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GAO finds hazards in nuclear weapons work

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By The Staff

A report on worker safety commissioned by the two senior Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee called for stronger management and oversight of the three nuclear weapons laboratories by the Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration.The report released Wednesday by the Government Accountability Office replayed a litany of safety problems at nuclear weapons laboratories that have been the subject of numerous Congressional investigations, audits and other reports since 2000.The report responded to a request by Rep. Joe Barton, R-Tex., and Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., who led numerous investigations into safety and security problems at Los Alamos National Laboratory while Republicans were in the majority. The focus of the report was clearly on Los Alamos but was extended to include Sandia and Lawrence Livermore national laboratories as well.The report noted, “Since 2000, nearly 60 serious accidents or near misses have occurred at the laboratories, including worker exposure to radiation, inhalation of toxic vapors and electrical shocks.” LANL was shut down for several months in 2004; LLNL was temporarily closed in 2005 – “costing taxpayers hundred of millions of dollars in lost productivity,” the report recalled.


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