Firm May Face Penalties After Leak at Nuclear Burial Ground

Global Security Newswire Staff
Add to Briefcase
Global Security Newswire Staff
June 25, 2014, 7:28 a.m.

A new fed­er­al probe may lead to steep pen­al­ties for the op­er­at­or of a nuc­le­ar-waste dump where con­tam­in­ants es­caped, the Santa Fe New Mex­ic­an re­ports.

One is­sue ex­pert said the En­ergy De­part­ment En­force­ment Of­fice in­quiry in­to po­ten­tial pro­ced­ur­al breaches at the Waste Isol­a­tion Pi­lot Plant “could have im­plic­a­tions for the en­tire con­tract” held by Nuc­le­ar Waste Part­ner­ship, the news­pa­per re­por­ted on Tues­day. The firm — a lim­ited li­ab­il­ity com­pany formed by Areva, Bab­cock & Wil­cox and URS — man­ages the site for roughly $130 mil­lion each year.

“The pen­alty can be from zero up to some dol­lar pen­al­ties up to ul­ti­mately los­ing the con­tract,” said Don Han­cock, head of the South­w­est Re­search and In­form­a­tion Cen­ter in Al­buquerque. “This in­vest­ig­a­tion is not go­ing to make that de­term­in­a­tion, but it can play in­to some of that de­term­in­a­tion.”

The fed­er­al agency in­formed the firm about the planned probe last week, roughly four months after a vehicle at the site caught fire and a ra­di­ation re­lease forced or­din­ary work at the re­pos­it­ory to cease.

“It could be a very big deal, be­cause in my view the in­vest­ig­a­tion should be ask­ing some really hard ques­tions,” Han­cock ad­ded.

New Mex­ico’s state gov­ern­ment can­not is­sue fines lar­ger than $10,000 for each day of an en­vir­on­ment­al breach, but fed­er­al au­thor­it­ies have no such lim­it, ac­cord­ing to the New Mex­ic­an.

Ac­cord­ing to En­ergy De­part­ment spokes­man Ben Wil­li­ams, “WIPP’s fed­er­al and con­tract­or work­force will con­tin­ue the highest level of co­oper­a­tion and open­ness to help the Of­fice of En­force­ment col­lect all of the in­form­a­tion ne­ces­sary to com­plete its in­vest­ig­a­tion.”

What We're Following See More »
HE ADMITS TO A SETTLEMENT
Pelosi Calls for Ethics Investigation of Conyers
1 hours ago
THE LATEST

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has called for an ethics investigation of Rep. John Conyers, amidst reports that the Michigan Democrat settled sexual harassment charges. "My office resolved the allegations — with an express denial of liability — in order to save all involved from the rigors of protracted litigation," Conyers admitted, after first denying any knowledge of the charges.

Source:
TO BE VOTED ON NEXT MONTH
Pai Officially Announces Intent to Scrap Net Neutrality Rules
4 hours ago
THE LATEST
SAYS HE’S UNAWARE OF ACCUSATIONS
Conyers Denies Settling Harassment Claims
5 hours ago
THE LATEST
SPEAKER SAYS IN LETTER
Mugabe Resigns, Ending Impeachment Debate
5 hours ago
THE LATEST
HAITIANS TO BE MOST AFFECTED
White House to End TPS Program
5 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"The Trump administration is ending a humanitarian program that has allowed some 59,000 Haitians to live and work in the United States since an earthquake ravaged their country in 2010, Homeland Security officials said on Monday. Haitians with what is known as Temporary Protected Status will be expected to leave the United States by July 2019 or face deportation. ... About 320,000 people now benefit from the Temporary Protected Status program, which was signed into law by President George Bush in 1990."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login