Bechtel to conduct survey on safety culture at Hanford

Aug 22, 2011

RICHLAND, Wash. – A key contractor at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation said Monday it will have nuclear experts review its safety culture. Bechtel has been under fire at the southeast Washington nuclear site since a high-level manager was taken out of his position after raising safety concerns.

Bechtel is building a $12 billion factory to treat 56 million gallons of radioactive waste. But recently the federal Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board came to the conclusion that the project’s safety culture is "flawed."

Now, Bechtel managers are doing their own investigation headed by seven experienced nuclear experts. Bechtel Project Director Frank Russo said, "we welcome the opportunity for a full and open review of the project by these experts, and we will accept and implement any actions they identify."

But Hanford critics question whether workers will really come forward for a review organized by Bechtel.

Walt Tamosaitis works for URS, a subcontractor for Bechtel. He brought up safety concerns last summer and was removed from his management position shortly afterward.

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