Senate Subcommittee Probes Hanford Whistleblower Retaliation

<p>Hanford Whistleblowers Dr. Walter Tamosaitis (foreground) and Donna Busche</p>

Hanford Whistleblowers Dr. Walter Tamosaitis (foreground) and Donna Busche

Two whistleblowers who were fired after reporting nuclear safety issues at the Hanford Waste Treatment Plant met with a Senate subcommittee in Washington, D.C. today.

The hearing addressed retaliation against employees who raised concerns, and the roles and responsibilities of the Department of Energy and its contractors regarding whistleblowers.

Two whistleblowers -- Doctor Walter Tamosaitis and Donna Busche -- were informally invited to testify before the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Subcommittee, but that invitation was later blocked by the ranking minority Republican on the committee.

Before the hearing began, Senator Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, blasted the culture of secrecy at Hanford saying retaliation against individuals such as Dr. Tamosaitis and Busche is unacceptable.

Senator Wyden added, "This is important for our part of the world, but it is important because all over the country at other sites this is being followed and employees are saying what are the consequences of coming forward and speaking the truth to influence policy makers."

Tamosaitis was fired in 2010 and Busche just last year after voicing concerns about ongoing safety problems at Hanford.