Second Whistleblower Fired from Hanford Nuclear Site

Hanford Site A second whistleblower at the troubled Hanford Nuclear Power Reservation in Washington State is out of a job. The facility is owned by the Department of Energy, and it’s undergoing a multi-billion-dollar clean-up.

Her employer denies the woman’s firing was tied to her ongoing complaints about safety concerns.  Does anybody out there really believe that? 

The Associated Press/AJC.com:

SPOKANE, Wash: Whistle-blower Donna Busche, who raised safety concerns at the nation’s most polluted nuclear weapons production site, was fired Tuesday from her job at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

Busche’s complaints are part of a string of whistle-blower and other claims related to the design and safety of an unfinished waste treatment plant at Hanford.

Busche, 50, said she was called into the office Tuesday morning and told she was being fired for cause.

“I turned in my key and turned in my badge and left the building,” Busche told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from Richland.

Busche worked for URS Corp., which is helping build a $12 billion plant to turn Hanford’s most dangerous wastes into glass. Construction of the plant has been halted over safety concerns. Busche has filed complaints with the federal government, alleging she has suffered retaliation since filing her original safety complaint in 2011.

Hanford was created by the federal government in the 1940s as part of the top-secret project to build the atomic bomb, and cleanup costs today run about $2 billion annually.

Central to the cleanup is dealing with 53 million gallons of highly radioactive waste left from decades of plutonium production for the nation’s nuclear weapons arsenal. The waste is stored in 177 aging underground tanks, many of which have leaked, threatening the groundwater and the neighboring Columbia River.

The U.S. Department of Energy is investigating Busche’s safety concerns, while the U.S. Department of Labor is reviewing her complaints about retaliation and harassment.

URS Corp. said in a statement it encourages employees to raise safety concerns.

“We do not agree with her assertions that she suffered retaliation or was otherwise treated unfairly,” URS said, adding Busche was fired for reasons unrelated to the safety concerns. “Ms. Busche’s allegations will not withstand scrutiny.”

The Energy Department, which owns Hanford, said it was informed of the firing after the fact. “The department was not asked to and did not approve this action,” the agency said in a news release.

A one-of-a-kind plant is being built to convert the waste into glasslike logs for permanent disposal underground, but it has faced numerous technical problems, delays and cost increases.

Busche is the second Hanford whistle-blower to be fired by URS in recent months. Walter Tamosaitis, who also raised safety concerns about the plant, was fired in October after 44 years of employment.

Busche, who worked at the plant for nearly five years, said she had been expecting to be fired for the past month.

“Right now I will take a deep breath, file for unemployment and start another lawsuit for wrongful termination,” Busche said.

She declined to reveal her salary but called herself a “highly compensated executive.” Busche was a manager of environmental and nuclear safety at the waste treatment plant construction site, and her primary job was ensuring compliance with dangerous waste permits and safety documents.

Tom Carpenter of the watchdog group Hanford Challenge called Busche’s firing an act of desperation.

“They couldn’t make her leave,” Carpenter said. “Hanford’s war on whistle-blowers has taken a new victim.”

Busche worked at Energy Department nuclear complexes her entire career, generally in nuclear safety, quality assurance or regulatory compliance.

Busche filed her most recent complaint in November, alleging she has suffered retaliation by URS and Bechtel National Inc., the plant’s main contractor. She filed the new complaint with the Labor Department.

About Ask Marion

I am a babyboomer and empty nester who savors every moment of my past and believes that it is the responsibility of each of us in my generation and Americans in general to make sure that America is as good or even a better place for future generations as it was for us. So far... we haven't done very well!! Favorite Quotes: "The first 50 years are to build and acquire; the second 50 are to leave your legacy"; "Do something that scares you every day!"; "The journey in between what you once were and who you are becoming is where the dance of life really takes place". At age 62 I find myself fighting inoperable uterine Cancer and thanks to the man upstairs and the prayers from so many people including many of my readers from AskMarion and JustOneMorePet... I'm beating it. After losing our business because of the economy and factors related to the re-election of President Obama in 2012 followed by 16-mos of job hunting, my architect-trained husband is working as a trucker and has only been home approximately 5-days a month since I was diagnosed, which has made everything more difficult and often lonely... plus funds are tight. Our family medical deductible is 12K per year for two of us; thank you ObamaCare. But thanks to donations from so many of you, we are making ends meet as I go through treatment while taking care of my father-in-law who is suffering from late stage Alzheimer's and my mother-in-law who suffers from RA and onset dementia as well as hearing loss, for which there are no caretaker funds, as I continue the fight here online to inform and help restore our amazing country. And finally I need to thank a core group of family, friends, and readers... all at a distance, who check in with me regularly. Plus, I must thank my furkids who have not left my side through this fight. You can see them at JustOneMorePet.
This entry was posted in Alerts, Asshats, Big Brother, Choices, Get Involved, Knowledge Is Power, Lies, manipulation of the public, News and politics, Stand Up, Strength, Wake Up, Watch the Other Hand. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Second Whistleblower Fired from Hanford Nuclear Site

  1. Pingback: BREAKING: Missouri Senate Votes to Nullify Federal Gun Control | askmarion

  2. Pingback: The Wrap at Ask Marion 2.16.14 Thru 2.23.14 | askmarion

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s