Probe, Firing Cloud 'Safety Culture' at DOE's Nuclear Waste Site

"More than six years ago, a Department of Energy official wrote to Bechtel National, the company in charge of the design and construction of the most expensive environmental remediation project in the world.

The letter summarized a survey of workers and their belief that those who raised safety concerns would be 'targeted for future lay-off lists.' Safety is of paramount concern at the Hanford Site; the Washington state nuclear production complex is home to more than 50 million gallons of radioactive waste that is slated to undergo a first-of-its-kind treatment.

'Discussions between [the Office of River Management] and BNI management on these issues have demonstrated BNI's willingness to work to address these employee concerns,' ORM manager Roy Schepens wrote in the 2005 letter. 'In addition, the ORM recognizes the efforts BNI has made and continues to make to address the perception of a chilling effect in the workplace.' "

Emily Yehle reports for Greenwire July 22, 2011.

Source: Greenwire, 07/25/2011