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Safety problems, workers pressured at Knolls nuclear site

WGI managers “created an atmosphere of fear among the work force not to speak up about issues of concern,” according to the DOE report.

Federal probe: Workers felt pressed to ignore safety issues at Knolls nuclear site, Times Union, By BRIAN NEARING , November 23, 2010 NISKAYUNA — A federal investigation into radiation released during demolition of a research building at the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory found workers felt pressed by bosses to ignore safety issues and get work done faster.

A draft report, filed by investigators for the Department of Energy and obtained by the Times Union, also concluded that Washington Group International, a private company performing work under a $69 million contract, made missteps that led to an “uncontrolled spread of radioactive contamination” during the Sept. 29 demolition of a tainted Cold War-era research building at the research complex……

Two years ago, Knolls began a cleanup of the radioactive soil that covers about five of the facility’s 170 acres along the Mohawk River, including the demolition of two buildings dating to the early 1950s, when the federal government researched nuclear weaponry at Knolls.

WGI managers “created an atmosphere of fear among the work force not to speak up about issues of concern,” according to the DOE report. Such pressure “appears to be driven by project supervision and management personnel … brought into the project with the purpose of improving production.”

The investigation also found “questionable document practices” by WGI managers, including handwritten changes to safety reports without evidence of when or by whom such changes were made……

Federal probe: Workers felt pressed to ignore safety issues at Knolls nuclear site – Times Union

November 24, 2010 - Posted by | safety, USA | , , , , ,

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