Pantex Admonished for Safety Violations

By Kelly James |

Published 04/24 2014 09:37PM

Updated 04/25 2014 05:55AM

AMARILLO -- A recent letter from the Department of Energy (DOE) to the Pantex plant's operators, B&W, highlights six serious incidents over the last two years.

None of them led to any deaths or injuries but they certainly had the potential.

This letter dated April 17th was sent to B&W Pantex's general manager John Woolery.  It highlights six different incidents that need to be corrected.  Most of them occurring within the last 13-months.

The incidents involved:
  • Improperly stored explosives.  In one case, explosive material was found in a bay not approved for storage.
  • Improperly labeled explosives.  For example, explosive material was found in 11 of 13 containers labeled as non explosive.
  • Improper transport of explosives.  An August 2013 incident shows Special Nuclear Material was moved at the same time as highly explosive materials which is not supposed to happen.
The National Nuclear Security Agency (NNSA) did not return our calls.  But, this is what the director of the DOE's office of enforcement and oversight, John Boulden III had to say in the letter to B&W.

"B&W Pantex should consider reviewing training procedures, administrative control measures, material handling systems and quality assurance processes."

No fines or other punishments were handed down but the DOE and NNSA will closely monitor the plant's effectiveness in handling, labeling and management of hazardous materials.

Before the letter was written last week, B&W was already on their way out as the plant's contractor.

Consolidated Nuclear Security (CNS) takes over operations July 1.  They are aware of the letter sent to B&W but would not comment.

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