Whistleblower Fired After Raising Safety Concerns at Federal Nuclear Site

Donna Busche alleges retaliation and harassment by employer at Hanford Nuclear Reservation

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A woman who raised concerns about safety conditions at an extremely polluted nuclear site in Washington State was fired Tuesday by her employer, which was contracted to clean up the facility. 

URS Corp. told Donna Busche, 50, that she was being fired for cause, the Associated Press reports, but Busche alleges retaliation and harassment from her employer since she filed the safety complaint in 2011.

Busche is the second person to be fired from URS after raising concerns about safety at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, the most polluted nuclear weapons production facility in the United States. Walter Tamosaitis, who worked at the company for 44 years, was fired in October.

The waste treatment company was hired to build a facility that would turn dangerous radioactive material at the site into glass. The clean-up at Hanford, which was built by the federal government in the 1940s to build the first atomic bomb, costs $2 billion a year.

The Energy Department, which owns Hanford, said it was not involved in the decision. The U.S. Department of Labor is reviewing Busche’s claims.