Senators push for whistleblower protection at big nuke waste site

WASHINGTON —Washington state’s two U.S. senators are pushing the Energy Department hard for worker protections at one of the nation’s biggest nuclear waste sites, the Hanford complex in their state. And they got a commitment on that issue – including a meeting with unionists who work there — from Trump Administration Energy Secretary Rick Perry.

Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell are alarmed by reports from workers and their union, the Steelworkers, that the contractor managing the Hanford cleanup, Penser North America, is disciplining whistleblowers and using flimsy reasons to deny workers comp claims. They asked the Energy Department’s Inspector General to investigate the situation, too.

“We have been informed of multiple accounts of claims being dismissed on arbitrary grounds, tactics bordering on intimidation and actions taken to discredit worker claims. The seriousness of these allegations demands action,” their letter this month said.