Nuke info release has Livermore ties

June 3, 2009 6:39:04 PM PDT
The government is on damage control after putting sensitive information about U.S. nuclear facilities online. It is an embarrassing mistake that released critical details about hundreds of nuclear sites, including a major facility in the Bay Area.

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It says right at the top of each page the document is highly confidential and sensitive. However, the government printing office mistakenly posted all 266 pages on the World Wide Web.

The U.S. Department of Energy created this document for the International Atomic Energy Agency, which monitors civilian nuclear activity in the U.S. and around the world, including the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Marylia Kelley is the executive director of Tri-Valley Cares, a Livermore watchdog group.

"What's unusual is to have it publicly available all in one list," says Kelley. "There is no information in here that is classified, and because it's all unclassified, it is publicly available at other sources."

Still, Energy Secretary Steven Chu called the accidental posting embarrassing and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D) wants an investigation.

Jim Bono with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has issued a written statement: "While we would have preferred the document not be released, the Departments of Energy, Defense, and Commerce and the NRC all thoroughly reviewed it to ensure that no information of direct national security significance would be compromised. There was no classified information included in the document. The release of this information poses no additional security risk to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and does not affect our day to day security operations."

There is plenty in the report about the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, but perhaps the most sensitive information is about a facility more than 2,400 miles from here.

That's the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. The document contains not only details, but a diagram of "Tube Vault 16," showing exactly where highly enriched uranium is stored.

"What's missing from this document are the buildings where the majority of Livermore Labs' nuclear materials are stored," says Kelley.

Materials like deadly plutonium and uranium. The reason the document is meant to include only civilian nuclear sites, is because what goes on in these buildings involves military weapons.

Kelley argues, if the International Atomic Energy Agency really wants to closely monitor all nuclear activity this document should be much thicker.

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