Thousands of nuclear workers became sick with cancer and other deadly diseases from undisclosed radiation and chemical exposures during the Manhattan Project and Cold War. The government promised to clean up its national laboratories and pay for the damage. Are they living up to those promises?
Ill Nuclear Workers’ Benefits Petitions Have to Be Reviewed Within 6 Months. Some Have Languished About a Decade.
A petition filed by a Los Alamos worker has been in limbo for 10 years. At the Savannah River Site, a petition has lingered for 11 years. At Sandia National Laboratories, workers have been waiting seven years for a final decision.
A security guard at Los Alamos National Laboratory has been seeking compensation for fellow lab workers who’ve become ill, but the government has repeatedly denied the petition and he’s still waiting for a final answer.
If Gilberto Ulibarri had begun a year earlier, he would have been deemed eligible for compensation from the government because the lab had not kept adequate records of radiation exposure. But because he started in 1996, he was fending for himself.
Chad Walde believed in his work at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Then he got a rare brain cancer linked to radiation, and the government denied it had any responsibility.
The Energy Department had taken steps to curtail the reach and authority of the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board. New Mexico’s senators are fighting back.
They want Congress to suspend a move that would limit access to information about facilities and could hinder the panel’s ability to oversee worker health and safety.
The Trump administration defended an order that could be used to withhold information about nuclear facilities from a federal board, but its leader says the action is not consistent with the U.S. Atomic Energy Act.
Under a new order from the Energy Department, a nuclear safety board will have to fight for information about and access to nuclear laboratories. In the past, the board has brought serious problems at those labs to light.
The Government’s New Contractor to Run Los Alamos Includes the Same Manager It Effectively Fired for Safety Problems
The Department of Energy said it would seek new leadership for Los Alamos National Laboratory. But the University of California is still there, even after mismanagement caused it to lose its contract to run the lab — twice.
Defense contractor Bechtel and the University of California are in the running even though they have run the lab as partners for the last decade and amassed a record of worker health and safety violations.
ProPublica is teaming up with The Santa Fe New Mexican to investigate health and safety problems at national labs. We want to hear your story.
Five expert committees advised the federal government on ways to improve workplace safety and enhance whistleblower protections. Under President Donald Trump, their work has stopped and their recommendations are now stalled.
An advisory board of scientists, doctors and worker advocates helped ensure that nuclear workers exposed to toxins received proper compensation. The terms of nearly all board members expired last month — and no new members have been appointed.
The birthplace of the atomic bomb couldn’t account for a toxic metal used in nuclear weapons production, potentially exposing workers to harm. The National Nuclear Security Administration acknowledges its oversight was “insufficient,” but says it is not aware of any workers who were exposed.