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Project on Government Oversight




POGO Testimony: Nukes Need Consolidation

April 26, 2004 


A new Department of Energy (DOE) security directive makes several nuclear weapons sites indefensible against terrorist attacks according to testimony tomorrow before the House Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations. In order to meet post-9/11 security requirements, Danielle Brian, Executive Director of the Project On Government Oversight, will urge that nuclear materials be moved from sites at Los Alamos, Lawrence Livermore, Sandia, Argonne West, and Idaho National Laboratories.

A classified April 5, 2004 directive mandated that DOE facilities that contain enough materials to make a nuclear weapon increase their defensive posture to a "denial" strategy because of the possibility of terrorists entering the facility and creating an Improvised Nuclear Device (IND) at the site. The upgrade will move the facilities away from the strategy of containment in light of the post-9/11 threat of suicidal terrorists.

"In the face of these requirements, the majority of Category I sites containing weapons quantities of plutonium and highly-enriched uranium can no longer apply band-aids to their security problems. DOE simply no longer has the luxury of having SNM [Special Nuclear Materials] at sites that can't be adequately protected, or where the costs of protection are prohibitive," according to Danielle Brian.

The April 27th hearing "Nuclear Security: Can DOE Meet Facility Security Requirements" will start at 10:00 am in Rayburn 2154 and will also feature testimony from the General Accounting Office and the Department of Energy. This is the second hearing by this Subcommittee on the topic of nuclear weapons security.

Founded in 1981, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is a nonpartisan independent watchdog that champions good government reforms. POGO's investigations into corruption, misconduct, and conflicts of interest achieve a more effective, accountable, open, and ethical federal government.

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