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Abolish nuclear safety agency – secret advice from its chair, Sean Sullivan, to President Trump !

GOP chair of nuclear safety agency secretly urges Trump to abolish it https://www.publicintegrity.org/2017/10/19/21217/gop-chair-nuclear-safety-agency-secretly-urges-trump-abolish-it

Proposal follows radiation mishaps and exposures; Dems oppose the move, By Patrick MaloneR. Jeffrey Smith20 Oct 17, 

The chairman of a panel charged with protecting workers at nuclear weapons facilities as well as nearby communities has told the White House he favors downsizing or abolishing the group, despite recent radiation and workplace safety problems that injured or endangered people at the sites it helps oversee.

Republican appointee Sean Sullivan, a former Navy submarine officer, told the director of the Office of Management and Budget in a private letter that closing or shrinking the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board he chairs is consistent with President Trump’s ambition to cut the size of the federal workforce, according to a copy of Sullivan’s letter. It was written in June and obtained recently by the Center for Public Integrity.

The five-member Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, chartered by Congress, has helped persuade the federal government to impose tighter safety rules and regulations at most of the eight nuclear weapons sites — employing more than 40,000 workers — where nuclear weapons and their parts are produced or stored.

Nonetheless, the nuclear weapons complex in recent years has experienced alarming problems, including the mishandling of plutonium, a radioactive explosive; the mis-shipment of hazardous materials, including nuclear explosive materials;  and the contamination of work areas and scientists by radioactive particles — shortcomings detailed in a recent Center for Public Integrity investigation.

Sullivan’s position is consistent with the longstanding preferences of the large private contractors that produce and maintain the country’s nuclear arms, most of which also contribute heavily to congressional election campaigns and spend sizable sums lobbying Washington. The board and its expert staff are now probing what it considers to be additional safety lapses or deficiencies that would cost weapons contractors millions of dollars to fix.

Three other board members, all Democrats, have said in written complaints about Sullivan’s proposal that he was not speaking for them, and argued that that other government agencies assigned to safeguard nuclear workers and the public near weapons sites are not capable of handling the task by themselves.

A spokesman for the Office of Management and Budget, Jacob Wood, declined to comment about the letter but said no announcement would be made by the White House about the issue until February, when the board’s fate will be decided as part of a Trump administration reorganization and consolidation plan.

Funding for the board’s operation in fiscal 2018 remains in versions of the defense funding bill, and in an effort to block Sullivan’s request, a Senate Democrat has added language to his chamber’s version that would bar the board’s elimination. But the bill is still being discussed between the Senate and House.

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October 20, 2017 - Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA

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