Mock Terrorists Reach Nuclear Bomb Material in U.S. Facility Drill

Personnel transfer a plutonium oxide container at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina. Mock terrorists reached a supply of simulated nuclear-bomb material during an exercise at the facility in January (U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration photo).
Personnel transfer a plutonium oxide container at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina. Mock terrorists reached a supply of simulated nuclear-bomb material during an exercise at the facility in January (U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration photo).

Energy Department personnel pretending to be terrorists reached a substance representing nuclear-weapon fuel after they fought through defenses in a January exercise at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina, the Project on Government Oversight reported last week.

Targets in a series of "force-on-force" exercises conducted at the facility included the H-Canyon Complex, which can contain up to several tons of weapon-usable uranium and plutonium, according to unspecified sources cited by the watchdog group.

The DOE Savannah River Office rejected a Freedom of Information Act request by POGO staff for unclassified findings from the drills, arguing that the materials still "contain sensitive security information."

The accountability organization, though, said "the results of these tests are vital to developing new and better ways of securing our nuclear sites."

"POGO has found over time that when the test results are released, the problems get fixed," the group added.

Aug. 2, 2013
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Energy Department personnel pretending to be terrorists reached a substance representing nuclear-weapon fuel after they fought through defenses in a January exercise at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina, the Project on Government Oversight reported last week.

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