Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Safety official claims he was forced to transfer

Safety official claims he was forced to transfer Government aims to silence his criticism of oversight, man says By Heather Clark The Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE — A senior safety officer for the National Nuclear Security Administration says he’s been reassigned because government higher-ups want to silence his criticism of safety oversight at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Chris Steele, 47, said Monday that the Depart
ment of Energy’s NNSA reassigned him from his job overseeing safety at the nuclear-weapons lab to a position that oversees safety training at facilities across the country.

The reassignment came despite his request to remain in his old position.

He said he was notified during the first week
of April, about a week after a meeting with NNSA officials in which he criticized a two-year pilot project that would shift some safety oversight from the federal government to the management contractor at Los Alamos lab.

Steele said he told NNSA officials the shift would be “unsafe, unethical, immoral and just plain wrong.”

He fears his leaving an already depleted safety office at Los Alamos lab will adversely affect safety there, he said.

The new job is “a trick to get me out of here,” Steele said. He initially turned down the job but was told he had to take it.

[...]

Full Story

Comments:
Not to worry. Next month Steele will become one of those "at-will" employees, whereupon he will be properly disposed of. Maybe you should start a blog, Chris.
 
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The whole system is corrupt, and those we elect to office are to blame, along with ourselves for keeping them in office for way, way too long. As a result there is no accountability, no sense of fair play, no nothing. Mindless complacency has become the norm. We are now in a new "dark age" of fear-induced ignorance. I never wanted to accept the notion that the Great Society once envisioned for humanity is dead and buried. I always thought enlightened people, like those working at LANL, would never let that happen. But when I look around and see my colleagues asleep, in denial, unwilling to get involved...I see how far we've deteriorated as human beings. Mr. Steel is a hero, the silent masses that worm their way around him are just living reminders of our failures as species.
 
I must be missing something...
1) Chris Steele is a Fed - not a LANL or UC on LANS employee. So "at will" has nothing to do with him.
2) People who don't know him may believe he is an innocent whistleblower. In fact, he has been an obstacle to any progress on issues relating to nuclear waste and nuclear facility. He has played infinite "bring me a rock" games with LANL personnel who sincerely did their best to comply, but ended up with "one more requirement" from Steele that came out of nowhere. When his superiors at LASO tried to step in, he claimed whistle blower status, stalling his departure. If this megalomaniac stays here, he will continue to prevent any progress in issues that require nuclear safety compliance.
 
Please join us for the retirement party at Cheeks on Saturday night.

I will be driving.
 
LC001 points out Steele "played infinite "bring me a rock" games with LANL personnel who sincerely did their best to comply, but ended up with "one more requirement."

Wow...sounds like he possesses the key requisite skill for a manager!
 
llc001 and others would have you believe that the only reason LANL has problems with nuclear safety is that Steele, and others at the DOE, are meddling. If we would simply leave LANL alone, everything would be wonderful. What a bunch of BS!!! Leaving LANL alone has been tried and this ended with Admiral Watkins and the Tiger Team, when they found LANL totally screwed up. Remember Al Tiedman and "Al's dirty pictures"? Screwed up hardly describes it.

LANL has been trying to avoid oversight ever since, rather than cleaning up their act. Or, maybe, they can't clean up their act? Incompetence covers a lot of sins.

This is not simply Steele. The DOE IG office and the Defense Nuclear Safety Board (DNFSB) also have a lot of concerns with LANL performance. Lets eliminate them too!!! LANL will be happy when there is no oversight which looks carefully into their operations; when "oversight" relies on LANL to report on its own problems, which they will do of course. Sorry, we tried that to, and found their "self assessments" are really coverups.

The essential problem with oversight at LANL is that of lies; LANL lies. When you find that someone is lying you must put in your own people to find out what is going on. As Reagan said, "trust but verify". As LANL says "trust us". The reason not to trust LANL is their own record. llc001, and LANL would have us forget all that. They are getting their way it seems.
 
"lucky" just doesn't have a clue. In order to resolve a problem, LANL needs to comply to an explicit set of rules and regulations, set by DOE. When a person such as Steele invents them on the fly, it removes any ability to put facilities in working order.
 
From: http://www.thenation.com/doc/20060501/phillips

Theocons and Theocrats
by KEVIN PHILLIPS

"Beyond the judiciary, pressure for theological correctness became overt in federal government relationships with the varieties of science--from climatology to geology, and even entomology--that can conflict with the Book of Genesis. For the growing number of elected officials who uphold Genesis, the Almighty, not carbon dioxide, brings about climate change. The consequences here go far beyond the evolution-doubting books being sold by the National Park Service or inconvenient information about climate change or caribou habitats in oil lands being deleted from government websites. In Texas, where the cotton industry is plagued by a moth in which an immunity to pesticides has evolved, a frustrated entomologist commented, "It's amazing that cotton growers are having to deal with these pests in the very states whose legislatures are so hostile to the theory of evolution. Because it is evolution they are struggling against in their fields every season." Meanwhile, the bigger message--depressingly reminiscent of our imperial predecessors--is that science in the United States is already in trouble. Irving Weissman, a stem-cell researcher, told the Boston Globe, "You are going to start picking up Nature and Science and all the great [research] journals, and you are going to read about how South Koreans and Chinese and Singaporeans are making advances that the rest of us can't even study."

Part of the explanation involves the religious right's larger view of economic matters and dismantling of government. In the radical Texas Republican platform adopted in 2004, the Lone Star GOP was not content to call for abolishing the Environmental Protection Agency and the Energy Department; it also demanded abolition of the Internal Revenue Service and elimination of the income tax, the inheritance tax, the gift tax, the capital-gains levy, the corporate income tax, the payroll tax and state and local property taxes."
 
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