High-level whistleblower: Plutonium may cause explosion at Washington nuclear facility — Design manager warns of ‘dire’ consequences

Published: November 22nd, 2011 at 10:09 pm ET
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21 comments


Hanford Nuclear Waste’s Safety May Not Be Assured by U.S., Markey Says, Bloomberg, Nov. 21, 2011:

The U.S. Energy Department may not have adequately responded to safety questions and allegations of retaliation against whistle-blowers at a nuclear-waste treatment plant in Washington state, Representative Edward Markey said. […]

Hydrogen Bubbles

Walt Tamosaitis, a research manager at the treatment plant, was demoted after alerting Energy Department contractors in 2010 about his concerns that improper treatment of high-level waste might cause plutonium to settle and hydrogen-gas bubbles might form, leading to an explosion, according to Markey’s letter.

The agency “seems to be more interested in paying contractor fees than in paying attention to safety concerns or to those who are disciplined for raising them,” Markey said today in a statement. […]

Listen to a report featuring Tamosaitis’ ordeal here: http://www.kuow.org/mp3high/mp3/News/20110705_AK_Tamo.mp3

  • Now he shares an office in the basement with a production printer
  • Used to direct $500 million budget
  • 53 million gallons of radioactive waste stored in aging underground tanks
  • Security badge striped, escorted out of building
  • Feds and contractors safety culture is broken
  • If things go wrong in mixing vessels, consequences could be dire
  • Allegations strongly backed up by federal safety board
  • A very high-level  manager
Published: November 22nd, 2011 at 10:09 pm ET
By

21 comments

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  1. Coverup? Safety manager at Washington nuclear site: Criticality could be probable — Worried about hydrogen explosion — Up to 13 times more plutonium than thought, like 20+ Nagasaki bombs January 17, 2012
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  3. NPR: Newly leaked report warns plutonium levels at Hanford may be much higher than claimed — “The Columbia River is at stake, all of that area and its vitality” says Washington Governor January 18, 2012
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21 comments to High-level whistleblower: Plutonium may cause explosion at Washington nuclear facility — Design manager warns of ‘dire’ consequences

  • Mack Mack

    This is outrageous. He should have been given a raise and promotion, not demoted.

    40 years of experience and a PhD, and he was stripped of his security badge and escorted out of the building.

    He has two lawsuits pending. I hope he wins them both.

  • Mack Mack

    Time to trot out this video of nuclear whistleblower, Ann Harris.

    Begin listening @41 minutes.

    Whistleblowers (generally) provide more truth than you’ll get anywhere else.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=77vkuPtqN4A

  • ENENEWS Staff

    I think everybody can paste in youtube embed codes and it will show up here… on youtube click ‘share’ then ’embed’ and paste the code into your comment.

  • dpl dpl

    Now that the country is broker then a FUKU power plant. where’s all the money to clean super funds sites like 40 year old Hanford dumping grounds. hint: there will be blood. We’ll be selling that waste to terrorist before too long there’s your cleanup. Whistle blowing what’s the point of that no money,no cleanup,no review , no oversight and no DOE inspector general.

  • Novamind

    Too close to Home! It has scared and continues to scare the Pacific Northwest region.

  • And, here I am drinking wine from the Yakima Valley (right beside Hanford).

  • BreadAndButter BreadAndButter

    Dear all, for everyone interested about the latest concerning the current nuclear waste transport from La Hague (France) to Goerleben (northern Germany), have a look at the Castorticker:
    http://www.castorticker.de
    The google translation to English works fine!
    Currently, the train hasn’t started yet, but already several French protesters have been arrested, police with special forces using pepperspray and sound grenades….
    Protesters have bent the tracks, so it seems repais are necessary to allow the train to leave.
    It’s going to be a hot November weekend, just like last year.
    NO NUKES!!

  • NoPrevarication NoPrevarication

    Rest assured that after a couple of years, he will be quietly fired. Whistle blowers always lose their jobs, but not immediately.

  • markww markww

    FROM A SAFETY STANDPOINT—– > I worked in Safety for years, I have seen companies trim and lay off most safety and safety inspectors USA WIDE in the last 10 years.Management said ok we are safe now lay the safety people off, which many many companies did.Ever since I knew the unsafe conditions would come back like
    Bp Refinery explosions & Deep water Horizon Explosions, and now nuclear facilities.

    Management needs to sit down and do the repairs bring their facilities up to date OR face Jail and Murder charges because we all know sooner or later it is going to get bad.

  • LucidTV

    Another good whistle blower video:

    Uploaded by laborvideo on Jun 6, 2011
    General Electric nuclear plant inspector Kei Sugaoka was one of the inspectors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in 2000. He noticed a crack in the steam dryer which he videotaped. He was later ordered by Tokyo Electric Power Company TEPCO to edit this part of the tape which is illegal in the United States. He went public and some TEPCO managers were fired. He thought that things would change but they have not. Additionally, as a result of being a whistleblower he was also laid off by General Electric and has been struggling to get the truth out about these dangerous plants. Sugaoka has inspected plants throughout the world including in Taiwan and Europe.

    This interview was done on May 5, 2011.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fBjiLaVOsI4&feature=
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/27/world/asia/27collusion.html?hpw
    http://www.baycitizen.org/disasters/story/inside-japans-failing-nuclear-react
    http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20040523x2.html
    http://www.veteranstoday.com/2011/03/28/from-hiroshima-to-fukushima-1945-2011/

    Category:
    News & Politics
    Tags:
    radioactive earthquakes Fukushima injured workers health and safety TEPCO General Electic

  • Fred

    In order to receive an operating license for any plant, the corporate headquarters must be relocated directly adjacent to the downwind side of the oldest or most troublesome plant the corporation owns. The top 10 operating officers must be moved into company owned mansions directly adjacent to the new headquarters, downwind of the reactors, with their families. This will move the company brass away from the politicians and closer to their problems. Plant safety will be JOB ONE, instantly. Regulation will be unnecessary. Each month, one of the top 10 operating officers must spend a week living in a nice motorhome parked within 500 feet of all the other licensed reactors.

    Safety problems will evaporate once several CEOs die of leukemia, cancers and heart disease, creating the NEED to fix the problems….

    • Joe Ebslap Joe Ebslap

      Interesting concept. On a recent trip to Ireland a woman told me they had a huge problem with pharmaceutical waste in the rivers until they passed a law that all waste discharge must occur upstream of the plant. They suddenly figured out how to clean things up…