the training program?

42 months. It was a very rigorous training program that requires a lot of hours on the weekends and at night learning all the things that we had to learn as well as classroom work during the day.

And so what happened when you started working there?

Well I I became involved in and developed a special interest in radiation protection.

The nuclear control technician program in those days consisted of actually three elements: nuclear instrumentation, radiation protection, and radio chemistry. What I was particularly concerned about the radiation protection aspect of the job, and so when I started studying all of the training materials that PG&E had provided, I found that they were not in agreement with what I had learned in the military.

I was a Marine Pathfinder and I trained in ABC warfare – atomic, biological, and chemical warfare. And the atomic part of that talked about the kinds of hazards associated with radiation that did not agree one bit with what PG&E was providing us. So I started asking some embarrassing questions. At first they weren’t necessarily challenging plant management but their responses led me to a confrontation with the management because I felt that I was being lied to


At one point, yes, because I believed in corporate America and I believed in the government. I thought the AEC would do everything that they were charged with in terms of their responsibilities of protecting employees and the general public. But it turns out that that wasn’t the case at all.

So you began asking questions And what happened?

Well, eventually I was told that if I was looking for trouble, I was going to find it. The plant engineer made that very clear to me and I told him, my response was, I’m not going to be bullied. I still had a lot of Marine in me in my mid-20s, and I just said, I’m not going to kowtow to you. I won’t do that.

Eventually I found myself faced with having to, well, for example I was ordered to sign false shipping documents. The spent-fuel shipping cask — and it’s a long story; it’s in my book; it spells out exactly what took place — but the shipping cask ended up with several? contaminations exceeding DOT regs, and the release papers that had my name pre-typed on as a nuclear control technician, and I said I’m not signing those papers because they’re false. And I was ordered to do it. So I signed them under protest. And then I put it in the radiation control log exactly what had taken place, and I had another serious set-to with the plant engineer. And that’s just one example of many things that happen.

For example, I was doing a C area survey — C standing for claims, so we’re doing routine surveys weekly in the non controlled areas of the plant just to make sure that no contaminated materials, equipment had left the controlled area of the plant. And as I was passing through the cold machine shop, I found a contaminated section of pipe

that was about 14 to 16 inches in diameter and about 23, 24 inches long and I had no idea how that piece of pipe got there. And there was no one in the cold machine shop at the time I made that survey but I ended up finding a welder that was behind a welding curtain on the end of the machine job and I said, you have any idea how that piece of pipe ended up on that workbench? And he said, “yeah, I put it there.”And I said,“well, did you know that it was radioactively contaminated?”And he said, “No, I had no idea. And I said, “Where did you get that?” “Out of the scrap metal bin.”

So then I ran out to the scrap metal bin, and it was completely empty. And I came back to the welder and I said, “Look, the scrap metal bin was emptied” “Well there were several sections of pipe just like the one I have on the end of the bench and it was out there when they picked it up.” Says, “well how long ago was that?”Was I suppose a couple of days ago.” And I said, “oh” And so I went to the maintenance Foreman who’s responsible for things like that and said What happened to all the stuff that was in the scrap metal bin?”and he says. “Well G&R scrap metals came and picked it up.” And I said, “Did you know that the welder pulled a piece of pipe out of there that was contaminated?”

And he said “no I didn’t know that.” I said, well, was that stuff – Well eventually I learned that it was part of the suppression chamber pipe that was cut up in sections so they could pull it out of the suppression chamber, and so as the only way they could remove that pipe. And so I said, Well, was there an unconditional relief tag on it?” “No.” I said, If it came out of the control unit, it had to have an unconditional relief tag in order to be released. You never saw it?”No””Did you see any paperwork on it?””No” and I said, Well did you call G&R Scrap Metal to pick up that pipe?” he said “No, the front office said that.”

And so it turns out that what really happened was they had some contaminated pipe, very heavy ,very difficult to dispose of, very expensive if it’s radioactively contaminated, and so they just ,somebody in the middle of the night took that stuff out to the scrap metal bin and then called G&R Scrap Metal have them come pick it up and who would be the wiser. No one figured that the welder was going to pick up one of those pieces to put on the work bench he was going to make something out of it.

And so I got into a lot of hot water because I dug my heels in saying that we should have some control technicians go down and retrieve all that stuff, bring it back to the plant and dispose of it properly. PG&E refused to do it.

How dangerous was this?

Well it’s not something that, it wasn’t lethal. It was just radioactively contaminated and our radiation control standard said things can only be released from the controlled areas of the unit, of unit 3 which is the nuclear unit, if the counts are less than 100 counts per minute above background, and that what I found was approximately three to four hundred counts per minute above background

And is there a lot of radioactive heavily radioactive piping in this facility?

Well sure it came out of the suppression chamber right alongside of the reactor, and it was contaminated. And so I felt that we should go down to G&R scrap metal, retrieve the stuff; for that portion of the pipe that was maybe clean and then send it back to G&R, if it’s not, then dispose of it properly. And it was determined at my Unemployment insurance Appeals Board hearing that when the referee asked him, the radiation protection engineer that I put on the stand as my witness, the referee said, “well if that had been determined to be 300 counts per minute before leaving the controlled area, it wouldn’t have left the control area would it of?” and he said, “Oh no no. It would have stayed in the controlled area.”

So it was inconsistent. The thing of it is that pipe could have been more, I mean the other pieces of the of the suppression chamber pipe that could have been contaminated more than this one and possibly less. It’s hard to say. But it was a continuous run of pipe and this one section was contaminated. It was reasonable to assume that the other sections probably contaminated as well.

So you will retaliated for bringing this to the attention of ?

Oh yes yes very much so. Eventually and that’s just one thing that happened.

The spent fuel shipping cask was another.

Let me share with you one other incident that happened. I was asked to go out to the clean side of the railroad gate to survey out some painting equipment, and the painting equipment the GC painters, the general construction painters,

were wanting to you know have their equipment surveyed off, so that they could use it in other places in the power plant and the radiation protection control technician on the controlled side of the gate was having trouble with his GM and so there was some question about maybe not completely surveying out like it should have been. So that’s what I was out there before on a clean side. I had my own GM on the clean side.the background was lower, and I could verify whether the equipment was okay or not .Turns out that the equipment was fine but in the process, one of the GC painters ,and there were three of them standing there waiting to receive the equipment and take it on to other areas of the plant, stepped over closer to where I was at to see what I was doing, and my GM all of a sudden went crazy. And long story short, the painter was contaminated.

Your GM is what ?

it’s a it’s like a Geiger counter

So the Geiger counter. Dosimeter?

It’s a radiation counter. He was contaminated but it turns out the other two were contaminated as well. I said, Hey fellas when were you last in the control area? It was four days previous to that. Four days. I said, you left the control area in this condition and you’ve been out and about home and wherever you’ve traveled for four days and they said, well yeah but we didn’t know what. But turns out that they didn’t properly survey themselves out four days earlier and so I immediately had them go across the gate and to the decon showers and they had all their clothes confiscated and they had to be scrubbed down thoroughly and all that.

I then made the recommendation that we go to their homes and the places that they had frequented to make sure that they didn’t take any contamination wherever, and PG&E refused to do it . And I insisted upon it and another example of them in

management and Bob Rowen getting crossward and so now you ask what happened to. They eventually decided they needed to get rid of me. And there was another control technician by the name of Forrest Williams and

Are you surprised that they would try to fire you for basically protecting the health and safety of yourself and others?

Well yeah, at the time I was because I although I’ve learned a lot since and my answer to that question now would be no but at the time yes, I was surprised that plant management would respond the way that they did. You see what happened was it was small things at first and they just build and build and build to much larger things and then of course I started bowing? my neck big time and my book spells all this out much clearer than I’m telling you right now. we got to the point where, well, let’s provide another example before I get into the company safety meetings.

We had, our WPs- routine work permits — we call them radiation work permits, that provided the requirements for every job we were doing in the plant that that work permit addressed And so we were doing reactor water sample analysis, collecting the reactor water samples and then taking them to the radio chemistry lab and then analyzing those samples. And those our WPs provided for a dose rate to the control technicians doing the work of 5-50 milligrams per hour, a maximum of 50 but more closer to 5 and our RWP was written prior to the startup of the nuclear unit in August of 1963. Well when the fuel cladding in the reactor broke down, the initial loading of fuel cladding was stainless steel — not zircoloy that the Navy had developed; it was a far superior but much more expensive cladding – and the plant became grossly contaminated and received the reputation of being the dirtiest atomic plant in the nation and we were living with that. And so back to the reactor water samples, those samples consisting of 5 to 50 milliroentgens per hour, those went clear up to 3,000 mr per hour and I started squawking about that. I told management we need to do something, we need to be protected from from those real hot samples that were not only collecting but analyzing. And in my hands ,you can see what happens in my hands it I don’t know to the extent that the radiation caused that but it more likely it did.

And so what happened was that I got fed up with that because I couldn’t get plant management, I couldn’t an engineer who was above both of them to do anything about it I said, we need to have a biological shield constructed in front of the reactor water sampling station the collection point to protect workers when they’re collecting the samples and then we needed to have a way to transport those very hot samples to the radio chemistry lab. And they just wouldn’t do it because it was required the company to spend money. And so it just didn’t happen until the December 12 1967 safety meeting when I stood up and very publicly demanded that something be done. And I not only addressed the collection and analysis of reactor water samples but I also addressed the same type of problem with the collection of off gas samples.

And after that meeting I was called, well we all were called into the conference room

and told that we were not to use the company safety meeting in this way and

that we were supposed to resolve all these issues with our first line supervisors first. And I explained to my manager, I said, look I’ve already, I did that for months and it didn’t result in anything.

And so it, more bad stuff went into my personnel file and then I was threatened by him.

How did he threaten you?

Well, he said, you know if you’re looking for trouble, you’re going to find it . He was dumb enough to make that statement under oath at my Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board hearing, and so I’ve got that in my book ,it’s all spelled out.

So they knew.

they did yeah and they admitted lots of things there. here’s the reason for that. When I filed for my unemployment insurance after I was fired, the company said, no, he was fired with cause

And what was the cause that you were fired for?

They said I threatened my supervisor. I made a phone call I did call my supervisor but there’s another piece to that story but I did call him but I didn’t threaten him like they said I did

At the unemployment hearing a lot of information came out where the company really retaliated against you.

yes and you might ask why would they have candidly stated the kinds of things

that I’m referring to it’s because when I walked into the unemployment insurance Appeals Board hearing I put a large briefcase on the table in front of me. They did not know because I pulled a couple things out of it and they didn’t know what else I was going to pull out, so then they didn’t want to be embarrassed. those people who had huge egos and so they didn’t want to be embarrassed by saying one thing that was untrue and then me proving them wrong, so even though sometimes they skirted the issues a bit, I just kept after and then after I kept after and get them to respond more truth, the referee took over and did the same thing. I might say at this point I prevailed at my Unemployment insurance Appeals Board.it’s just a matter of unemployment insurance but I did get and referee said I was fired for reasons other than misconduct


Also did you file the grievance with the union of what you?

Yeah I was in the IBEW Local 1245 and yes we did and it went to arbitration. I’m still a

union man. I’ll be a union man for the rest of my life. my dad was a union man. I

understand why unions were necessary. I understand I’m fairly knowledgeable

growth with the American labor movement during the latter part of the Gilded Age and on into the 20th century but I’m very unhappy with what the IBEW did

What did they do or not do?

Well what they did not do is they didn’t get to the bottom of what happened and why. I was fired because I was a troublemaker at PG&E nuclear power plant and I personally believe that the IBEW Local 1245 was in bed with PG&E .I truly believe that. We went to our arbitration. Forrest Williams case went first; he was the other control technician fired a week before I was for making statements and asking questions, embarrassing questions

So there were a number of people fired. It wasn’t just you.

Just the two of us but there are only seven control technicians at the plant and four of the seven were named in a totally false police report and we were never supposed to see that police report. They accused us of some awful things

Who did?


What did they accuse you of?

Being a subversive, involved in a plot to blow off the power plant

Serious charges

They said that I was a confirmed cop hater. of course there’s another piece to that story but nothing could have could it was totally ridiculous that they said those things about me. I mean it was a Marine Pathfinder and force recons and I just honor and duty and all those kinds of things was very important to me and being truthful was absolutely important to me and obeying the law was important to me in. And I found out about this police report from a law enforcement officer in the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department who knew me and he saw that come across this desk, he said I can’t believe what they’ve done to you, bob. well you better read this, and he showed it to me and I read it several times and then he took it back and burned it up in a metal waste paper basket because he’d gone too far and he said if my superiors find out that I

they were trying to frame you up things

Oh absolutely, big time, but see that I was never supposed to see that police report. What they did and they sent a copy of it to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and then in that way I could never get another security clearance to work in that nuclear sensitive environment I just couldn’t no ,they were blacklisting me is what they were doing and they did the same thing to Forrest Williams and there were two other control technicians named in that police report although they were not fired and one of them Raymond Skidmore was asked by a reporter in Eureka why he wasn’t fired and he said because he felt that we had learned our lessons because of the way they treated Bob Rowen and Forrest Williams and that they got rid of the two biggest troublemakers and so he remained very critical. he’s passed away now he died of pancreatic cancer and he had apparently a pretty big stroke. I’ve had two strokes myself

And I tell you this is difficult for me I get a little bit emotional about this but we were sent down underneath the reactor to flush incores. Incores are instrumentations that goes up into the reactor from the bottom, and and every now and then I mean every so often, they had to be routinely pulled out ,and when we got up underneath there, now we’re talking dose rate fields of anywhere from 12 to 20,25 reontgens per hour. that’s very high. we could only be in there in a matter of minutes, but while we were flushing incores, we would get reactor water and reactor crud would rain down on us, and Skidmore probably got the worst of it, especially in the April, March April refilling outage of 1970. He went to lunch contaminated and it was discovered after he came back from lunch that he was contaminated. I’ve got documentation from PG&E memoranda on that.

So the union that you went to them and you told them what their serious health and safety

Tried to, I tried to

What did they say I mean how did you process that?

Well the IBEW Local 1245 in those days had I think about 16 to 18 thousand members. only seven of them were nuclear control techs but PG&E had this attitude of “go nuclear”. they were really intending to go nuclear. they were looking at building a nuclear power plant at Bodega Bay which the Sierra Club defeated. they were looking to build a power plant at Point Arena and the Sierra Club defeated that one as well. and there are several other nuclear power plants on the drawing board that were never built but there was Diablo Canyon and Diablo Canyon, that’s another long story but

what happened

Well some of the people that I worked with at Humboldt ended up going to Diablo Canyon. most of the employees that I worked with they were thinking like I was thinking in the very beginning – this was a great job, a great livelihood, anyone who criticizes the company and causes problems was threatening their livelihood. So I had problems with my co-workers, not all of them but many of them, and in order to remain in good stead with the company, you had to be loyal to what it was the company was doing, and you know radiation’s not a big deal you know you’re making a big deal out of nothing. When I go out to my car and swipe it with a smear pad and find ?? contamination on it, it’s not a big deal but I’m driving that home and I’m going to the grocery store and I’m going to other public places, and those people, they don’t need to be exposed to that sort of thing.

So IBEW 1245 you mentioned when you went to them with the fact that you were discriminated, tell what happened

Well they hired an attorney. it was in a law firm in San Francisco and he didn’t have the resources that the PG&E attorneys had and I don’t know how much money the IBEW Local 1245 was willing to commit to fight PG&E in trying to deal over the Forrest Williams and Bob Rowan so the attorneys name was Morgan, Frank Morgan and I just felt that he was just not prepared for our arbitration case yeah but I’m gonna have to tell you that I think his heart was in the right place because afterwards, after that was all over with said and done, Frank Morgan started doing some work pro bono for me and I sued for that police report and his arguments that he presented that ultimately prevailed with the court and I got it because PG&E, PG&E was responsible for what was in that police report. The second page of the police report stated that a copy of it had been sent back to PG&E and the police department and the city of Eureka, they were claiming privilege, as a privileged document so therefore I was not entitled to have access to it. and so finally I convinced my attorney and could play by this time I had learned some things and I said you know you need to tell that judge, in fact when we walked in the courtroom the day that this happened, I can never forget that, you need to tell that judge to have the city give him a copy of that police report he can take it into the chambers in camera it’s called and he can read it for himself and on the second page and it was right on my simulation of it that I have constructed from memory after having read it several times and then the fella took it back and burned it up in the wastepaper can, it said that a copy went to PG&E. It also said a copy of it went to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and so when the judge took that into his chambers and he read it and then he came back out and immediately ordered the city of Eureka to disclose a true copy of it to us and then we filed a lawsuit. PG&E prevailed in battling against that though because statute of limitations. my simulation that I had constructed from my attorney proved that I knew of its existence by the 1st of December 1970 I think it was or ’71 I but we didn’t get a copy of the report for about two years two and a half years but that was because my attorney that we’re not gonna make a we’re not gonna file a suit like this until we get a copy of that report and and so I know I’m jumping around here a little bit but regarding that report, when we got copy of my attorney did file a suit, PG&E prevailed because the statute of limitations in California and such matters is one year and so it was barred, that went up to the appellate courts and the appellate courts agreed it was it was

Manipulated the legal process


I mean you’re not the only one and your fellow workers that have been retaliated

against for making health and safety complaints at nuclear plants. first of all do you think this is a systemic problem nationally and if people retaliated from making health and safety complaints and that’s their job how do we know what’s really going on in these plants?

You don’t You don’t. You gotta protect nuclear workers. They’re on the inside. They know what goes on there. When they step up and they say you know these are the kinds of things things that are going on and bring them to the public’s attention, they’ve got to be protected.

I was not protected at all. there was no protection whatsoever because I went to the federal grand jury, I went to the United States Attorney, I went to the National Labor Relations Board which was a joke because they said these matters pertain to things that occurred more than six months prior to your filing the charge for therefore it’s barred. Statute of limitations barred. so no matter which way I turn that there was there was just nothing that I could do now

I want to mention one thing that I think is very important here I became connected with William H Rodgers law professor at the University of Washington School of Law and at the time he was doing work with the Environmental Defense Fund suggested that we should the anyway suggested to the Environmental Defense Fund that we petition to secure some rights for atomic workers and and they were able to bring on board the oil chemical and atomic workers International Union whatever that union was called and they agreed. But guess what? IBEW local 1245 said it is not our best interest so they would not sign on to it and all it was is a petition but I forget the legal jargon that describes that process but it was to provide protections for nuclear workers

Would you say the IBEW is a company _____?

Yes I would

What does that mean?

Controlled by the company, in bed with the company. they, it’s a really strange bedfellow. they just, to me, the company dictated terms. they did the company’s bidding

So the health and safety of yourself and other workers – that was secondary to them?

Yes I believe so You know, they spend a tremendous amount of money,. the company does, and I think the union dovetails with it in terms of creating this facade of safety and for both employees and the public and all that kind of stuff, but it’s nonsense. I’s absolutely nonsense

And what do you think people in this country should do about it because you have all these old plants, relicense them ,a lot of them are seriously contaminated,,there’s radiation leaking and yet the workers who were want charge of health and safety there’s no protection for them and it sounds like a very serious systemic problem

You want my personal opinion? Shut them down. Shut every last one of those nuclear power plants down and don’t build any more. We have to look for alternative ways to produce energy. Nuclear power is not the way because you can’t rely, you can’t trust the operators of nuclear facilities or the regulators of them to protect the public. Can’t. The bottom line is the most important thing. They’ll lie they’ll cheat at every twist and turn and I know that from hard experience. And nothing’s changed. I mean back in the day the AEC was criticized for having that dual role of regulating and promoting nuclear power so that was fixed right it was fixed by replacing the AEC with the NRC but the NRC is more of the same. it’s more of the same.

And has any PG&E official ever gone to jail and do you think there should be criminal penalties for retaliating against?

Absolutely, absolutely, starting with Bert Jones and Lawrence Brown who happens to be a PG&E attorney who lied time and again during my Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board hearing. And he knew better. He’d bring his stuff for that referee to try to persuade that referee to a conclusion that was totally false and he should have been disbarred. I found out much later that he was actually a personnel manager for PG&E and then went to law school at night and got his degree and then became a hatchet man at 245 Market Street. my blood boils every time we think about him.

But I mean this is criminal activity and they’re basically lying under oath and they’re just falsifying and

Absolutely in fact Savannah Blackwell wrote some stuff for the San Francisco Bay Guardian. She called PG&E a corporate criminal. When I read that, I said, right on and she, one of the cases that she was talking about was the Neil Aiken case at Diablo Canyon. he was concerned about safety at that plant and as I understand, the same problems with plant management there that I had with plant management at Humboldt Bay so he got fed up with it ,took it to a Board of Directors meeting. Wrong thing to do but he took it to them and then they said well we’re going to have him mentally evaluated. And they did and they said he was unfit to operate – he was a control operator or a shift Foreman I guess, a shift Foreman. he wasn’t on my side of it. I was a technical side, you know, radiation control technician and a nuclear control technician, but he was on the operations side. And well, he lost his job but then they found wherever they arbitrated that, they found that PG&E had actually retaliated against him and so I’m not sure exactly how well that turned out but I’ve got a section in my book about him and and there’s some others, too

So it sounds like there’s no accountability for PG&E. They pretty much

There isn’t from my point of view. There’s gonna be pushback, I know there’s gonna be pushback from PG&E on my book but let them go ahead and do whatever it is. I’m 74 years old and in the twilight years of my life and I’m going to try to do the right thing before I pass on And what people end up doing with it is up to them but they’ve got to wake up and put ____

it’s a terrible thing. Lives are destroyed People are terrified, intimidated and afraid to tell the truth about what’s going on

Yeah yeah well Forrest Williams was actually reinstated .the story behind all of that they went back to work for one day and told, I can’t work for a company like and left and he was reinstated

You know there’s an icon down here in the Bay Area called Sam Kegel back in the day arbitrator and a lot of people thought he was you know the best thing since sliced bread or something but not I didn’t think that at all because when I walked into the room where the arbitration hearing, where my arbitration was hearing, it was in a PG&E office with PG&E stuff on all four walls and Sam Kegel calling the PG&E attorney “bud” and the PG&E attorney calling Sam Kegel Mr. Kegel, Sam and then they’ve made a some kind of a snide remark about the nurses up there and there’s more to that story but anyways Sam Kegel said, don’t talk to about nurses like that. I’m gonna have to be dealing with them in San Francisco with all the nurses in San Francisco. That’s that’s in the transcript so I pulled ,it’s in my book I’ve quoted him but I was not impressed with him at all. He was not willing to determine or try to establish why PG&E had actually gotten rid of me. It was only concerned with one thing and that was the phone call that I made and and unfortunately to be quite honest about it I denied making that call at my arbitration hearing but I did not deny making it at the unemployment insurance appeal. I made that decision, I called Friday night and told the plant engineer that he had better never treat me like that again

What did you do?

Well when Forrest Williams was fired on a spur of the moment on a Friday morning I went to work I took a soap box that my wife had was an empty soap box, I made a collection box out of it and I took it to work and I hung it on the bottom of the radiation status board and it created quite a stink. did I think that it might? Sure, I probably did because by this time I could care less. what PG&E management

so you were taking up a collection

I was taking up a collection for Forrest and I made the statement on I wrote it in there that “let’s support Forrest Williams for the bold stand he made for all of us” and the plant engineer ended up sticking his finger in my face and he got within six inches of my nose and another employee testified to this of my unemployment insurance appealed board hearing and he said I said, “you get your finger out of my face right now” and he stuck it closer within six inches of my nose and said, this is my finger I will do with it what I want” and I left, I just, I can’t handle anymore of this place today, and I left without permission and that was a big problem. you gotta get permission to leave before you leave you know, now I just left, I couldn’t put up with that place and that night still stirring in my juices I called him and said don’t ever do that to me again.

Well meanwhile Bud Brown was working on that police report with the police of chief and the chief of police and there’s a lot more to that story but so that was designed to make me a security risk. it’s totally false information and then when I showed up Monday morning to work, within a minute or two of the work day that I was called to the front office and confronted about the phone call and you know without thinking I should have, yeah I made that phone call and this is exactly what happened, that’s what I should have done but I said, no I didn’t make that call, and so that’s what they hung their hat on, you know and you know when I was 28, 29 years old tor 28 years old and and just fed up with that place like you wouldn’t believe and everything that happened there

And when Don Widener was an NBC news producer and he won three Emmy Awards during the latter part of the sixties: Sea of Death, Slow Guillotine forget the name of the third one. then I got a call one day and from this fellow by the name of Don Widener who I did not know. He introduced himself and he said I want to do a documentary on nuclear power and I been reading about the troubles that you’ve been having with PG&E and Humboldt Bay power plant would you be willing to talk to me ? I said, sure, why not. I’ve been talking to everybody else. So we met, went up on Humboldt Hill, looked down over the plant and I had a long conversation with him about that place. and he, And I described about the reactor water samples becoming hotter and hotter and hotter and the same with the off gas samples, and I said, why do you suppose that the radiation levels in that plant climb so so high? I said, because it was a breakdown of the fuel cladding the initial loading of the reactor core with that cheap stainless steel fuelcladding over they chose that over the Zircaloy cladding that the Navy had already developed for its nuclear fleet in the late 50s. And so he said, well okay, and I gave him some other ideas about the kinds of things he might want to talk to them about and then he asked me who I would recommend for him to interview I said, well you know I doubt that they’ll allow anyone at the local plant to speak on camera with you, they’d probably bring somebody from 245 Market Street but if you can get somebody at the local plant, get the plant engineer and get either one of the two radiation protection engineers, either one and and so he did go into the plant and they had a pre-interview conference in the admin conference room and they walked out of there, PG&E management personnel walked out of there, believing that Widener wasn’t going to ask that question because it would require too much time for a 60-minute documentary and but guess what? Widener’s first real question was, what about this fuel cladding failure that you had, and it sent PG&E in a tissy. What happened was the Widener finished his work and ran it in this LA area, and PG&E came down hard on him, and long story short, they put the kibosh to Widener’s documentary. It was only been shown that one time, it’s never been shown again and they ruined his career. Widener sued PG&E because PG&E officials were accusing him of doing things that he did not do, which is things with the flow your note and then what happened to his case as it was dying on the vine and he called me and he said you know, Bob I got to do something here. My law firm in LA is falling apart on this thing because PG&E has worn him down with all their vast resources and the lead attorney I think that like the senior partner became a judge in LA and I said we’ll talk to David Pesonen in San Francisco and I explained to him that Pesonen had represented the Sierra Club at Bodega Bay and at Point Arena very successfully and he knows what PG&E is like so he’s not afraid to take them on and Widener checked around and verified what I said about Widener about Pesonen and took him on as an attorney and he won. He won an award for punitive damages that was up until that point in time the largest in the history of common law like eight or nine million dollars for punitive damages alone Of course the judge overturned it as being excessive and so it went up on appeal and a few years later they finally settled out of court for half a million bucks. Eventually he faded away and ended up with I think he had died of lung cancer. he passed away. Destroyed his career, absolutely destroyed his career

My Humboldt Diary, a true story of betrayal of the public trust.

More information:



http://santamariatimes.com/news/opini… http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Nu… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lJjbN… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=77vku… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yrphD…