Repercussions after Nuke Shipping Violation

Wednesday, July 12, 2017 @ 01:07 PM gHale


Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) fired employees, and suspended and imposed “compensation consequences” on others after lab employees shipped nuclear material by air, against regulations.

“Our response to this incident is not business as usual,” a lab spokesman requesting anonymity said in a report on LAMonitor.com. “Toward that end, all of those involved from the individual contributor level up the management chain have been held accountable through actions that include terminations, suspensions, and compensation consequences. Furthermore, we are transferring the responsibility for fissile nuclear material shipments to a different organization within the laboratory.”

RELATED STORIES
MA Nuke Security Issue Brings Violation
Worker Action after MA Nuke Errors
Nuke Worker Tried to Hide Error: Feds
WA Firm Fined for HI Radioactive Materials Use

The shipped material was either plutonium or uranium, according to the scientific classification of fissile nuclear material.

The disciplinary actions were carried out sometime last week, the spokesman said. The spokesman declined to give details and numbers about how many were fired, suspended and reprimanded.

“I cannot get into the details about personnel action. Personnel actions are an internal matter, the details of which we don’t share,” the spokesman said.

On June 23, National Nuclear Safety Administration (NNSA) officials said the laboratory failed to follow proper procedures when shipping “special nuclear material” to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and the Savannah River National Laboratory in South Carolina the week before.

The NNSA said the material was packaged specifically for ground transportation, not flight transportation.

“This failure to follow established procedures is absolutely unacceptable,” NNSA Administrator Lt. Gen. Frank Klotz, USAF (Ret.) said in a NNSA release about the incident. “I require the contractors who manage and operate our national laboratories and production plants to rigorously adhere to the highest safety and security standards in performing the vitally important work they do for our national security.”

“Although these shipments arrived safely at their destinations and no one was hurt, this mistake, taken together with other mistakes in recent years, is unacceptable and is in the process of being addressed promptly and thoroughly,” the lab spokesman said. 

In this latest incident, LANL officials said they’ve already started to make changes to the division that was responsible for the shipping of radioactive material by plane.

The spokesman also said the laboratory will be reforming its policies and procedures for transporting waste.

The materials were to be shipped by a commercial ground service but were shipped by commercial air instead, which is a violation of federal regulations, according to the NNSA. 



Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.