Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Energy Department To Allow Contractors To Police Their Own Workplace Safety Conditions

One more:

Employees of the Department of Energy and the 100,000 workers employed by DOE contractors who maintain the nuclear arsenal, dismantle surplus weapons, dispose of excess radioactive materials, clean up old facilities and conduct energy research are not covered by OSHA. This lack of independent oversight has had predictable results over the past fifty years.

Thousand of "nuclear veterans" received deadly radiation and toxic chemical exposures building this nation's cold war nuclear arsenal, and others were subject of human radiation experiments. Despite the research and warnings of unions, such as the Oil Chemical and Atomic Workers, that their members were becoming sick and dying, the hazards of these facilities and the effects on their employees were ignored for decades. In 2000, after DOE admitted the harm caused to thousands of cold war veterans, Congress finally passed the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Act (EEOICPA) which established a compensation program for former nuclear workers.

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Comments:
Yes! I love it when a plan comes together. Now WE can determine when we are running our new Super Plutonium Production Plant safely (which will be always, of course), and not some sniveling outsider.

Did I mention that I love LANS?
 
The UC Auditor, Patrick Reed, testifing (below) before Congress regarding reliance UC placed on LANL management reporting it's own shortcomings. The DOE now, once again, shows how corrupt and inept it has become. It's way overdue for this worthless agency to be put out of its misery. What a waste of taxpayer money!

http://energycommerce.house.gov/108/action/108-14.pdf

"Mr. Stupak: Is it really good business practice to have auditors reporting to the people the audit?"
"Mr. Reed: No."
"Mr. Tupack: Why did it happen at Los Alamos then?"

URL: http://energycommerce.house.gov/108/action/108-14.pdf
 
As mentioned by HeyBaby..., DOE has been very inept in managing and has become so risk averse that ANY scenario that can be postulated must be proven impossible or work cannot be done.

No matter what slogan we adopt (Zero Accidents!), it will be no more than an ideal. Stuff will happen, and fee-based penalties may be much more effective in reducing "real" problems than hysterical DOE/NNSA staff ever could be.

So, I am personally hopeful that the reduced oversight paradigm may actually work. However, it will depend on the cooperation of a whole bunch of career federal employees that have litte or no motivation to make it work.
 
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