Talking Points: DOE Order 140.1 Interface with the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board

– The Department of Energy’s Order 140.1 Interface with the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board is misguided and likely illegal because it acts contrary to the Board’s 1988 enabling legislation. See https://www.dnfsb.gov/sites/default/files/page/Enabling%20Legislation%20-%202016.pdf

– The Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board’s (DNFSB’s) two decades of reporting and recommendations reflect the chronic safety problems endemic to the nuclear weapons complex. DOE Order 140.1 seeks to kill the messenger and muzzle the message that nuclear weapons research and production is inherently dangerous, requiring independent safety oversight to help keep workers and the public protected.

– DOE Order 140.1 is the nuclear weaponeers’ latest attempts to cripple the DNFSB, previously attempted through legislation passed by the House Armed Services Committee. Those pieces of legislation sought to either cut the Board’s budget or hogtie it with onerous reporting requirements but were rejected by Congress as a whole. This could possibly explain the genesis of DOE Order 140.1 as an attempt to do an end run around Congress.

– The Safety Board’s observations and formal recommendations have slowed down the nuclear weaponeers agenda for exorbitant new production facilities and increased nuclear weapons production for a new arms race. What is DOE’s completely misguided answer? It is to cripple DNFSB oversight, thereby increasing the chances for serious nuclear safety mishaps.

– DOE Order 140.1 “Formulate[s] consolidated DOE positions on policy… so that DOE speaks with one voice.” (emphasis added). This smacks of political control by DOE Washington DC headquarters that again seeks to kill the messenger rather than resolve nuclear safety issues. DOE’s track record demonstrates that critical safety problems often get fixed only when they become locally disclosed and publicly known. In contrast, Order 140.1 will likely suppress local disclosure of potential dangers and discourage whistleblowers, possibly exposing them to added retaliation.

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Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board Public Hearing

Defense Nuclear Facilities Board at August 28, 2018 Pubic Hearing
Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board

Thursday February 21, 2019, 5:30 – 9:00 PM,

Albuquerque Convention Center,
401 2ndSt NW, Albuquerque, NM 87102

What: The Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board (DNFSB) will hold a public hearing at the Albuquerque Convention Center on February 21, 2019. In the Safety Board’s own words, the goal of the hearing is “to gather information from DOE Field Offices regarding DNFSB interfaces and access to information, facilities, and personnel.” Concerned citizens interested in speaking during the public comment period are encouraged to pre-register by submitting an emailed request to hearing@dnfsb.govor call 800.788.4016 by February 19. Citizens may also submit written comments both prior to and at the hearing.

On February 21, the DNFSB will provide a live web stream link to the hearing Here

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WIPP Receives Notice of Upcoming Investigation for Chemical Overexposures to Workers

On January 29, 2019, DOE’s Office of Enterprise Assessments notified Nuclear Waste Partnership, LLC (NWP), the managing and operating contractor for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plan (WIPP), of its intent to investigate heat stress-related events and chemical exposures at WIPP. The events, occurring from July through October 2018, include multiple overexposures to hazardous chemicals, including carbon tetrachloride, nitrogen dioxide, and sulfur dioxide, as well as a series of heat-stress incidents.

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Los Alamos Cleanup At the Crossroads: Treat All Los Alamos Lab Radioactive Wastes Consistently

Los Alamos Cleanup At the Crossroads:

Treat All Los Alamos Lab Radioactive Wastes Consistently

The Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board’s role and responsibility includes gathering information regarding the hazards to the public and workers posed by the management of transuranic (TRU) wastes at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), as well as the Department of Energy’s (DOE) plans to address those hazards. The Board will examine DOE’s actions taken or inadequacies addressed in the current safety policies of the various facilities that manage or store TRU wastes at LANL. The Board is also interested in understanding actions taken to improve TRU waste management at LANL after the improper handling and treatment of TRU wastes that resulted in a ruptured barrel that shut down the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP).

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