Hanford whistleblower launches new lawsuit over safety concerns

Nov 9, 2011

KENNEWICK, Wash. – There’s a new lawsuit over safety issues at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. The case announced Wednesday comes from the same whistleblower who has raised serious concerns about the waste treatment factory being built at the nuclear site in southeast Washington.

In this new case, Walt Tamosaitis alleges that the U.S. Department of Energy played a role in removing him from the Waste Treatment Plant project after he raised concerns. The engineering manager says top officials with the Energy Department sent emails and talked about him with his superiors at contractor URS before he lost his high-level management role.

Attorney Jack Sheridan represents Tamosaitis. He says it would have been easy for his client to say nothing.

"But the consequences here are tremendous," Sheridan says. "If they don’t produce the correct design for the waste treatment plant, the plant might not work. And this is one of the most expensive projects that we’ve ever undertaken as a country.”

In this new case, Tamosaitis is not seeking money, but to be returned to the Waste Treatment Project in a position of responsibility.

The Department of Energy and URS declined to comment for this story.

Copyright 2011 Northwest Public Radio