– Whistleblower fired from US nuke site (PressTV, Feb 19, 2014):
A whistleblower who raised safety concerns at the US most polluted nuclear weapons production site has been fired.
Donna Busche, 50, was dismissed from the Hanford Nuclear Reservation on Tuesday morning after she filed a complaint about design and safety of an unfinished waste treatment plant at the factory, the Associated Press reports.
Busche worked for URS Corp., which is helping build a $12 billion plant to turn Hanford’s most dangerous wastes into glass. She has filed complaints with the federal government, alleging she has suffered retaliation since filing her original safety complaint in 2011.
The Hanford Site was created before World War II as part of the United States’ top-secret atomic bomb project. Now, it is the most US contaminated nuclear site located on the Columbia River in the state of Washington, with cleanup costs running around $2 billion annually.
The plant is trying to clean up 53 million gallons of highly radioactive waste left from decades of plutonium production for nuclear weapons arsenal. According to AP, the waste is stored in 177 aging underground tanks, many of which have leaked.
The Department of Energy, which owns Hanford, said it is investigating Busche’s safety concerns, according to the report. The department said in a news release that it was not informed of the firing and that it “was not asked to and did not approve this action.”
The Department of Labor also is reviewing Busche’s complaints about retaliation and harassment.
Busche is the second Hanford whistleblower to be fired in recent months. Walter Tamosaitis, who also raised safety concerns about the plant, was fired in October after 44 years of employment.