Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Probe Finds Safety Steps Were Skipped on Submarine

Sailors on the submarine USS Hampton failed to do daily safety checks on the ship's nuclear reactor for a month and falsified records to cover up the omission, a Navy investigation shows.

It appears from a preliminary investigation that sailors in Submarine Squadron 11 had skipped the required analysis of the chemical and radiological properties of the Hampton's reactor for more than a month, even though a daily check is required.

Other members of the squadron discovered the lapse during a routine examination required as part of the redundancy built into the system so that problems are caught, Lt. Cmdr. Ryan Perry, a Navy spokesman at the Pentagon, said yesterday.

"There never was any danger to the crew or the public," Perry said.

The Navy Times quoted an unidentified source with knowledge of the investigation as saying that failing to measure and maintain the correct water chemistry in the reactor over the long term could cause corrosion in the propulsion system.

First Female DEA Administrator Leaving for Job in Private Sector

Drug Enforcement Administration chief Karen P. Tandy, the first woman to hold the administrator post, said she is resigning after four years in the job.

Tandy told employees that she was leaving to take a job as a senior vice president of Motorola, DEA spokesman Garrison Courtney said. Motorola is the chief sponsor of a DEA traveling museum exhibition about global drug trafficking and terrorism; Courtney said the exhibition is funded solely by private donors and corporations, not by taxpayers.

Under Tandy, the DEA said, it eliminated more than 65 percent of the nation's illicit methamphetamine labs. In a statement, the agency said it has stripped drug lords of more than $3 billion of assets this year -- outpacing the agency's own $2.4 billion budget.

Chertoff Restarts Construction Of Arizona-Mexico Border Fence

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff invoked his power to bypass certain laws and restart construction of a fence on the Arizona-Mexico border.

On Oct. 10, a judge ordered work stopped on a portion of the fence in the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area near Naco, Ariz. She ruled the federal government did not fully study the environmental impact of the fence.

Congress gave Chertoff the power to waive environmental and other laws to build border barriers when it passed the Real ID Act of 2005.

-- From News Services

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