Another story of corporate incompetence has surfaced. The Bechtel Corporation is in hot water due to failing safety guidelines, not training workers up to standard, and failing to follow procedures at the Hanford Nuclear plant outside of Richland, Washington.
Some of the major projects the Bechtel Corporation has done includes: the Hoover Dam, the Hong Kong Airport and the Channel Tunnel in the U.K. however Bechtel is an all too familiar corporation in today’s world: They are big, powerful, and the great-grandchildren of the founder who have only known wealth their whole lives, run the company and they feel that they are not responsible for the violations that have occurred at Hanford. The recent project at Hanford is important especially when it comes to safety. Ralph Vartabedian of the Seattle Times reports:
"The Hanford plant is being built to treat and estimated 56 million gallons of radioactive waste created from about a half century of nuclear weapons production.Yet there are mistakes, but not the type of mistakes that come with every project, but incompetent blunders. When workers are not trained and safety regulations are being violated when dealing with radioactive waste, is an inexcusable offence. Bechtel though of course does not want to be blamed for this and instead puts the blame on someone else. Ralph Vartabedian of the Seattle Times again explains:
The waste is stored in underground tanks. At least some of those tanks are leaking radioactive sludge, posing a threat to the nearby Columbia River and making the 12.3 billion treatment plant one of the most urgent environmental projects in the nation.
Bechtel had failed to follow procedures, maintain safety margins, train workers and correct items that did not meet requirements, among other problems.”
“An email last week to senior DOE officials from Bechtel executive Frank Russ, which was obtained by the LA times, laid some of the blame for the problem on the government.In translation that is saying, ‘it is the governments fault for making everything harder for us to do anything because there are all these rules to follow so people don’t get hurt.’
Russo cited ‘a lack of clear scope and a lack of clear requirements in the construction project’”
This case is a case upon many others that are happening. The corporate executives live in another world that is secluded to ours, in which the rules don’t apply and that any regulations that protect people from something as serious as radioactive material, is government taking away freedom from them.
These finding were a part of an “initial internal investigation” by the DEO. The DOE at this time want to schedule a conference with Bechtel.
It will be disappointing if Bechtel walks away with a penalty like the ones that have happened in the recent past to other big corporations, which are at times equivalent to regular people paying a $20 ticket.
Breaking safety guidelines anywhere is not a popular thing to do, especially when it comes to ingredients to assemble a nuclear missile, but if you’re corporation like Bechtel, it is only slap on the wrist for you.