Taxpayer-Funded Suppression of Nuclear Safety Whistleblower

 

The largest environmental cleanup project in the United States is the effort to stabilize the highly radioactive nuclear waste stored at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, also known as the Hanford Site. The Hanford Site opened in 1943 as part of the Manhattan Project. This site produced plutonium for the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki and continued producing plutonium for our vast nuclear weapons arsenal throughout the Cold War.

Now that the Hanford Site’s 53 million gallons of highly radioactive waste is leaking out of outdated storage tanks, the federal government is spending billions per year to deal with radioactive waste cleanup and the construction of a waste treatment plant intended to more safely store the nuclear waste. The Department of Energy awarded Bechtel National the primary contract for overseeing the construction of this new waste treatment plant at the Hanford Site. However, “whistleblowers have exposed severe safety, design and management problems” concerning the under-construction waste treatment plant.

When Dr. Walter Tamosaitis, the former research and technology manager for the waste treatment plant, blew the whistle on safety concerns relating to Bechtel and other contractors “that were ultimately determined legitimate and led to changes in the plant’s design,” the Department of Energy decided to use taxpayer dollars to publically finance the multinational contractors’ litigation expenses to suppress this environmental whistleblower. Anyone interested in taking action on this issue should check out the Hanford Challenge website.

 

 

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