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Employee Sues Indian Point Nuclear Plant, Claims Inadequate And Lax Security Conditions

The Indian Point nuclear power plant - Buchanan, NY (file / credit: DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)

The Indian Point nuclear power plant – Buchanan, NY (file/credit: DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)

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BUCHANAN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A security lieutenant at New York’s Indian Point nuclear power complex has filed a lawsuit claiming the plant is unsecure, and that staffers regularly watch DVDs, play video games and sleep on the job.

Clifton “Skip” Travis filed the $1.5 billion lawsuit against three supervisors and Entergy, which owns the plant. Travis claims there’s been inadequate training following the installation of a new monitoring system, which he claimed was rushed into place back in February to avoid fines by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

“There is a security culture that ‘It will not happen here’ and that is absolutely unacceptable. We are responsible for protecting the lives of 20 million people with the 50-mile radius of this facility,” Travis told CBS 2’s Lou Young.

WCBS 880’s Monica Miller reports

“His main concern is the security and safety of the 20 million people who live within the 50 mile meltdown zone at Indian Point,” said Travis’ attorney Amy Bellantoni. “He made numerous complaints internally. He made complaints to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, that regulates and oversees Indian Point. He made complaints to and met with representatives from the office of the governor and the attorney general’s office.”

Travis still works at the plant, but says he’s been marginalized over his security criticism.

The suit claims the plant, about 50 miles north of New York City, routinely fails anti-terrorism drills and “terrorists,” during mock assaults, end up taking over their targets.

Spokesman Jim Steets says Entergy invested more than $100 million in the last 10 years on security and the federal government has deemed it secure.

“We believe it is perhaps the most secure nuclear plant in the country,” Streets said.

“In fact we use very sophisticated equipment that simulates real gunfire and really enhances our ability to evaluate how well our security officers do. This is sophisticated equipment used by the military,” Streets told WCBS 880’s Monica Miller. “We’ve had multiple exercises and drills, and according to the NRC we have satisfactorily completed those drills.”

The staggering amount Travis is suing for, his attorney said, is to force a change in corporate behavior, although a jury could award more, less or nothing.

“Money is the only thing they understand and to effectuate change, you’ve got to hit them in the pocket,” said Travis’ attorney Amy Bellantoni.

The company says it hadn’t yet been served with the suit.

Are you concerned about security at Indian Point? What do you make of the lawsuit? Sound off in our comments section below.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)