From the same organization that gave us the ‘lives touched’ method for calculating stimulus job creation, the Department of Energy (DOE) has now stumbled upon a whole new way to increase employment.
The Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday announced that they are investigating ‘an uncontrolled spread of radioactive material’ at the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory in Niskayuna, New York. Elevated radiation levels have been confirmed in the air surrounding the site, as well as the Mohawk River which was deluged with over 600 gallons of radioactive water. The radiation stemmed from an incident in late September when workers attempted to take down a building – building H2 - at the site.
Worse, the DOE failed to notify local officials of the spill, leaving those who rely on their water supply from the Mohawk completely oblivious to the potential health and safety issues.
The Albany Times Union obtained a copy of a report filed by investigators for the DOE, which cited “an atmosphere of fear among the work force not to speak up about issues of concern”. The report reveals the main reason that workers for the Washington Group International (WGI), a private company contracted to clean up the Cold War-era facility, felt pressured to ignore safety issues:
The company was pushing to finish work three months earlier than first planned -- by September 2011 rather than December 2011 -- in order to receive an extra $32 million in federal stimulus funding awarded for the cleanup in April 2009.