The Latest: Another Hanford whistleblower fired

  • Donna Busche.

    Hanford Challenge

The Hanford Site, a vast nuclear complex along Washington's Columbia River that once produced plutonium for warheads, has come under fire from dozens of whistleblowers in its 71-year history. In recent decades, scientists and other involved experts have criticized the $40 billion cleanup effort, citing mismanagement and other problems, including releases of airborne cancer-causing radionuclides and groundwater contamination. Whistleblowers have often been fired or sidelined ("The Hanford Whistleblowers," HCN, 2/3/14).

On Feb. 18, Donna Busche, an environmental and nuclear safety manager at Hanford, became the latest to be fired. Busche, employed by subcontractor URS, has pushed for reforms since 2010, even warning that a waste-treatment plant might explode; in response, she reportedly faced harassment from overseers and filed two whistleblower complaints. While URS denied the firing was connected to her allegations, Tom Carpenter, director of watchdog group Hanford Challenge, called Busche another victim of Hanford's "war on whistleblowers."

Ed Harold
Ed Harold
Mar 18, 2014 05:37 PM
A person who doesn't show respect to their employer should be terminated. I would have to have to look over my should all the time to see what employee might be spying on me. I grew up down wind of Hanford in the 40s and 50s si I know the problems involved.
Alexander Mensing
Alexander Mensing Subscriber
Mar 18, 2014 07:41 PM
Thanks for keeping the public up to date on Hanford's continuing mismanagement.
Lisa Mahony
Lisa Mahony
Aug 08, 2014 05:07 PM
It is important to protect whistle blowers. Employers would not have to keep a constant watch for employees spying if the employer was not behaving unethically or illegally. It takes courage to criticize those in power even with the protections that are in place. Whistle blowers are everyday heroes that don't often get much recognition but get a lot of grief.