The bigwigs in charge of the $12.2 billion nuclear cleanup effort at Hanford aggressively prevent workers from raising safety concerns, and if they do, punish them for it.
That's one of the conclusions drawn in a biting new report by the federal Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board.
The report follows an investigation by the DNFSB that was started after Hanford contractor Dr. Walter Tamosaitis was demoted for raising concerns that the cleanup effort had major flaws that could lead to a radiation leak or even a full-scale meltdown.
The board found both that Tamosaitis' worries were well-founded and that his demotion from his job is par for the course when it comes to the way Hanford's supervisors treat anyone who dares to criticize them.
. . . the investigative record convinces the Board that the safety culture at WTP [waste treatment plant] is in need of prompt, major improvement and that corrective actions will only be successful and enduring if championed by the Secretary of Energy. The successful completion of WTP's mission to remove and stabilize high-level waste from the tank farms is essential to protect the health and safety of the public and workers at Hanford. However, the flawed safety culture currently embedded in the project has a substantial probability of jeopardizing that mission.