Yesterday, the Center for Public Integrity released a story that Republic Sean Sullivan, the chair of the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board (DNFS), had asked the White House in June to close or reduce the size of his agency. This comes amidst recent radiation and workplace safety concerns at the very facilities the DNFS oversees.
The Center for Public Integrity writes:
“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.”
The Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board provides weekly reports on the Savannah River Site and is one of only a few sources of information about the Savannah River Site (SRS and Department of Energy (DOE) happenings to the public.
If it were to close, there would be even less information available to the public and it would result in a lack of accountability and an increased level of secrecy within the DOE regarding the Savannah River Site.
Tom Clements, Director of SRS Watch, said that the Department of Energy already is lacking an online library of information with files and updates about nuclear facilities. He said shutting down the DNFSB would close one of the only windows into the Department of Energy’s happenings that exists. The DNFS’s page about the Savannah River Site, with updated weekly reports, can be found here.
The full Center for Public Integrity report can be found here.