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INL workers file complaint against Battelle

Published On: Apr 18 2013 02:12:29 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 18 2013 11:32:00 PM CDT

Caleb James reports.

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho -

A lawyer representing nuclear operators at the Idaho National Laboratory has filed a complaint against Battelle Energy Alliance.

Brian Simmons and Ralph Stanton allege the BEA, the company that manages the site, has systematically retaliated against them for raising health and safety concerns after they were exposed to plutonium contamination at INL on Nov. 8, 2011.

Sixteen workers were exposed to radiation in the fuel-packaging accident.

According to the complaint, since Simmons and Stanton were exposed, they had symptoms of radiation poisoning including: nausea, vomiting, confusion, diarrhea and high blood pressure, which lasted for months.

Jack Sheridan, the Seattle attorney representing the two workers, said BEA continued to deny the significance of the exposure, removed them from their job duties for eight months, and assigned them to sit in a basement office without meaningful work. The company sent them to see a psychologist in response to their continued expression of concerns about health and safety at INL, and has imposed unjustified discipline on them, Sheridan said, adding that the company also prohibited Simmons and Stanton from speaking with each other at work.

“Bringing this case forward and exposing unsafe practices will improve safety at INL in a long run, and hold the wrongdoers accountable for their actions,” said Sheridan in a statement.

They seek unspecified damages and ask the Department of Labor to make the workplace safe.

Misty Benjamin, INL spokesperson, gave the following statement in response to the allegations: "We disagree with the filed complaint, and we will be strongly defending." 

We will have more details tonight on KIDK Eyewitness News at 5:30 and Local News 8 at 6.

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