: Norfolk Southern taps Atkins Nuclear Secured to lead safety review

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Three months after a catastrophic derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, Norfolk Southern Corp. has brought in Atkins Nuclear Secured to conduct an independent safety review of the rail company.

On Feb. 3, a Norfolk Southern 

train carrying hazardous materials derailed on the outskirts of East Palestine in what was described as a “PR nightmare” for the rail industry. The company’s stock has fallen 16.1% since then.

“The entire Norfolk Southern team is deeply committed to being an even safer railroad. The nuclear industry is the gold standard for industrial safety, and we intend to set the gold standard for the railroad industry,” Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw said in a statement Thursday. “Through our discussions with ANS, it became clear that we share a focus on safety and operational excellence. We are confident that ANS is the right partner to help identify opportunities to help strengthen our safety practices.”

Related: Norfolk Southern says both East Palestine tracks in its ‘busiest corridor’ will be running again in June

ANS, a design, engineering and project management consulting company, will report directly to Shaw and will evaluate Norfolk Southern’s safety culture, safety-related training programs, employee engagement, oversight and monitoring, and communications protocols and practices.

Norfolk Southern took a $387 million charge related to the East Palestine derailment during the company’s fiscal first quarter.

On Thursday, Shaw and the leaders of 12 Norfolk Southern labor unions sent a joint letter to employees committing to work together to improve rail safety.

Related: Norfolk Southern committed to ‘making this right’ for East Palestine after Ohio derailment, CEO to tell senators

Norfolk Southern’s stock rose 0.3% Thursday, compared with the S&P 500’s

1.1% gain.

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