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Charles Varnadore

AKA Charles Douglas Varnadore

Born: 24-Mar-1941
Birthplace: Tullahoma, TN
Died: 7-Mar-2013
Location of death: Lenoir City, TN
Cause of death: unspecified

Gender: Male
Religion: Baptist
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Government

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Oak Ridge National Laboratory whistleblower

Exposed health hazards and mishandling of nuclear materials at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Claims included that soil samples from nuclear power plants, sent to him for testing, were stored improperly.

"After Charles D. Varnadore complained about safety at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, where he worked as a technician, his bosses moved him to an office containing radioactive waste. When an industrial hygienist recommended that either he or the waste be moved, he was put in a room contaminated with mercury...

Judge Von Brand sent the matter to the labor secretary, Robert Reich, so that damages could be assessed against Martin Marietta. Instead, Mr. Reich dismissed some of Mr. Varnadore’s charges on the ground that they had been filed too late, and he dismissed others because he did not believe that they had been proved conclusively. A panel appointed by Mr. Reich found that while there had been retaliation against Mr. Varnadore, it was not pervasive. It threw out the rest of Mr. Varnadore’s claims, and in 1998 a federal appeals court supported these high-level reversals."[1]

After retiring, Varnadore was among 23 people arrested in an ATF sting, after conspiring to deal guns without a license -- he had given some 200 guns to a friend to sell at flea markets. Varnadore served 27 months in prison.

Blinded in his left eye as a child.


[1] "Charles Varnadore, Whistle-Blower at Lab, Dies at 71", Douglas Martin, New York Times, 4 August 2013.

Father: Doug Varnadore (worked at Oak Ridge, d.)
Mother: Melba Varnadore (d.)
Wife: Frances Simmons (m. 1976)
Son: Alan Varnadore (d.)

    Oak Ridge National Laboratory (c. 1960 to 2000)
    Oak Ridge National Laboratory Analytic Chemistry Division
    Oak Ridge National Laboratory enriched uranium production, K-25 plant (-1987)
    Martin Marietta
    Conspiracy to sell guns without a license, selling his gun collection (convicted 2003)
    Risk Factors: Colon Cancer, Blindness


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