It's the system, not the people
A colleague of mine commenting on the Centrus piece, writes
I think this piece is wrong-headed.
There is an odor of clever conspiracy and direct corruption that permeates the article. I disagree with the spin.
The DOE nuclear stuff is no different than traditional military contracting (albeit by chance a bit worse and a bit better at times). Look at the LCS program for example.
Few here are clever enough to be conspiratorial. They are just embedded in a politically constructed system protected from industrial competition where ordinary folks doing ordinary things end up doing stunningly stupid things. Yet, no politician or congressional committee is persistent enough to change.
Your piece conjures up too much evil and conspiracy, and not nearly enough banality and inertia
He’s right. Obviously, his comments apply to the Hanford and other clean up boondoggles as well. They also apply to the NRC. Most of the rank and file at the NRC are not anti-nuclear. They went into nuclear power because they believed in it. But they have been put into a situation where nuclear power cannot be too safe. They too are just responding to the incentives that we have given them.
A corollary is that changing the people will not solve the problem. We must change the system.
Reinhold Niebuhr wrote “The problem of the age is not imposing morality on the individual, but imposing morality on the organization,” Niebuhr was not talking about the nuclear establishment, but he could have been.
Is nobody then expected to be accountable for the system that they operate in? That is a recipe for continuous poor performance with no mechanism for improvement.
I think it is clear that the incentives are misaligned, and I can’t fault Centrus for hiring their gov’t sugar daddy as he has the Rolodex full of DOE people. That doesn’t excuse the incompetence nor the lack of performance.
That's right. People value their own security first, that means their job. This builds in a reaction worse than a conspiracy because it is very hard to attack. because it has no centre.