Sep 14 2007

US Lab Has Not Accounted For Plutonium Stock In Over A Decade

Published by at 1:04 am under All General Discussions

This is one story that needs to become public so people who are responsible, but not acting responsibly, are removed so that new people who take their job seriously can be put in place. In this age of terrorism it is criminally negligent to not account for all the nuclear material in the posession of a facility. And this goes double for Federal laboratories:

A stockpile of plutonium and other nuclear weapons materials stored at Los Alamos National Laboratory hasn’t been fully accounted for in 13 years or more, a government audit has found.

The northern New Mexico lab’s workers have done regular, partial inventories of the material, which the government considers to be at high risk of theft, the audit by the Energy Department’s inspector general, Gregory Friedman, found.

Yet an inventory of all the material hasn’t been done in “perhaps 13 years or more,” Friedman wrote. It wasn’t even done when the lab’s management contract changed last year, investigators noted in the report made public Wednesday.

Friedman said he is concerned because the lack of complete inventories means that lab workers likely haven’t physically accounted for all of the material in more than a decade.

“The capability to deter, detect and assist in the prevention of theft or diversion of this material is critical,” Friedman wrote. Yet, he added: “We were unable to find anyone with knowledge or documentation of the last time the vault was completely inventoried.”

Is nuclear material missing from this facility and possibly in the hands of terrorists in this country? Sadly no one can know for sure. Spot checks are on thing, but a change in custody as happened with a contract switch should have included a complete count before and after. The list of people who fell down on the job over this one is huge. I would expect even the new contractor to have made the audit just to CYA themselves about what they were taking custody of. This screw demands serious investigation.

Comments Off on US Lab Has Not Accounted For Plutonium Stock In Over A Decade

Comments are closed.