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America’s Nuclear Weapons Labs Are Safety Nightmares

Gizmodo, Terrell Jermaine Starr and Jalopnik, Jun 27, 2017 As dangerous as nuclear weapons are, you’d think the management running them would prioritise safety. This is not the case at all.

In an extensive report by the Center for Public Integrity, the investigative journalism outlet found that America’s eight nuclear weapons labs and plants and two sites that offer them support are rife with safety problems, but the corporations that run them face minimal penalties when accidents occur. During the year-long investigation, the publication found that the Department of Energy waived 19 of the 21 major penalties officials said were tied to workplace misconduct and safety lapses.

In total, companies were spared $US3.3 million of the $US7.3 million they were fined.

Here’s an example of the risks: In 2011, a worker at Sandia National Laboratories incorrectly turned a valve that unleashed an explosion that could have killed him another co-worker. The nuclear weapons lab, this subsidiary of Lockheed Martin, had two more incidents during the three years the Department of Energy investigated the 2011 explosion. All were tied to poor safety protocols.

When it was time for regulators to fine Sandia $US412,500 ($543,862), the Energy Department decided to waive it because the company had made made “significant and positive steps… to improve Sandia’s safety culture.”

And make no mistake about it — these private firms make major coin running these labs. On the low end, they pull in $US40,000 ($52,738) a day in profits; on the high end, they rake in $US160,000 ($210,953) per day. Over the past 10 years, they have made a total of more than $US2 ($3) billion.

Here are some of the more troubling findings from the report:………https://www.gizmodo.com.au/2017/06/americas-nuclear-weapons-labs-are-safety-nightmares/

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June 28, 2017 - Posted by | general

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