Y-12 Protection Firm Faces Ax: Site Operator

The firm that provides security for the Y-12 National Security Complex could face the ax in the absence of rapid responses to multiple problems, the Tennessee nuclear arms facility's contract operator said on Tuesday in prepared comments reported by the Knoxville News Sentinel.

The reproach was the result of an Aug. 29 "on-site personnel incident" linked to a staffer for the protection company WSI-Oak Ridge, according to Babcock & Wilcox Technical Services Y-12. The operator's remarks appeared to refer to last week's recovery from a guard vehicle of confidential documents tied to an comprehensive Energy Department assessment of site protective procedures. Details suggested the documents, which included quiz and response data, had in breach of protocol been tapped to bolster employee performance in future examinations.

B&W Y-12 indicated it had pressed the firm at a prior point in September to defend its moves during and following the Oak Ridge site's July infiltration by peace activists. The site manager might be deprived of its own business arrangement with the Energy Department over the unauthorized entry.

"It's a serious condition that we found and are very concerned about it," Energy Department deputy operations head William Eckroade told the newspaper. "I think we've sent a clear message to the site folks and contractors about our displeasure and are taking the necessary actions to make sure our security inspections are complete and whole and give a good indication of the security (at Y-12)."

Emergence of the assessment data has prompted John Garrity's temporary removal as WSI-Oak Ridge's head of Y-12 defensive activities, an Energy Department insider said on Tuesday.

The Y-12 contractor said it has "moved quickly" over several weeks "to improve security, maintenance and staffing." It has been given oversight of the security firm through reorganization of business arrangements since the July break-in.

"All of us at B&W Y-12 appreciate the [Energy Department] inspector general's work in assessing the event of July 28 and making recommendations for security operations improvement. We've taken dramatic actions and are making major security improvements at the site," stated Charles Spencer, the firm's president and general manager.

"Moving forward, B&W Y-12 management continues to carefully examine the circumstances that led to the security incursion and make effective improvements that are identified through ongoing internal review processes," Spencer added.

The company described recruiting specialists in structural defenses for reassessing and upgrading plant procedures and mechanisms.

Y-12 has begun receiving "highly experienced professionals" for overseeing facility protection and sustainment efforts as well as "to provide strong leadership for these critical functions," the operator stated.

"Corrective measures have included extensive retraining of the security force, increased security patrols, the addition of fencing and repairs to security cameras," according to the firm. The company also said it had updated the "prioritization system" for sustaining protective measures at the plant.

September 5, 2012
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The firm that provides security for the Y-12 National Security Complex could face the ax in the absence of rapid responses to multiple problems, the Tennessee nuclear arms facility's contract operator said on Tuesday in prepared comments reported by the Knoxville News Sentinel.

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