Brenda Edwards McCracken
Nuclear Safety and Discrimination Whistleblower
“The nuclear industry is a unique high reliability organization with potential hazards to the environment and public. Safeguards on critical equipment, processes, and procedures protect operations, employees, and the public. Those boundaries should never be tested, but human error inevitably creates accident precursors that must be addressed. Employees must be free to report concerns without fear of reprisal. Personal integrity is paramount to safety.” Brenda Edwards McCracken, Nuclear Safety and Discrimination Whistleblower
In fact, Brenda Edwards McCracken worked as a safety professional for 20 years. She graduated at the top of her class with a M.S. in Hygiene-Radiation Protection from the University of Pittsburgh, Graduate School of Public Health; her B.S. in Biology, Magna cum Laude, from Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia; and a UNIX, C, and C++ Specialist Certificate from Joliet Junior College, Joliet, Illinois.
In June 2010, Brenda reported poor management and illegal discrimination and retaliation by low and under qualified managers on minor projects under the major contractor (UChicago Argonne LLC) for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Argonne National Laboratory. She attests to a firestorm of retaliation as a result.
According to Ms. McCracken, buried in the Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on DOE projects from 2008 to 2012 is evidence that half of the projects did not comply with DOE project management requirements. Keep in mind that DOE projects typically manage high risk projects with potential harm to the public. One of the projects reviewed converted depleted uranium hexafluoride into a more stable chemical form at two facilities located in Kentucky and Ohio. The project was completed 2 years after the target date, and $200 million over the $346 million budget. Ms. McCracken emphasizes that if the $200 million overrun bought additional public safety, it might be justified, but hastens to note that prudent use of contract money was not the case in her experience.