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Nuclear safety fears at top national laboratory

On Behalf of | Jun 27, 2017 | Workers' Compensation

Virginia laboratory workers might be concerned about safety on the job after hearing about problems at one of the country’s premier nuclear weapons facilities. The Los Alamos National Laboratory, which created the atomic bomb, is facing growing criticism for its safety record.

The Center for Public Integrity has highlighted federal regulators’ worries about the safety situation at the lab over time. Incidents have included spilled plutonium and mispositioned plutonium rods that could cause a serious disaster. However, officials at the lab have highlighted the facility’s positive external reviews and strong security.

The Los Alamos National Laboratory had to suspend work for a period of time in 2013 due to safety problems. The safety issues not isolated to that facility, however. Instead, they are a concern at nuclear research labs across the United States, many of which are growing old. In Washington state, for example, the Hanford Nuclear Reservation continues to struggle with little funding and a significant toxic waste problem. Fire suppression and alarm systems at the Los Alamos lab were last updated in the 1970s. While the Energy Department has ordered increased plutonium pit production at the lab, there are concerns about the ability of the concrete building to withstand the additional pressure.

Regardless of the type of work that is being done, employers have a responsibility to provide a safe environment that adheres to government regulations and safety and health standards. People who have been injured on the job might want to meet with an attorney to learn about the procedures that govern the filing of a claim for workers’ compensation benefits.