People of Northwest Public Radio
Tue February 18, 2014
Hanford Contractor Fires Prominent Whistleblower
Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 8:08 am
A prominent whistleblower was fired from the Hanford Nuclear Reservation's radioactive waste cleanup project on Tuesday.
Donna Busche was vocal about what she calls problems at a massive treatment plant under construction at Hanford.
Busche was a high-level safety manager on a huge factory that is being built to bind-up radioactive waste in glass logs. That means her check-off on safety was required before construction could move ahead on the more than $12 billion plant. Federal watchdog officers have repeatedly asked for her testimony on the troubled project.
Busche says she was escorted out of her building in the early morning.
Company managers with the federal contractor that employed her told her she was being let go for "unprofessional conduct."
"I’ve had mixed emotions since I got home," Busche says. "Part of it’s a great relief, that I don’t have to go there, be disrespected, yelled at, interrupted every time I open my mouth, my manager signing off documents that are not ready to be released, that are not factually accurate."
Busche’s former employer, URS, says in a written statement, "Though URS supports Ms. Busche’s right to raise concerns and to express her personal views, we do not agree with her assertions that she suffered retaliation or was otherwise treated unfairly."