Citing numerous safety concerns, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) on May 1 announced it is dismissing the company that manages its beleaguered Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island, N.Y. Associated Universities Inc. (AUI), Brookhaven's contractor for 50 years, failed to address the department's "needs and expectations for community relations and environment safety and health stewardship," according to a DOE statement. Such a move is unprecedented for DOE, but Secretary of Energy Federico Peña said in the statement that it was necessary to restore badly damaged public trust in the lab's management. The contract termination followed a DOE review that concluded that Brookhaven's environment, safety, and health programs "require improvement and significant management attention." Troublesome episodes have rocked the lab in recent months, most notably in January, when tritium-contaminated water was discovered to have been leaking for years from a single-lined, spent-fuel pool beneath one of the lab's reactors (...

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