Protect Workers From Nuclear Contamination

Nuclear Waste by Mark Gallagher

Target: Ernest Moniz, Secretary of Energy

Goal: Force nuclear subcontractor to provide its workers with bottled air and inspect its waste containers.

A nuclear waste facility in Spokane, WA, has been releasing toxic vapors. Over 50 of the facility’s employees have requested medical examinations, some with respiratory complications. In addition, 8.4 inches of radioactive waste have leaked past the inner wall in one of the facility’s double walled tanks. Urge the Secretary of Energy to ensure that the company, a subcontractor of the federal government, protects workers and the community.

Many employees at the facility have ceased work and the Hanford Atomic Metal Trades Council has issued a “stop work” order for the site. The workers have demanded a supply of bottled air when they work on double walled tanks, which the company has refused. The president of the council, Dave Molnaa, declared this refusal to be “the same type of negligent rhetoric these workers have been hearing from the federal government for 20 years.”

In addition, many of the single walled tanks at the site are wearing out and should be inspected. Two thirds of the site’s storage tanks were constructed between the 1940s and the 1970s. These tanks were not built to remain as long as they have. State Representative Gerry Pollet of Seattle said, “They [tanks] were not supposed to last more than ten to twenty years, twenty years was a dream in the first place.”

Because the company involved, Washington River Protection Solutions, is subcontracted by the federal government, the government has a responsibility to ensure it operates safely. Call on the energy department to fulfill this responsibility and safeguard the company’s workers.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Dr. Moniz,

The workers at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington State must be shielded from nuclear contamination. The site is releasing toxic vapors and over 50 workers there have been medically examined, some with respiratory complications. In addition, a double walled tank there has leaked 8.4 inches of radioactive waste into the space between its two walls. Conditions at the site are unsafe for workers and that must change—fast.

Workers have requested bottled air when working on double walled tanks. So far, the company has refused. The president of the Hanford Atomic Metal Trades Council, Dave Molnaa, called this refusal “the same type of negligent rhetoric these workers have been hearing from the federal government for 20 years.”

In addition, many of the tanks at the site are decades old and should be re-inspected. Two thirds of them were constructed between the 1940s and 1970s. State Representative Gerry Pollet claimed, “They [tanks] were not supposed to last more than ten to twenty years, twenty years was a dream in the first place.”

There are safety hazards at the site that have not been addressed by the company or the federal government that subcontracted it. The federal government has chosen this negligent company and now it must take responsibility for that choice.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Mark Gallagher

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2 Comments

  1. This is horrific for these workers, to whom probably have families. This is shocking to be happening in the USA in this day and age! Please attend to shutting this down and re employing the workers into a safe workplace environment as soon as…

  2. no toxic factories! no animal slaughter factories!

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