NBC stations reveal nuclear workers suffering severe brain damage — Toxic waste raining down from sky, wore baseball caps for protection — Brains being eaten away, teeth falling out — Workers raising safety issues framed using false evidence, fired — Gov’t agency not allowed in to investigate (VIDEO)

Published: June 6th, 2014 at 5:30 pm ET
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NBC Right Now, Apr. 30, 2014: Former Hanford Worker Sick from Nuclear Waste

  • Jane Sander, reporter: A nuclear waste spill happened hours before at the tank farm.
  • Lonnie Poteet, Hanford worker: I was already burning from my glove line to my t-shirt line and… starting to lose a little bit of vision in my right eye… Why didn’t they say something?
  • Sander: Poteet describes living his life now as recluse… sharp pains in his head, they cause him to often twitch. He says medication prevents him from collapsing in pain due to severe nerve damage in his brain.
  • Poteet: [More Hanford workers] are going to be exposed to the same situation… Nobody is going to do anything to stop it… As long as there’s profit… and they get their bonuses on a decent time, that’s all they care about… Most of the workers onsite right now are running scared. They will not bring up any safety concerns because as soon as you do, you’re going to be labeled and thrown off the site, just as fast as they can go. They’ll either create stuff that never happened, or they’ll find ways to get you.
  • Watch the broadcast here

NBC Right Now, June 5, 2014: Sick Former Hanford Worker Speaks Out

  • Jane Sander, reporter: He sadly lives his life with a deadly disease…
  • Lawrence Rouse, Hanford worker:  I have toxic encephalopathy… it eats your brain away.
  • Sander: Near the end of his almost 20 years at Hanford… he began to develop severe symptoms. Stuttering, memory loss, losing teeth…emotionally unstable…violent outbursts.
  • Rouse: [My son] wrote this letter, this little poem, and said that his dad is gone… It would rain the chemicals on you from the stack. That’s why we wore the baseball caps.
  • Sander: The Washington Dept. of Labor and DOE denied [compensation]… Since the [EEOICPA] program began in 2001, they’ve paid more than $1 billion in compensation and medical bills to [6,936 Hanford] workers…
  • Rouse: DOE has always denied everything. And that’s not going to change.
  • Sander: More Hanford workers continue to file claims for their illnesses.
  • Watch the broadcast here

KING 5 Seattle (NBC), June 4, 2014: It’s an unprecedented series of workplace accidents in the state. Since mid-March the number Hanford workers seeking medical help after breathing in chemical vapors has risen to 34.

  • Susannah Frame, reporter: Vapors causing serious illnesses at Hanford is not new… at the most contaminated workplace in the nation, OSHA can’t get past the gates to investigate.
  • Diana Gegg, Hanford worker: It’s turned my life upside down.
  • Frame: Brain damage, sudden tremors, vision loss, dementia – Illnesses the gov’t admits were caused by exposure… she can’t go out without a wheelchair, cook, or drive.
  • Watch the broadcast here
Published: June 6th, 2014 at 5:30 pm ET
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