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SEQUEL… STNP saga continues Things keep happening to keep the troubled South Texas Nuclear Project in the news \(Obs., and we’d be willing to bet there are a lot of people at Houston Lighting & Power Brown & Root \(the firm that’s building the current installment, we meet up with more charges, countercharges, investigations, and alleged defects. Dan Swayze, the fired former qual ity control inspector who featured prominently in the Observer’s July story, dropped his lawsuit against Brown & Roothe had alleged libel, slander, and wrongful dischargebut has continued to harass the firm with charges of sloppy construction and lax inspection. His most spectacular recent appearance was on the CBS News show “Magazine” on October 4, on which he repeated for a national audience the charges he’s been making for several months and added a new onethat he and the other Brown & Root quality control inspectors played a five-month card game two years ago instead of doing their jobs. This, he said, began when a Brown & Root construction foreman beat up one inspector and they all voted unanimously to stop doing anything but sign routine forms. Swayze said, “For five months we did no inspection whatsoever. We sat in our office. We had radios. When they wanted a [concrete] pour signed off, we went down. The man assigned to that area went down, ‘signed the pour card, came back, and played cards for the rest of the day.” Brown & Root, however, quickly produced records of 21 “deficiency and disposition reports” filed by inspectors on “safety-related concrete work” during the five months in question. These reports are filed when inspectors find things like construction flaws or errors, use of improper materials, or improper handling of materials. According to the Houston Post’s report, company spokesman Steve Grote pointed out that, “while records of inspection approvals would not necessarily disprove Swayze’s story, inspectors could hardly report deficiencies . .. unless they actually had made inspections.” The FBI investigation the Observer reported in July has been called off. At the behest of U.S. attorney Tony Canales of Houston, agents were looking into charges that quality control inspection documents have been falsified and that inspectors’ initials have been forged. They were also investigating a number of other things, including the circumstances surrounding the firing of Swayze and another inspector. Canales said he would take no action on the FBI’s findings but would forward them to the NRC. He has refused to comment further. New questions have been raised about the construction of an earthen dam ringing the power plant’s cooling lake. Harold Scarlett reported in the Houston Post in mid-October that George Leslie Waldron, a former construction worker who helped build the dam, has charged that improper material was used and believes that if it’s ever breached by heavy rains or a hurricane STNP would lose its vital supply of cooling water. The dam is a 13-mile long embankment stretching around the 7,000-acre cooling lake, and Waldron says he worked on its south section from March to early August of 1977, running an earth-moving machine called a scraper. According to Scarlett’s report: “Until the first week of July 1977, [Waldron] said, he was carefully scraping up inch-thick layers of approved, low-porosity clay to build the dam. ‘But then one day the foreman told us to start using anything for the dam as long as it didn’t have grass in it,’ Waldron said. He said that was the practice until -he quit the job a month later, leaving in disgust because ‘I didn’t want to be a part of anything like that.’ . . . In another section, he said, crews were using ‘just pure mud’ as the base of the dam: Waldron also charged that when the change in fill material was ordered, quality control inspections of the dam work became less frequent.” NRC spokesman Clyde Wisner told the Post that “the cooling lake is not a safety-related structure as far as the NRC is concerned,” and that the NRC did not inspect the dam’s construction and has no particular interest in Waldron’s allegation. Brown &Root has so far responded to Waldron’s challenge to drill bore-holes to test his claimhe has even offered to show the company where to drillby saying it’s not interested. And even after the October 31 collapse of a similar cooling lake designed by a Brown & Root subsidiary at a Florida power plant, HL&P announced it had no plans to recheck the STNP dam. But, at the urging of the Texas Public Interest Research Group, the state’s Public Utility Commission decided November 8 to look into the matter. PUC engineering and enforcement chief Tom Sweatman said he would check out Waldron’s allegations and the inspection procedures and then decide on the proper course of action. Of some bearing in the PUC’s interest is, apparently, the $10 million in damages caused by the Florida dam-break, a cost that will eventually be passed along to Florida rate payers. L.R. the legendary RAW DEAL Steaks, Chops, Chicken open lunch and evenings 605 Sabine, Austin No Reservations WATSON & COMPANY BOOKS 604 BLANCO STREET PECAN SQUARE AUSTIN THE TEXAS OBSERVER 15 PROOST! Duvet is an extraordinary Belgian ale, a “strong ale” twice fermented, naturally brewed with only Czechoslovakian hops . and Danish barley malt, blonde and incomparably smooth. It is the product of one of Europe’s last small family-run breweries, the Brouwerij Moortgat, and it is available outside of Europe in only one place, Texas. Try it! Distributed by Shiner Beer Distributing co. 204E 4th, Austin, Texas 78701