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Feds Back Whistleblower in Suit Over TVA Plant Safety Firing

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In a decision made public on Sept. 28, a U.S. Labor Dept. review board ruled a whistleblower was fired in retaliation for raising safety concerns at the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Browns Ferry nuclear power complex in northern Alabama. In a 16-page decision, the panel overruled a department administrative law judge who had sided with Stone & Webster, the contractor working in 2004 to restart one of the generating station’s units. The firm fired James Speegle, a painter, when he raised concerns to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission about protective coatings being used in the plant’s cooling systems. The firm, now owned by The Shaw Group Inc., Baton Rouge, contended that Speegle was fired for other reasons. The case now heads to a judge to decide how much compensation Speegle should receive.

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