Pantex Security Concerns - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

05.10.07

Pantex Security Concerns

Security at Pantex is drawing more attention on Capitol Hill.

A Chief Officer with the Department of Energy admits he is concerned about the level of security while the current guard strike drags on. NewsChannel 10's Marissa Bagg uncovered information this evening about how several lawmakers voiced their concerns about it.

Some are calling for operations involving nuclear weapons at Pantex be shutdown while guards remain on strike to ensure security.

That's according to Project On Government Oversight, a government watchdog organization.

But so far, we've be told of no move to do that.

A Chief Officer of the Department of Energy says a long-term strike could pose a problem.

Glenn Podonsky says "With the number of hours that the security officers are working... We're concerned about the level of security over the long haul."

Some supervisors stepping in to guard the plant are working up to 80 hours a week.

Right now a guard force of only 200 are guarding Pantex, that's less than half the number employed to protect the sensitive site.

Even the union's president says the plant will be better protected when the strike ends.

"The best people to protect that site is us. We have proven it time and time again through assessments and exercises and that sort of thing," says Robert Lynch, the PGU president.

Podonsky says if the strike continues for another few days the D.O.E. will send inspectors to see what the long term effects may be, and possibly recommend operations be curtailed at the plant.

Pantex maintains the plant is completely secure during the strike.

 

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