The threat of UFOs compromising reactor security, as if the nuclear industry didn’t have enough to deal with already, became a very real concern in 1984.
Although of- ficials won’t admit it, several researchers have information That New York’s Indian Point Reactor complex endured such a UFO problem during the long siege of sightings that happened throughout the state’s Hudson Valley area. The portrayal of the event in this article is based primarily on the disclosures of unnamed sources.
The summer of 1984 was a troublesome season for authorities at the Indian Point nuclear reactor complex in Buchanan, New York. Two UFO appearances, one of which was verified by Carl Patrick, director of nuclear information for the New York Power Authority (NYPA), and later documented by the press and the 1987 book Night Siege, apparently put the normally tight security of the plant to a severe test.
The first event entailed the brief flyover of a huge craft, witnessed by three security policemen on June 14. That was followed ten days later by a UFO incident of unprecedented impact. It was one of hundreds of UFO sightings in the Hudson Valley, but one the nuclear workers won’t soon forget.
“Here comes that UFO again!” an Indian Point security guard is said to have yelled on the night of July 24, 1984, alerting other security personnel by way of the plant’s internal communications system.
A UFO, variously described as looking like “an ice cream cone” and “boomerang,” had lazily drifted over to Reactor #3-the only active reactor at the time-lingering about 300 feet above the domed construction for some ten minutes, sending security officials into an uproar.
Now, six years later, the principal UFO researcher on the case admits that many aspects of the event remain confusing and undisclosed. And although he’s still receiving information, Philip Imbrogno calls his own lengthy investigation “stagnant.”
“Every time new information comes up or I get a lead on something, I get very reluctant to deal with it again,” said Imbrogno, who heads the science department at the Windward School in White Plains, New York. “The entire case has caused me quite a bit of pressure . . .
The event would indicate that whatever appeared over there, our state-of-the-art technology in defense was unable to deal with it.” He suggests that from what his sources have said, a military aspect came into play. The Indian Point UFO represented an intolerable security breach. Military customers?
Imbrogno says that it is precisely that aspect which has had a lasting effect, and which has generated repercussions that continue to this day. But according to the New York Power Authority, which oversees the reactor complex, Indian Point itself has no direct military customers. Reactor #3 primarily services local and state facilities in New York City and Westchester County, including local school districts, the New York City subway systems and some of New York’s trains.
Most importantly, in Imbrogno’s mind, are several military installations in and around Duchess County, which allegedly get their power from Indian Point. According to his sources, these are primarily satellite receiving stations, and “a number of other military operations of which we can only guess,” Imbrogno says.
The official agency overseeing the reactor complex is the New York Power Authority, although Consolidated Edison has jurisdiction over Reactor #2 and is sold use of #3 for extensive transmissions to New York residential users and, perhaps, military facilities such as Camp Smith, an Air National Guard base located north of Peekskill. (Reactor #l is inactive.)
It was NYPA whose officials apparently spent considerable human energy trying to dissuade Imbrogno from writing about the July 24 event, concerned he would release information vital to the plant’s security. “I think other agencies were using (the NYPA) to harass me,” he said, noting that he was constantly subjected to their repetitive phone calls, threatening that he would be forced to appear at a hearing on the incident.
(He was never subpoenaed, but Imbrogno subsequently, and perhaps coincidentally, was audited by the IRS four times.)
The compulsion to publish was undeniable; of what may have been as many as 70 UFO witnesses among Indian Point personnel, a number quietly sought out Imbrogno, and on the condition of anonymity provided him with the vital facts which led to the production of Night Siege (co-written with Bob Pratt and J. Allen Hynek.)
“My sources involve people who work in security for the plant and also people in secretarial and janitorial positions,” he said.
“The only problem is that getting anything on paper- documentation, something official-is very, very hard, I have unofficial confirmation right now that a number of documents pertaining to the sighting do exist at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.”
Normally, NRC records can be opened to the public under terms of the Freedom of Information Act, but when he in- quired, Imbrogno was informed that the documents were being held at the reactor complex, and as such were protected under national security regulations.
“It’s a joint sort of thing,” he said, “In other words, although the NRC is pretty open to the public, if they want to keep a document classified, they’ll store it with another agency. I have an inside secretarial source who’s actually seen the documents filed.”
The NYPA’s Patrick denies that any such documentation exists, and dismisses the incident by claiming that all Hudson Valley UFO sightings were later identified as light aircraft. There was no videotape taken by on-site surveillance cameras, Patrick insists, or audio recording of oral communications, both pieces of evidence which Imbrogno strongly feels do exist and are being retained somewhere.
According to Imbrogno’s sources, a security shake-up ensued the very next day. “A number of agencies came in, including the NRC and military personnel, and they supposedly cleaned out everything. You have to remember that with nuclear reactors, you’re only going to get 10 percent of the real story. They’re overly terrified of bad publicity, and are really afraid of the anti-nuclear groups, which can cause trouble. Anything that happens is immediately covered up, including UFO sightings.”
Imbrogno further alleges that shortly after the UFO infringement, a crack in the reactor’s casing was discovered. The public didn’t hear about such a situation until a year later; the NYPA’s Patrick denied any “crack,” although he did recall a time when Reactor #2 may have developed an “irregularity.”
Imbrogno says, “[Indian Point officials] made a public statement that operations were not affected, that everything was normal. But I’ve been told by several people that they lost power, the security system dropped, and the reactor controls went crazy. Apparently it was caused by the UFO.”
No way, says the NYPA.
“Any implication that the sightings of these [light aircraft] in any way affected Reactor #3 is false”, Patrick said. Imbrogno’s sources indicate otherwise. Supposedly, a mass of sophisticated, high-accuracy tracking equipment was installed at the complex, enabling security to quickly generate a computer image of whatever aircraft might be affecting the equipment.
Apparently such problems are still going on. Patrick would not comment on what kinds of security equipment protect Indian Point, but stressed that nothing new has been installed since the incident.
Imbrogno is also suspicious that the armed security forces at the site may have had reason to attempt firing on the craft, again an allegation flatly refuted by the NYPA. “I know a number of helicopters with rocket launchers were sent up and followed the craft for some distance,” Imbrogno commented, citing his anonymous sources for the info. “When these helicopters went on their way, the object moved off and started crossing the Hudson, and disappeared up north.”
Officials will not talk to Imbrogno, nor answer his letters, he says. UFO spoke with Cliff Spieler, vice president at the New York Power Authority. He, like Patrick, basically dismisses the entire affair. “Having looked into this thing and living two miles from Indian Point, think the UFO reports are nonsense,” he said.
“All Hudson Valley UFO sightings] are linked to small planes flying out of Duchess County.”
At one time, officials speaking for Indian Point made their position quite clear to Imbrogno, “They said, ‘you can cooperate with us, or you don’t have to cooperate with us. If you don’t cooperate with us, you have to face the consequences, because you are dealing in an area of national security. The incident that took place over there involved national security because it was a breach of security at a nuclear reactor.’ But they weren’t ready to say who was breaching security!”
In considering the “who,” Imbrogno took in a number of hypotheses, including the possibility that the incident was an elaborate test flight of a secret military craft, such as the B-2 Stealth bomber, or a covertly-planned contingency test of the plant’s security operations, carried out under the guise of a UFO overflight.
Nothing is impossible, he’ll admit. But the most tenable answer, he feels, is that the UFO was an extraterrestrial craft. “I don’t think our government could be so bold with a craft of the kind that appeared at Indian Point,” he said.
“Talking to these security people, and looking into their eyes,” his voice trailed,” . . . they tell a story of this one cop who got up on the roof below the UFO, and the thing started moving a little bit. He pulled out his gun, looked at it, then put the gun back in his holster and ducked!
The people who were telling these stories are not familiar with the UFO literature. If I really wanted to go into this, with no fear of what would happen to me, I’m sure there’s an incredible story here.
I am still being given information about certain things going on there-In the nighttime, people seeing little creatures coming through the walls of the casing on the reactor, and military personnel indicating ‘we’re aware of these creatures and we don’t care if they’re from outer space-shoot ’em!’
On a newscast on Channel 7 in New York, they were interviewing one guy, and he said, ‘I saw it going over the reactor! I think they’re sucking the power from it! That’s what they’re doing!’ But a civilization that has this type of vehicle- any intelligence, whatever it is-I’m sure doesn’t need nuclear energy.”
Editor’s Note: In a letter to UFO shortly after this article was written, Imbrogno added to his remarks.
“It is hard to believe that people like John Lear and Bill Cooper are revealing ‘top secret’ information with little or no repercussions. I just poked my nose a little too deep into an area of national security and got my ears pinned back for it. My next step is to approach this in a legal way by asking for an investigation (preferably by a member of Congress) to find out how and why the security at this government reactor was violated and why information is being withheld.”