The contractor that manages a Texas nuclear-weapons facility has received a government warning over multiple recent incidents that posed safety hazards.
In an April 17 letter to the president of B&W Pantex, the U.S. Energy Department listed six safety incidents that occurred since August 2012 at the atomic-arms assembly and disassembly plant northeast of Amarillo, the Amarillo Globe-News reported on Thursday.
John Boulden, head of enforcement and oversight for the department’s Office of Health, Safety and Security, said the “events are significant in that they involved improper management, handling or labeling of highly hazardous materials, including explosives, which have the potential to cause serious injury or death.”
The incidents include a July 2012 occurrence in which powerful blast explosives and a detonating cord were found in a [weapons] bay that was not cleared to store such sensitive substances. In a March 2013 incident, plant workers wrapping up two items filled with special atomic substances put the wrong identifying codes on their containers, which could have resulted in the materials being handled in a way inconsistent with the safety risks they posed, according to Boulden.
His office decided not to levy any financial penalties against B&W Pantex, but told the contractor it would be watching to ensure that sensitive materials are appropriately identified and handled. B&W Pantex has not received any fines for workplace safety concerns since it began managing the Texas weapons facility in 2001.
The conglomerate that makes up B&W Pantex includes Bechtel and Babcock & Wilcox. That management partnership will soon end. The Energy Department has awarded the contract to manage the Pantex plant — as well as the Y-12 weapons site in Tennessee — to Consolidated Nuclear Security, a consortium that includes Bechtel National and Lockheed Martin.
B&W Pantex officials declined to comment on the safety violations.
What We're Following See More »
Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz "will not have a major speaking role or preside over daily convention proceedings this week," and is under increasing pressure to resign. The DNC Rules Committee on Saturday named Ohio Democratic Rep. Marcia Fudge as "permanent chair of the convention." At issue: internal DNC emails leaked by Wikileaks that show how "the DNC favored Clinton during the primary and tried to take down Bernie Sanders by questioning his religion."
- A Rasmussen Reports poll shows Donald Trump ahead of Hillary Clinton, 43%-42%, the fourth week in a row he's led the poll (one of the few poll in which he's led consistently of late).
- A Reuters/Ipsos survey shows Clinton leading 40%-36%. In a four-way race, she maintains her four-point lead, 39%-35%, with Gary Johnson and Jill Stein pulling 7% and 3%, respectively.
- And the LA Times/USC daily tracking poll shows a dead heat, with Trump ahead by about half a percentage point.
In an election between two candidates around 70 years of age, millennials strongly prefer one over the other. Hillary Clinton has a 47%-30% edge among votes 18 to 29. She also leads 46%-36% among voters aged 30 to 44.
According to an online tracking poll released by New Latino Voice, Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump among Latino voters, attracting support from 81 percent of Latino voters, to just 12 percent support for Trump. The results of this poll are consistent with those from a series of other surveys conducted by various organizations. With Pew Research predicting the 2016 electorate will be 12 percent Hispanic, which would be the highest ever, Trump could be in serious trouble if he can't close the gap.