NUCLEAR WARRIORS

TWO GUTSY ENGINEERS IN CONNECTICUT HAVE CAUGHT THE NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION AT A DANGEROUS GAME THAT IT HAS PLAYED FOR YEARS: ROUTINELY WAIVING SAFETY RULES TO LET PLANTS KEEP COSTS DOWN AND STAY

GEORGE BETANCOURT LOOKED UP FROM HIS DESK AS George Galatis burst into the office, a bundle of papers under his arm. On that morning in March 1992, the two men--both senior engineers at Northeast Utilities, which operates five nuclear plants in New England--were colleagues but not yet friends. Apart from their jobs and first names, they seemed to have little in common. Betancourt, 45, was extravagantly rebellious--beard, biker boots, ponytail sneaking out the back of his baseball cap--while Galatis, 42, was square-jawed and devout: Mr. Smith Goes Nuclear. But Galatis respected Betancourt's expertise and knew he could count on him for...

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