Federal energy officials plan a complete overhaul of security at US nuclear labs following criticisms from congressional investigators.
The General Accounting Office (GAO), the investigative arm of the US Congress, said that the department's National Nuclear Security Administration had not been "fully effective" in managing safeguards and security programmes.
Energy secretary Spencer Abraham directed his department to take corrective action. "In light of recent security incidents at the labs, the administrator's plan for improved security must be aggressive and far-reaching, and must ensure greater accountability and confidence that corrective action will occur." In May, a set of keys and an access badge were lost from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
The Los Alamos National Laboratory has had a number of security lapses including the loss in 2000 of a hard drive that contained classified information. The drive was later found behind a copying machine.