Bipartisan US Legislation Seeks Protection for Nuclear Safety Whistleblowers, Sen. Grassley Says
22:13 GMT 30.09.2021 (Updated: 13:24 GMT 06.08.2022)
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Employees at the US Department of Energy (DOE) and Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) who report safety violations would be protected by legislation intended to close a loophole in existing whistleblower protection laws under bipartisan legislation announced by Senator Chuck Grassley.
“This bill reiterates our intent and clarifies the law to make it clear that whistleblowers who call attention to nuclear safety violations are protected from retaliation,” Grassley said in a press release on Thursday.
Grassley said Congress intended to protect workers at both agencies with the Energy Policy Act of 2005, only to have that protection quashed by court rulings that cited the law’s lack of an unequivocal waiver of sovereign immunity - a principle that shields the US government from lawsuits.
Senator Tammy Duckworth, a cosponsor of the legislation, said, “The legal loophole that now denies DOE and NRC employees full whistleblower protections when engaging in protected activity ultimately weakens oversight, accountability and public confidence in the industry.”
The legislation was introduced by Grassley and Senator James Lankford, both Republicans, as well Duckworth and Senator Ron Wyden, both Democrats, according to the release.