CBS 2 HD's three-month investigation into the security gap at our nation's nuclear facilities yielded some shocking information and video, and now officials have told CBS 2 first that the contract with the major security firm that hired the guards will be terminated.
The video shows the inside of the nation's largest nuclear facilities. There are images of security officers responsible for protecting the plant against a terrorist attack, an attack that could kill or injure tens of thousands, including people here in our area.
But instead of being alert and prepared for anything, the officers are asleep and unaware a fellow guard is videotaping these disturbing images shot at different times of the day.
The officers work at Peach Bottom Nuclear Plant just outside of Philadelphia. Although it may seem they're on break, the reality is they're all on duty, carrying guns, wearing flak jackets and sitting in what's called a ready room, which is named that because it's just steps from the nuclear reactors.
The men and women who work here are supposed to be "at the ready" to protect and defend the facility against a terrorist attack.
"Some of these officers should have been patrolling the facility, a former security officer told CBS 2 HD.
The former officer at Peach Bottom was once a member of the team, but he left his job and requested we not reveal his identity.
"Certainly, every one of these officers should have been wider awake and ready to go," the officer said.
Peter Stockton is with a government watchdog group. He says if terrorists were able to get past these guards and sabotage the nuclear reactors the result could be disastrous and deadly.
"It's outrageous that they're not ready to go," Stockton said.
Experts tell CBS 2 HD radiation from a nuclear fire that starts at Peach Bottom would spread and could kill thousands of people as far away as Washington D.C. and New York City. And it could leave 188 square miles uninhabitable.
This incident isn't the only time workers have been caught sleeping on the job. Just a few weeks ago, a federal inspector at Indian Point in Westchester County discovered a security guard fast asleep at his post.
Back at Peach Bottom's ready room, an hour passed and the security officers still appeared to still be fast sleep.
CBS 2 HD brought the tape to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the federal agency which overseas the nation's nuclear power plants.
"Clearly we're concerned about what we saw," said Sam Collins, NRC administrator for Region 1.
"What we saw is not aligned with our expectations and we will pursue it on that basis."
Exelon is the billion-dollar company which owns Peach Bottom and other nuclear power plants across the country. The security officers shown on the video are all employees of Wackenhut, a security firm that is contracted out to manage the guards. Wackenhut also provides security for major federal agencies including NASA and the Army. It also serves more than half of the country's commercial nuclear power plants.
After we brought our tape to Exelon, its chief operating officer made a stunning announcement during our interview.
When asked if Peach Bottom will continue to use Wackenhut to manage the guards, Christopher Crane said, "It is in the process of transitioning to termination."