DoE nuclear site security lacking

3 October 2002

A report released by a member of the US House of Representatives, Edward Markey (D-Massachusetts) said that security improvements at Department of Energy (DoE) nuclear sites were still at least 18 months away from implementation.

Markey claimed that neither the DoE nor the administration had reacted with the speed and attention required. He added that he hoped to add $300 million to pending fiscal 2003 appropriations bills after the August recess to increase security at DoE sites.

A spokesman for DoE's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), which is responsible for the DoE's nuclear defence sites, said the report was outdated and inaccurate. It pointed out that the report covered the period 1992-2001, and did not take account of improvements made in 2002.

• A new Threat Advisory System has been created by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The system - which replaces previous guidelines introduced in 1998 - is designed to communicate and respond to potential threats affecting NRC licensees and facilities. The system, based on the Homeland Security Advisory System, uses five colour-coded conditions to determine the level of threat present in the USA at any one time. The five conditions are: green (low risk); blue (guarded); yellow (elevated); orange (high); and red (severe). The current condition is yellow.
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