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The company finally did conduct tests, and publicized its findings that the water contained no radioactive contamination. “The water was sampled,” Moniak said. “Two months after the complaint was filed. It wasn’t even the same water.” And although it wasn’t contaminated with nuclear waste, the water contained what Moniak describes as very high levels of high explosive. “The sample results are stated in parts per million. These chemicals are considered unsafe in low parts per billion!” There are safety issues the trial addressed that extend across the fence at Pantex and represent a threat to the entire Panhandle, Steve Sotille said before packing up and leaving for Florida. Sotille directed me to testimony on an incident involving frayed detonation cables. “The word to keep in mind here is ‘detonation,'” he said, when I interviewed him in July. Judge Avery took note of the incident, and said that the company had responded by sending engineers into the work area to examine the cables. In trial transcripts, it was clear, however, that the engineers refused to come down when the call came from the cell where the workers encountered the bad cables and that they only came in response to the B Team technicians’ threat to stop work. \(One of the engineers recalled that he was in his office discussing a golf “Everyone is talking about the MOX plant now,” whistleblower Norman Olguin said in his living room in Amarillo in late January. “We pushed them on the safety issues and lost. Now, I don’t think there’s much hope for changing the way we work out there.” 11] 20 THE TEXAS OBSERVER FEBRUARY 13, 1998
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