Re: “Cyberattacks grind Hanford nuclear energy workers’ benefit program to a halt” [May 10, Times Watchdog]:

The sudden pausing of worker benefits for sick Hanford workers who were given defective protective gear is a critical mistake and an issue that cannot be overlooked. Cyberattacks on the U.S. government should be no reason to stop aid for workers essential to ensuring Washington’s safety in the contaminated Hanford nuclear site.

In 2017, a tunnel storing nuclear waste partially collapsed, putting the site at high risk of spreading radioactive contaminants into the surrounding area. Luckily, the site was stabilized in early 2021 thanks to the efforts of Hanford cleanup workers. These workers are risking their lives to ensure the safety and security of Washingtonians for future generations. We need to continue to push U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell to co-sponsor legislation introduced by U.S. Sen. Patty Murray and U.S. Rep. Adam Smith that makes it easier for workers sick from radiation poisoning to qualify for benefits, and to call upon our representatives to adequately protect workers.

The work they are doing cannot be delayed, and we strongly believe that it is our responsibility to support and make amends to those who are not only exposed to radiation on a daily basis, but were given leaking respirators, exacerbating the potential health hazards.

Rachel Sun, Lynnwood, Youth Against Nuclear Weapons Coordinator at Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility