NRC Bans Former Dresden Operators from Nuclear Sites After Robbery Plot

It's not every day the Nuclear Regulatory Commission issues a decision that involves an armored car heist.

Nonetheless, the agency recently issued orders to Exelon and two former workers at its Dresden nuclear plant who are accused of plotting just that. According to the NRC, senior reactor operator Michael J. Buhrman recruited Landon E. Brittain, another SRO, in a plan to rob an armored vehicle that never came together.

Michael J. Buhrman. Source: DuPage County Sheriff's Office Buhrman has since fled the country while on bail after his arrest following a separate instance of aggravated vehicular hijacking, and the NRC reported that Brittain is also facing criminal charges. Earlier this year, the Chicago Tribune reported that Buhrman was convicted in absentia and sentenced to 40 years for stealing a car from a woman at gunpoint while wearing a rubber mask. Inspired by a movie, police said, he also tried to assemble a team to rob banks and armored vehicles.

"The NRC concluded that Buhrman’s and Brittain’s actions while offsite demonstrated they could not be relied upon to adhere to NRC requirements to protect plant and public safety," read an agency statement released on Monday. Both men will no longer be allowed to work at NRC-licensed facilities.

Exelon was also cited by the agency for violations related to its behavioral observation program. Dresden coworkers who had heard of Buhrman's illegal plans were required by NRC rules to report them to plant management. The utility committed to making several improvements to that program through the NRC's alternative dispute resolution process.