How safe is the Pantex nuclear plant, which assembles the nation’s atomic weapons? Channel 13’s Terry FitzPatrick examines this controversial facility, located only a few miles from Amarillo, and the Texas Panhandle’s largest employer. The KERA production focuses on one current and one former Pantex employee, both of whom have severe health problems, and on another employee’s widow. Beyond these stories, the documentary also considers Pantex workers’ objections to the federal government’s excessive secrecy about the plant’s safety measures and the growing concerns about the effects of nuclear waste on the surrounding countryside.
At 8 p.m., immediately preceding Building the Bomb, Nova looks at The Bomb’s Lethal Legacy, the story of a radioactive waste site in Washington state. If this dangerous area is to be made safe, it will cost American taxpayers billions of dollars.