Tuesday, February 27, 2007

SAIC and the shadow government--Part III

All right, let's bring this home. We have found, over the past two days some amazing things about SAIC.

The most amazing is yet to come.

Their fingerprints are all over the nuclear industry, they are partnered with Bechtel in building Yucca Mountain, they were apparently instrumental in denying the claims of many veterans exposed to radiation, and they are enthusiastically behind the "re-purposing" of "low level" radioactive metal wastes into things like, oh, tableware and such.


Yes. From the article...
Periodically over the years, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the U.S. Department of Energy, prodded by executives in the nuclear industry, have sought to ease the rules against re-using "lightly" contaminated radioactive waste. ... If slightly radioactive metal were combined with other metals, the resulting material could be made into all kinds of consumer items—knives and forks, baby strollers, chairs, rings, eyeglass frames, bicycles, reclining rockers, earrings, frying pans. It also could be used in construction. ... Lest any of this sound improbable, in the 1980s radioactive table legs began turning up in the United States everywhere from restaurants to nursing homes. A radioactive gold ring cost a Pennsylvania man his arm. The public outcry was so great that in 1992 Congress set out to ban this form of recycling. The N.R.C., D.O.E., and nuclear industry saw the ban coming and were not happy about it, but they also saw a way out: maybe it would be possible to develop broad guidelines that would allow the contaminated waste to be recycled based on what were deemed "safe" exposure levels. Never mind that there is no such thing as a safe dose of radiation. Two months before the ban was signed into law, the N.R.C. gave the multi-million-dollar job of formulating the guidelines to an outside contractor. The contractor was SAIC.
No. Say it is not so. How can this be? This is what happens when industry and "contractors" write laws and federal regulations outside the system of checks and balances.

The synergy of this arrangement was discovered accidentally by a Washington lawyer, Daniel Guttman, whose longtime passion has been conflicts of interest that inevitably—purposefully—arise from government outsourcing. Guttman called attention in public hearings to what was happening, thoroughly embarrassing officials at the N.R.C. and the D.O.E. and stirring the ire of public-interest groups. The N.R.C. killed its contract with SAIC. The recycling project was put on hold. And the N.R.C. filed suit against SAIC, alleging "false and/or fraudulent representations to the effect that [SAIC] was providing services to the NRC which were free from bias." SAIC has denied the conflict-of-interest claims, and the suit is still pending.

Keep in mind, these are the things we can find out just from this Vanity Fair article. What more must there be which could not be sourced?

We have to keep an eye on companies like SAIC, our survival as a republic depends on it.

No comments: