A construction worker’s broken leg in February has triggered a restart on the clock counting the hours accident-free at the MOX facility on the Savannah River Site, an advocacy group announced Tuesday.

The group Savannah River Site Watch released the confirmation it got last week from a spokesman from the U.S. Department of Energy. A worker lost his balance and fell while preparing to paint concrete, breaking his lower leg, according to the email from Jim Giusti of the Energy Department.

Until then, construction on the Mixed-Oxide Facility, or MOX, had gone 24.6 million work hours without a lost day due to accidents.

Efforts were unsuccessful to get comments directly from the Energy Department or from the company doing the actual construction, CB&I AREVA MOX Services. Giusti is on vacation, and each of the other media-relations employees contacted referred the inquiry to a different person.

Tom Clements, director of SRS Watch, condemned the lack of transparency. “The failure to publicly and transparently report accidents at the MOX plant is fitting with the way that the National Nuclear Security Administration and CB&I AREVA MOX Services are attempting to run the troubled project: as far out of the spotlight of public scrutiny as possible,” he said. “Given the continuous rumors about design and construction problems at the MOX project, it is imperative that NNSA and CB&I AREVA MOX Services implement an openness policy and halt attempts to hide project developments from public scrutiny.”

The Energy Department’s most recent annual evaluation of the construction company’s performance awarded a “very good” rating of 89 percent and noted zero violations or citations from safety regulators.

However, it also called for improvement in the company’s drug-testing procedures.


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