Bill targets DOE nuclear lab security
- By Judi Hasson
- Mar 15, 2000
A bill introduced Wednesday would increase inspections of information security
systems at the Energy Department's nuclear weapons laboratories across the
"For too long, security has been dangerously flawed at DOE and its laboratories,"
said Rep. Tom Bliley (R-Va.), chairman of the House Commerce Committee.
Bliley, who introduced the bill, complained that DOE's inspections of its
sites had fallen off dramatically in the past few years. He said that problems
were overlooked by inspectors or not adequately corrected by plant officials.
For example, Los Alamos National Laboratory was inspected in 1994, and although
DOE found problems, the department's inspection team did not return to the
site until 1997 to make sure the flaws had been fixed.
Los Alamos also received "excellent" and "marginal" ratings in security
from two oversight officials in the same year, Bliley said.
"It is clear that DOE needs consistent, vigorous, independent and high-level
oversight of its sites' security operations to ensure that they do not repeat
the seemingly endless pattern of short-lived reforms and temporary fixes,"
The bill would create an Office of Independent Security Oversight within
DOE to inspect the department's major nuclear weapons sites once every 18
months to make sure its physical plant and information security systems
are up-to-date and operating properly.