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00000179-65ef-d8e2-a9ff-f5ef8d430000The Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington was home to Native Americans and later to settlers. It turned into an top-secret military workhorse during World War II and the Cold War. Now, it’s one of the most pressing and complex environmental cleanup challenges humanity is facing in the world.This remote area in southeast Washington is where the federal government made plutonium for bombs during WWII and the Cold War. It’s now home to some of the most toxic contamination on earth, a witch’s brew of chemicals, radioactive waste and defunct structures. In central Hanford, leaking underground tanks full of radioactive sludge await a permanent solution. Meanwhile, a massive $12 billion waste treatment plant, designed to bind up that tank waste into more stable glass logs, has a troubled history.00000179-65ef-d8e2-a9ff-f5ef8d440000Anna King is public radio's correspondent in Richland, Washington, covering the seemingly endless complexities of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

Hanford Whistleblower Emerges On Timecard Fraud Case

US Department of Transportation
File photo of the CH2M Hill office in Englewood, Colo.

There is a new whistleblower at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington. But it doesn’t have to do with technical concerns.

It’s the latest twist in an ongoing timecard fraud case.

Grace Randazzo worked as a paralegal for the contractor CH2M Hill in its Denver office for more than 10 years. Starting in June 2011 she claims she experienced retaliation for trying to pull documents for a query from the federal Department of Justice. Investigators suspected the company was doling out kickbacks for Hanford contracts.

Randazzo says in her legal complaint that her direct supervisor pressured her, blocked document collection and disclosure and closed her out of important meetings and information at work.

The documents also say her supervisor discouraged her from taking leave to attend to her dying mother. She was fired in October 2011.

Randazzo is asking for double back pay with interest, emotional distress damages and litigation fees.

CH2M Hill didn’t respond for requests for comment.

Anna King calls Richland, Washington home and loves unearthing great stories about people in the Northwest. She reports for the Northwest News Network from a studio at Washington State University, Tri-Cities. She covers the Mid-Columbia region, from nuclear reactors to Mexican rodeos.