Ex OSHA Investigator Asserts DOE & DOL Inspector General not telling whole truth to elected officials regarding Nuclear Exposure

(c) 2014 by Tony Rutherford (Attribution Permitted)
Ex OSHA Investigator Asserts DOE & DOL Inspector General  not telling whole truth to elected officials regarding Nuclear Exposure

A former OSHA certified investigator and union safety officer  at the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant, Piketon, Ohio, has alleged that previous Department of Energy and Department of Labor Inspector General investigations contained glaring oversights. Due to the oversights, American taxpayers have allegedly paid billions of dollars in wrongful incentives to certain nuclear plant contractors. Simultaneously, thousands of energy workers have not been properly compensated for occupational illnesses.

Charles Lawson ,  the investigator certified through the late 90s,  has provided documents that demonstrate alleged criminal activities not reported and/or investigated by Department of Energy and Department of Labor inspector generals.
These oversights have been documented at Portsmouth, but recent news articles have suggested similar patterns at decommissioning and demolition activities at Rocky Flats, Hanford, and elsewhere.

Although certain aspects were brought to the attention of members of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate,  action was limited. Lawson has specifically demonstrated that in  one instance a 41 page report was shortened to 12 pages (when provided to Senators)  to prevent revelation of acts that could have civil and criminal liabilities.

The oversights are contained in a thousand  pages of documentation which require significant knowledge of physics, chemistry, statutory mandates, knowledge of the long radiation illness latency period (often 20 years or more) and knowledge of safety requirements where diminished portrayal of facility actions, such as  worker radiation exposures showing lower amounts than received or diminishing the number of workers affected.

Lawson, who had prior military  law enforcement training, fell into this abyss of documented oversights while investigating one incident.
Ex OSHA Investigator Asserts DOE & DOL Inspector General  not telling whole truth to elected officials regarding Nuclear Exposure

These documents and reports illustrate that when DOE entered into a privatization agreement with the United States Enrichment Corp., USEC acquired the radioactive weapons materials on the properties. At that time, Portsmouth also received shipments from Russia, which under agreement was selling uranium from weapons for reuse  in nuclear reactors. Unfortunately, the Russians  sent "dirty" uranium for downblending, Lawson said. It contained technicum, Californium, neptunum and plutonium. The Russian material recycling in his opinion  has poisoned an entirely new generation of workers who were not told of the additional materials.

One portion of the allegations include  concealment of the degree of enrichment ( three or four percent assay; actual up to 97%)  of  radioactive materials handed by workers at PGDP and the Huntington Pilot Plant (now raised and buried). The HPP received uranium contaminated piping and metals containing nicckel for recycling from Portsmouth and other diffusion plants. Degrees of enriched uranium were portrayed by DOE/USEC as 5%, but Lawson said people working in Portsmouth before cylinder removal received 97% weapons grade doses.

"We were told in the process class that Russian had a 68%." (See PDF for a sample of now unclassified readings for Portsmouth showing 97% assay.)

Due to flawed methodologies and oversights, such as dose reconstruction formulas , most workers have not received benefits. This is due to such actions as  the purposeful destruction of original dose records and, in Piketon, the disconnection of wired radiation warnings so employees would not know they were working in contaminated locations.

Having worked on a mortality study regarding chemical and radiation exposures at  Piketon, Lawson has previously opined  1,800 deaths as homicide which resulted  from rigging the safety system  to not function. Later when OSHA fined company $2,500 for destruction of employee radiation exposure records, Lawson complained that the amount could have been  $100,000 per destroyed record. An OSHA official in Cincinnati told Lawson that if the maximum fines were levied then "OSHA would have been in court for the next 50 years or longer. They did not have the money to fight DOE and USEC in the court cases. "The people harmed would have sued DOE , USEC, and contractors which would have drug OSHA into court. If they  had levied anover a $100,000,000 fine against USEC and  Lockheed, OSHA would have to be paying people to go to court to testify for the next 50 years," Lawson explained. (See download )

Lawson told of "seeing it all" as an eyewitness and in his opinion, the actions amount to "murder. They were (covering it up) for profit. That's racketeering. The people died because they bypassed safety systems."

 "Everything I saw is admissable in court."

Lawson has insight too  into improprieties during the 21st Century D & D clean up projects at Piketon.

He has been told  that current (i.e. 2014) workers and those that have worked on the D & D of the facility "cut clogged pipes with UF6  (enriched uranium) inside." The six to eight inch pipes were clogged with 90% assay and above. A source told Lawson,  "I could barely put my little finger inside a clogged pipe."

Which leads to an unanswered question: Where did the D & D removed clogged pipes go? He asserted that at least one truck went to Paducah, unmarked for radioactive transport.  Hand held meters  at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant went off, resulting in that truck being sent back to Piketon marked Yellow Two.

But what happened to other trucks containing radioactive pieces from the process building?

"Did they put [the waste] in a bin at a nuclear dump or are they dumping it somewhere in a local dump until someone gets sick," he asked?

A new  D & D proposal considers burial at Piketon of the weapons grade material. Burial of current removals  should not be an option "unless it is cleaned to  get rid of impurities,  you have buried radiation leaching and reacting to the weather."

Lawson continued, "Don't compound the problem. Do what you were supposed to do clean it up.


Lawson learned of the oversights in 1994 when investigating a uranium hexafluoride life threatening accident involving fellow worker Jeffrey Walburn.  Due to improper procedures encouraged and followed, Lawson and Walburn learned of significant safety violations in at least Portsmouth's program.

"When Jeff got hurt, literally , the investigation turned in 20 directions," Lawson said.

Following notification of Walburn's accident, Lawson volunteered to come in one his own time to begin the inspection of the accident site. "He had crystalized lung matter coming out of his mouth," Lawson said from exposure to UF6, HF, and CLF3.

"That's what happened in Metropolis, Illinois  (last month) . The gas when it touches moisture on your body  turns to hydrofluoric acid inside and outside your body. fluorines. That's why people there got burned," Lawson said referring to a guard found unconscious near  the complex. "It deprives you of oxygen and burns the mouth, sinus ,  eyes and lungs."

Getting back to the 1994 Walburn incident, Lawson's  superiors told him to wait until the next day, which counters best OSHA practices.

"They did not want me to start the investigation (as soon as I was notified Jeff was in the hospital). I started the next day ahead of shift. The accident scene in the process building had been totally cleaned. You do not remove dust with trace amounts of uranium in process buildings (as) enriched deposits lay on top of  cabinets due to outgassing  . The scene should have been taped off and (immediate) pictures taken," Lawson recalled.

An safety official  on duty the day of the life threatening accident did not take the air sample tests until six or seven  hours after the event. Lawson was given a clean and plush  log; however, he said that due to the high levels of leaking contaminated oil, a pristine log in only one person's hand writing appeared to him as another red light. "Nobody would touch a log book without gloves on," Lawson said, yet the supervisor gave Area Control Room Supervisor a supervisor a commendation for a clean log book. That's when I knew to ask for the real log book. The man almost started crying as he had rewrote the log book as ordered by a supervisor over him."

Discovering these discrepancies, "I called OSHA and asked for help," which due to a  lack of qualified inspectors with security clearance put the accident investigation timeline on "hold" (delay).

Supervisors insisted that Walburn's accident occurred at home. "We've got a witness," they told Lawson indicating he got hurt mixing chemical to clean  his swimming pool.

Another red flag: Lawson had visited Walburn's home. He did NOT have a swimming pool.

Eventually, Lawson learned of the exposure alteration: "Guys, I think they lied on badges."

He obtained documents that showed worker exposures were altered. Management asserted that a badge radiation absorption change had been limited to Walburn.

The 41 page investigative document contained an interview with an employee who  stated "the (badge) system was irreverseably  corrupt," adding "they are destroying hard copy employee radiation records." Lawson stopped several employees with such documents on way to the shredder.



Every scientist knows that uranium emits four particles ---alpha, beta, gamma and neutrons. However, plant management insisted that neutron exposure did not occur.

"You always have neutrons with atomic particles," which were not included in employee radiation exposures thereby reducing their levels by about 15%. "They should have added 15% to 30% more based on the left off neutron exposure," Lawson said.

Why?  The contract with DOE specified that employees receive no more than a specific exposure. If the goal was achieved, the contractor received a cash incentive. The incentive was paid, but it should not have been. The records would have showed that they were above allowable exposure limits and they would have not been paid. "They broke the law. They violated safety systems. They violated the contract with their falsification." Otherwise, the contractor would not have gotten paid.


Under the best case scenario of the gaseous diffusion process, the hot radioactive uranium remains as a gas flowing through piping that includes nickel lining and alloys to sustain the heat. After years of use, the cell house walls around the piping  develop leaks. This leads to a temperature drop which solidifies the gas which then emits radiation which could be measured in rems otherwise known by DOE as a slow cooker which NIOSH refers to as a  sub critical reaction.

"Holes in the fiber cell housing wall  lets outside air to get in which cools the pipes.  This becomes a sub critical reaction aka a slow cooker.which  throws  out massive gamma and neutron radiation."

Jeff Walburn added, "The acid formed from HF is colorless and odorless. It reacts with moisture. It burns the Skin, Airways Lungs, Esophagus, Intestines, as it passes through the system. I experienced all these symptoms. It was horrible! The worst part is knowing that DOE knew this was happening to the Highest levels of DOE Hdqs and allowed their subcontractors to cover this up. DOE thought the Russian Uranium was more important than the lives of the people who processed it. The subcontractors thought money was more important! DOE supplied that, hence the cover-up."

These are a just few of the oversights found by Lawson and Wilburn concerning the PGDP operation and employee radiation exposures. Other revelations will follow. Many can be found by reading the 41 page report downloaded as an attachment.

(C) by Tony Rutherford & HNN. Reprintable with attribution.

ALSO SEE: http://www.huntingtonnews.net/41350


Comments powered by Disqus