Administration Plan Would Alter Rules at Nuclear Sites (1/29):The Bush administration is moving to replace safety requirements at federal nuclear facilities with standards written by contractors, according to a draft regulation.
Critics contend that under the proposal government standards at more than two-dozen Energy Department nuclear weapons plants and research laboratories could become unenforceable. Department officials say the intent is to give contractors more flexibility without compromising safety.
The proposal comes in response to a directive by Congress to start fining contractors at the plants for safety violations. Senator Jim Bunning, Republican of Kentucky, who wrote the legislation, accused the administration this week of distorting Congress's intent with a plan that “will likely decrease worker protection.”
Assistant Secretary Beverly Cook said, “The department believes the proposed rule seeks to fully protect our workers.”
U.S.: Nuclear Plant Cheated During Drill ( 1/27): Security guards at the nuclear weapons plant in Oak Ridge stunned inspectors in June by successfully repelling four simulated terrorist attacks — a feat computer programs predicted wouldn't be done.
That apparent success was tarnished, according to the Energy Department: Employees of an outside security contractor were tipped off about the impending simulations, making the tests a costly waste of time.
A broader investigation uncovered more evidence of cheating during mock attacks at the plant over the past two decades, including barricades being set up before the test to alter the outcome and guards deviating from the established response plan to improve their performance.
I suppose if people will play politics with national security, there's no particluar reason to expect them not to play politics with workers safety at nuclear power plants…