Judge Drops Dept. Of Energy From Hanford Whistleblower Case

Jun 1, 2012

A high level whistleblower at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation is moving ahead with a lawsuit against a federal contractor. But Walt Tamosaitis would have to appeal in order to take the federal government to court. At issue is the safety culture at Hanford.

Walt Tamosaitis sued the U.S. Department of Energy and contractor URS after he was removed from his job. He claims it was retaliation for raising safety concerns about the $12 billion waste treatment plant going up in southeast Washington.

Tamosaitis sought damages for emotional distress and he wanted a jury trial. But the federal judge in Yakima disagreed and went on to dismiss the Department of Energy from the case. Meanwhile, the federal agency has proposed a $150,000 fine against its prime waste treatment plant contractor, Bechtel, for safety violations.

The Energy department says a worker lost two toes and there was another “near miss” when a load was improperly secured last year.

Copyright 2012 Northwest Public Radio


Read the full DOE HSS report on the proposed Bechtel fines: