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Groups want U.S. Congress to strengthen community protection with Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board (DNFSB).

Watchdog groups call for Congress to protect nuclear weapons communities, Huntington News, Watchdog groups from across the country are insisting the Department of Energy withdraw DOE Order 140.1, a controversial order that would compromise safety at dozens of facilities in the US nuclear weapons complex, and are asking key Congressional committees to annul the revised order and preserve the critically important prerogatives of the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board (DNFSB).

The order, first announced by DOE in April, 2018, has drawn scrutiny from members of Congressional committees with oversight over the Energy Department. DOE Order 140.1 seeks to limit access to information and personnel by the Safety Board .

Kathy Crandall Robinson will speak at a November 28 hearing in Washington, DC, at which DNFSB is soliciting comments from Department officials and members of the public. “Order 140.1, with its degradation of DNFSB’s role and authority, threatens to send us on a glide path back to a careless era as if this were a time when safety concerns and dangers at nuclear weapons facilities are shrinking.

They are not,” Robinson says. “Instead, there are aging facilities, facilities operating where serious safety concerns have been raised, and some facilities where plans for increased production of nuclear weapons components could lead to novel dangers.

For example, the President’s Nuclear Posture Review calls for production of 80 plutonium pits per year by 2030 and plans are being laid for increased pit production at Los Alamos as well as new capabilities at Savannah River Site.”

Members of the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability, a national network of organizations that addresses nuclear weapons production and waste cleanup issues, hail the work of the DNFSB as a critical guard against DOE and National Nuclear Security Administration efforts to cut corners on safety. “The Safety Board works outside of the media spotlight,” said Tom Clements, Director of Savannah River Site Watch in Columbia, South Carolina. “Its value to the public is immeasurable. DNFSB frequently provides information about SRS operations which DOE fails to communicate.

The role of the Safety Board should be expanded, not curtailed.” Marylia Kelley, Executive Director of Tri-Valley CAREs in Livermore, California, said, “The DNFSB is absolutely vital to worker and public safety. I have spent 35 years monitoring Livermore Lab. I can tell you that workers and community members rely on the Safety Board to do its job ­every day!”

DOE has been  unresponsive to public concerns……..http://www.huntingtonnews.net/160792

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December 1, 2018 - Posted by | safety, USA

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