The Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, in a Nov. 24 letter to Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, outlined multiple concerns with emergency management at the Pantex nuclear weapons plant and identified steps to be taken in the official Recommendation 2015-1, which builds upon earlier correspondence addressing the need for improvements in the nuclear weapons complex.
Among the concerns at Pantex: inadequate drill and exercises programs; no demonstrated capability to provide timely, accurate information to the public regarding off-site radiological consequences; and inadequate technical planning bases and decision-making tools.
In the letter to Moniz, DNFSB Chairman Joyce Connery said the National Nuclear Security Administration needs to address deficiencies in a timely manner to protect the public and the workers at the Amarillo, Texas, plant.
Here’s an excerpt:
“Of particular concern to us are those accident scenarios that may cause radioactive material to be dispersed and deposited off site. Given the short distance from some facilities to the site perimeter and the average wind speeds at the site, these materials may affect public lands in the emergency planning zone within a short period of time.”
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