The watchword for the U.S. nuclear weapons complex is “Mission First, People Always.” But a recent investigation by the nonpartisan Center for Public Integrity has uncovered complaints within the complex about safety risks, accidents, and poor management practices, leading to avoidable radiation exposures and some near-calamities. These reports raise questions about whether the warhead production and development mission is being pursued at the expense of worker safety. This panel discussed these incidents and the broader challenges for regulators and federal contractors in implementing a strong safety culture at U.S. nuclear weapons facilities.

Joyce Connery

Joyce Connery is a member of the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board.

Patrick Malone

Patrick Malone is a reporter for national security at the Center for Public Integrity. 

Don Nichols

Don Nichols is a retired senior safety official at the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration.

R. Jeffrey Smith

R. Jeffrey Smith is the managing editor for national security at the Center for Public Integrity.

Toby Dalton

Toby Dalton is co-director of the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.