After numerous disclosures about releases and discharges from the US nuclear weapons complex that harmed public health and safety, Congress created the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board (DNFSB) in 1988. Its statutory mission is to “provide independent analysis, advice, and recommendations to the Secretary of Energy to inform the Secretary, in the role of the Secretary as operator and regulator of the defense nuclear facilities of the Department of Energy, in providing adequate protection of public health and safety at defense nuclear facilities.”
Though the Board is far more active at DOE’s current nuclear weapons facilities, it plays a role at the Idaho National Laboratory. For instance, it monitors the progress, or lack thereof, at the Integrated Waste Treatment Unit, which has thus far failed to solidify INL’s liquid high-level waste.
The DNFSB’s ability to provide adequate oversight would be compromised if the Department of Energy succeeds in limiting its access to information. The Snake River Alliance always comes down on the side of government openness, and we joined our colleagues in the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability to push back on DOE Order 2401.1. You can read more at http://www.ananuclear.org/the-nuclear-free-frontpage/2018/8/26/ana-sends-letter-to-sec-perry-in-defense-of-dnfsb and https://www.propublica.org/article/nuclear-safety-board-slams-energy-department-plan-to-weaken-oversight.