Nuke Safety Board to convene in Santa Fe

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Panel: Seismic issues will be in the spotlight

The Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board will be in Santa Fe Thursday to conduct a public meeting and discuss seismic safety of the Plutonium Facility at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

The sessions will be from 1-5 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. at the Santa Fe Convention Center, 201 Marcy Street.

The DNFSB is an independent agency in the executive branch of the U.S. government that oversees health and safety issues at defense nuclear facilities at LANL.

During the first session, the board will receive testimony on National Nuclear Security Administration actions to address Plutonium Facility seismic issues that lead to severe accident scenarios.

Expected to testify include NNSA’s Donald Cook and LANL director Charlie McMillan and Los Alamos Site Office manager Kevin Smith.

Besides the testimony from NNSA and LANL officials, the board also is scheduled to hear from Joni Arends of Concerned Citizens of Nuclear Safety and Registered geologist Robert Gilkeson. Both have done extensive research in regard to the seismic hazards at LANL.

The Board will examine the status of emergency preparedness at the lab and will receive testimony concerning how well NNSA and its contractors are prepared to respond to site emergencies, including threats from natural phenomena.

The safety board also is interested in lessons learned from the Japan nuclear disaster, the Las Conchas and Cerro Grande fires.

In the second session, the board will examine NNSA’s efforts to mitigate risks to public and worker safety posed by existing and new defense nuclear facilities and the board will receive testimony on the operations and safety at existing LANL defense nuclear facilities.