On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Stan Baker halted the federal contractor vaccine mandate by the Biden Administration pending further court action. However, until the mandates are officially overturned by the courts, a fight for medical freedom—and national security—is emerging at one of America’s most crucial and precarious facilities: Pantex nuclear plant in the Texas panhandle.

According to the Pantex website, “As the cornerstone of the nation’s Nuclear Security Enterprise, Pantex applies unique capabilities to ensure the effectiveness of the U.S. nuclear stockpile in support of the Nation’s nuclear deterrent. We accomplish this through executing nuclear explosive assembly and disassembly, special nuclear material testing and evaluations, and manufacturing and assessing high explosives at our historic site. Consolidated Nuclear Security, LLC manages and operates the facility along with the Y-12 National Security Complex in Tennessee under a single contract from the U.S. Department of Energy/NNSA.”

Currently, however, 30-40 percent of the facility’s employees are refusing to get injected with the experimental COVID-19  vaccines.

In an interview with Texas Scorecard, spokesman for the Panhandle Rights Advocates for Freedom, Michael Ford said that while the high number of employees at risk of losing their jobs is cause for concern from a national security standpoint, the trouble goes much further.

“You don’t need to lose 100 people, you don’t need to lose 50 people, you could lose 10 people in a critical area and completely cripple your capability,” Ford said.

Based on the 30-40 percent statistic and the Pantex website’s claim of 3,300 full-time employees – Biden’s mandate could force around 1,000 Pantex employees to leave.

And Ford states they can’t just replace their employees overnight with just anyone.

“It’s a very long and lengthy process and intentionally so because, number one, we want to make sure that the people are well vetted, but number two, you know, there’s a compartmentalization process, where you’re dealing with highly, highly, highly classified information,” he said. “And the people have to prove that they have a need to know and then once they’ve established a need to know then they get a little bit more information and that’s the way it works in a classified environment. These things take literal years for a person to become competent in their role to be able to do what they’re hired to do.”

The Pantex employees were enjoined in the State of Texas’s suit against the federal contractor vaccine mandate and had been seeking a preliminary injunction in the Texas Southern District Court to halt the vaccine mandate for Pantex employees. However, since U.S. Judge Stan Baker, a Trump appointee to the federal bench has halted the mandate nationwide, Pantex employees will be granted temporary reprieve as well until the court acts further in this matter.

The Pantex plant is managed by Consolidated Nuclear Security, which also manages a facility in Tennessee under the same federal contract. A Judge in the Western Kentucky District Court halted the federal contractor mandate for the Tennessee facility last week which left Ford and the Pantex employees questioning why their mandate was not also halted for the Texas facility, considering all of the Pantex employees are under the same management and contract clause.

It is partially due to the preliminary injunction granted by the U.S. District Judge in Kentucky, Gregory Van Tatenhove, that Judge Baker has granted a preliminary injunction nationwide in order to lessen confusion.

Although some Pantex employees have been granted exemptions from the vaccine, management could still refuse to accommodate the exemption and place them on unpaid leave after January 4.

Workers in a nuclear facility already fall under some of the strictest scrutiny in terms of health and safety. They submit to blood tests, where they could be fired if they take a pharmaceutical without a prescription.Workers also must abstain from alcohol consumption for 8 hours prior to a shift and each person in the facility must conform to necessary duty requirements including random drug tests in order to assure safety.

Ford said that “things that are happening there [vaccine mandates] should never be happening in a place where they intentionally wrap high explosives around plutonium. It’s a major breach of trust. It’s a major breach of culture. It’s a major breach of a number of nuclear safety rules that should never have happened.”

The rules that govern nuclear safety can be found in Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations where it is specified that any new hazard introduced to the facility must undergo analysis.

According to Ford, “among the things that are defined as hazards are materials that could cause or have the probability of causing injury, illness or death. And, these biologics [COVID-19 vaccines] meet all three of those and are demonstrated very well in the VAERS system.”

“There’s been no, what they call a hazard analysis, that’s required by law,” Ford explained. “You know, if there was a change in a couple words in a nuclear weapon procedure, that can take months just to change the words in a procedure or if there’s a change in a part or component that can take months or years to get the approvals to do that in a nuclear weapon environment and, and none of that scrutiny has been placed on these on these shots. And it’s again, it’s a direct violation of the nuclear safety rules.”

“That’s ordinarily the role of the federal government to be the watchdog over all this and they’re the ones that saying, you know, don’t do that. Just just go ahead and enforce these policies,” Ford added. “That’s going to inject your population without analysis. And so you know, it’s when the government and the contractor have joined forces and are basically ignoring these nuclear safety rules that then we have a huge problem, then there’s no oversight happening right now.”

However, workers at Pantex are determined to hold the line, according to Ford.

“They’re saying that we have to draw this line and we cannot step away from it. This is our time to step forward and do this for the country,” he said. “So, they are very determined. They’re very dedicated. Their very strongly held religious beliefs are actually strongly held religious beliefs, and their strongly held Constitutional beliefs are strongly held constitutional beliefs. And many have medical issues that absolutely rule them out as a potential recipient for these biologics, and so we’ll see what happens. But they are very determined to hold the line and to do this not only for themselves, but for the country.”

Sydnie Henry

A born and bred Texan, Sydnie serves as the Managing Editor for Texas Scorecard. She graduated from Patrick Henry College with a B.A. in Government and is utilizing her research and writing skills to spread truth to Texans.