U.S. Auditors to Nuclear Agency: Collaborate More on Securing Radiological Sites

A Transportation and Security Administration officer carries radiological-nuclear detection equipment in his backpack at Penn Station in New York City in January. Efforts by the National Nuclear Security Administration to foster better international standards for safeguarding radiological sources would benefit from more outside expertise, a new report finds.
National Journal
Rachel Oswald
See more stories about...
Rachel Oswald
March 7, 2014, 7:20 a.m.

Con­gres­sion­al aud­it­ors are telling the En­ergy De­part­ment it should col­lab­or­ate more with oth­er key agen­cies on de­vel­op­ing ways to se­cure ra­di­olo­gic­al items.

The de­part­ment’s semi­autonom­ous Na­tion­al Nuc­le­ar Se­cur­ity Ad­min­is­tra­tion in 2012 launched a pro­ject aimed at en­cour­aging the highest stand­ards around the world in the pro­tec­tion of ci­vil­ian-sec­tor ra­di­olo­gic­al sources that might be stolen and used by ter­ror­ists to build a so-called “dirty bomb.”

The nuc­le­ar agency set up two pi­lot sites for the “ra­di­olo­gic­al se­cur­ity zone” pro­ject — one in Peru and an­oth­er in Mex­ico — but neg­lected “to com­plete some im­port­ant plan­ning and eval­u­ation steps,” the Gov­ern­ment Ac­count­ab­il­ity Of­fice con­cluded in a Thursday re­port.

NNSA of­fi­cials failed to seek in­put from “key stake­hold­ers” with rel­ev­ant ex­pert­ise, such as the In­ter­na­tion­al Atom­ic En­ergy Agency, State De­part­ment and Nuc­le­ar Reg­u­lat­ory Com­mis­sion, GAO of­fi­cials found.

“By not fol­low­ing the pro­fes­sion­al prac­tice of early en­gage­ment of key stake­hold­ers, NNSA may have missed op­por­tun­it­ies to ob­tain and lever­age the ex­pert­ise, per­spect­ives, and re­sources of these agen­cies,” the re­port states.

For in­stance, the agency missed out on learn­ing from the U.N. nuc­le­ar watch­dog or­gan­iz­a­tion what les­sons it has learned from years spent at­tempt­ing to im­prove re­gion­al ra­di­olo­gic­al se­cur­ity prac­tices.

In the event the nuc­le­ar agency ex­pands its ra­di­olo­gic­al se­cur­ity zone ini­ti­at­ive, of­fi­cials should seek out oth­er agen­cies’ ex­pert­ise and de­vel­op a con­crete plan for eval­u­at­ing the ef­fic­acy of the vari­ous zones, the re­port said.

Con­gress re­ques­ted the GAO study in the fisc­al 2013 De­fense Au­thor­iz­a­tion Act.

What We're Following See More »
PROCEDURES NOT FOLLOWED
Trump Not on Ballot in Minnesota
3 days ago
THE LATEST
MOB RULE?
Trump on Immigration: ‘I Don’t Know, You Tell Me’
3 days ago
THE LATEST

Perhaps Donald Trump can take a plebiscite to solve this whole messy immigration thing. At a Fox News town hall with Sean Hannity last night, Trump essentially admitted he's "stumped," turning to the audience and asking: “Can we go through a process or do you think they have to get out? Tell me, I mean, I don’t know, you tell me.”

Source:
BIG CHANGE FROM WHEN HE SELF-FINANCED
Trump Enriching His Businesses with Donor Money
4 days ago
WHY WE CARE

Donald Trump "nearly quintupled the monthly rent his presidential campaign pays for its headquarters at Trump Tower to $169,758 in July, when he was raising funds from donors, compared with March, when he was self-funding his campaign." A campaign spokesman "said the increased office space was needed to accommodate an anticipated increase in employees," but the campaign's paid staff has actually dipped by about 25 since March. The campaign has also paid his golf courses and restaurants about $260,000 since mid-May.

Source:
QUESTIONS OVER IMMIGRATION POLICY
Trump Cancels Rallies
5 days ago
THE LATEST

Donald Trump probably isn't taking seriously John Oliver's suggestion that he quit the race. But he has canceled or rescheduled rallies amid questions over his stance on immigration. Trump rescheduled a speech on the topic that he was set to give later this week. Plus, he's also nixed planned rallies in Oregon and Las Vegas this month.

Source:
‘STRATEGY AND MESSAGING’
Sean Hannity Is Also Advising Trump
6 days ago
THE LATEST

Donald Trump's Fox News brain trust keeps growing. After it was revealed that former Fox chief Roger Ailes is informally advising Trump on debate preparation, host Sean Hannity admitted over the weekend that he's also advising Trump on "strategy and messaging." He told the New York Times: “I’m not hiding the fact that I want Donald Trump to be the next president of the United States. I never claimed to be a journalist.”

Source:
×