By JOE NEWMAN
As officials at the Y-12 nuclear weapons facility sort through their recent security breakdown, they've decided it might be best to move all of their nuclear materials, including highly-enriched uranium, into their on-site vaults.
The Knoxville News Sentinel's Frank Munger reported that the "security stand-down" is expected to last into next week. The federal contractor that runs the Oakridge, Tenn., facility made the decision with the support of the National Nuclear Security Administration. Munger writes:
According to the federal NNSA, "This is being done to address additional security training and execution deficiencies identified by the contractor after Saturday's incident. However, all nuclear materials at Y-12 are in safe, secure storage and we remain entirely confident in the security of Y-12's facilities."
The Saturday "incident" involved three peace activists, including an 82-year-old nun, who cut through three fences surrounding the facility, posted a banner on one of the buildings and poured human blood on the premises, according to the News Sentinel's orginal story about the break in.The activists were arrested under federal trespassing charges and are expected to appear in court Thursday.
The Project On Government Oversight's Peter Stockton, an expert in nuclear security, told Munger that the security breach could be a sign of a much bigger problem.
"The DOE's unprecedented response to last weekend's break-in, alarming as that incident initially appeared, suggests that it has revealed even more drastic flaws in the security at the Y-12 facility," Stockton said via email. "At this point we can only guess what those flaws might be."
Joe Newman is the director of communciations for the Project On Government Oversight. Image is from Flickr user NNSANews.