WASHINGTON - September 2 - In response to a Freedom of Information Act request submitted by the Project On Government Oversight (POGO), the Department of Energy (DOE) late last night released a long finished report on security at nuclear weapons facilities. The report is harshly critical of the Department's security at nuclear facilities, although it's impossible to tell that from the press release issued by the DOE's National Nuclear Security Administration which makes the dubious claim that it has implemented 70 percent of the report's recommendations already.
"It's unfortunate that DOE not only kept this report from the public but is now failing to acknowledge the dramatic changes this report recommends," said Danielle Brian, Executive Director of POGO.
The report presents the findings of an independent review overseen by Admiral Richard Mies which was commission by former Secretary Abraham. In particular, the report finds that DOE has:
--Failed to create a much-needed plan to consolidate nuclear materials underground; --Allowed weak security standards at some facilities; and --Used inadequately vigorous testers in force on force exercises designed to test security.
The report also implies that Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (without naming the Lab) should be de-inventoried of its nuclear materials, long recommended by POGO:
"It appears that some SNM is being stored at some DOE/NNSA sites more for convenience than necessity. Some sites perceive that SNM holdings are inextricably tied to their missions. Some quantities of nuclear materials are stored to allow scientists access to their work; however, moving this material to more secure and remote sites, and bringing the scientists and mission to the material would de-crease the number of storage locations and consolidate SNM in more secure, un-populated areas."
POGO, which completed a comprehensive review of security several months ago, briefed Admiral Mies early in his work. The Mies Report reflects many of the concerns raised in POGO's report "U.S. Nuclear Weapons Complex: Homeland Security Opportunities" (see http://www.pogo.org/p/homeland/ho-050301-consolidation.html).
To learn more about the Mies Report, contact POGO's senior investigator Peter Stockton, who previously was a Special Assistant to the Secretary of Energy, at 703-589-1718.
A copy of the Mies Report can be viewed at the National Nuclear Security Administration's web site: http://www.nnsa.doe.gov/
Founded in 1981, the Project On Government Oversight is an independent investigative non-profit whose mission is to expose corruption in order to achieve a more accountable federal government.