The chairman of a nuclear safety board that provides recommendations and advice on public health and safety issues at certain federal facilities, including two in Oak Ridge, has proposed eliminating the board, according to an investigative news organization in Washington, D.C.
In its October 19 report, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Center for Public Integrity said it had obtained a June 29 letter from Sean Sullivan, the Republican chair of the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, to Mick Mulvaney, director of the White House’s Office of Management and Budget.
The center has posted the five-page letter online along with an attached one-page historical summary of the five-member board, which issues weekly reports for U.S. Department of Energy sites that include Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Y-12 National Security Complex, among other activities. In his letter, Sullivan said the board is a “relic of the Cold War-era defense establishment.”
The Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board is an independent oversight organization within the executive branch. It was created by Congress in 1988 to provide advice and recommendations to the secretary of energy on public health and safety at the defense nuclear facilities managed by DOE. Those reports are publicly available and posted online, and they have been used by reporters and public interest organizations, among others. The Center for Public Integrity said the DNFSB has helped persuade the federal government to impose tighter safety rules and regulations at most of the eight nuclear weapons sites. [Read more…]