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Tuesday, June 20, 2017
McMillan known to Secretary Moniz for his hubris
The NNSA head, Klotz, alerted the Secretary of Energy, Moniz, and the two of them flew to Los Alamos to meet with McMillan, a man known for both charm and hubris. “Los Alamos is a legend,” McMillan has boasted in a promotional video. “It’s an icon. And of course, because of that, everybody notices what we do here; and we’re held to a very high standard.”
Moniz said he told McMillan personally that “I was not entirely satisfied with the reactions of some of his senior managers.” As a result, he said, “actions were taken,” without offering details.
But progress was not swift.
The NNSA, in its annual evaluation of Los Alamos’ overall performance for fiscal year 2014, judged the criticality safety program to be “below expectations” with deficiencies “similar to issues identified in past” evaluations; it particularly faulted the labels the lab had placed on nuclear materials and the guides the lab had prepared for workers performing plutonium handling chores.
Some of these shortfalls persisted in 2015, and new ones were discovered. On May 6, 2015, for example, the NNSA sent Los Alamos’ managing contractors a letter again criticizing the lab for being slow to fix criticality risks. The Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, which summarized the letter in one of its weekly reports, said “there are currently more than 60 unresolved infractions,” many present for months “or even years.”
By R. Jeffrey Smith and Patrick Malone | Center for Public Integrity
Posted by scooby at 6:00 PM
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