Yesterday, Reps. John D. Dingell (D-MI), Chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and Bart Stupak (D-MI), Chairman of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, tasked the Government Accountability Office (GAO) with investigating the Department of Energy's (DOE) handling of security at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL).
TIME Magazine reported in May that mock terrorists who tested Livermore 's security succeeded in two separate scenarios at stealing simulated special nuclear materials and detonating an improvised nuclear device on the spot. In his press release, Rep. Dingell referred to the recent training exercises:
In April of 2008, the Department of Energy's Office of Independent Oversight evaluated safeguards and security at Lawrence Livermore and the results were troubling…The evaluation identified serious problems with equipment, staffing and training. Given that this facility houses significant quantities of nuclear material, this alarming state of affairs is completely unacceptable in a post 9-11 world.
As a way to alleviate this dire security situation, which threatens the seven million people who live within a 50-mile radius of the lab, POGO determined in an investigation released in March that weapons-grade weapons-quantity special nuclear material could and should be removed safely from Livermore by March 2009.