Following revelations yesterday that the U.S. government accidentally published online a confidential report containing detailed information about the country's civilian nuclear sites and programs, Energy Secretary Steven Chu this morning said the Department of Energy is making extra efforts to ensure the security of the nation's nuclear sites.
Appearing before a House subcommittee, where he was testifying about budget issues, Chu said his understanding of the incident "is that someone made a mistake, probably at the government printing office, and released sensitive information."
The report, Chu noted, included a list with locations for spent nuclear fuel storage and "information on where some high-level uranium...is in our sites," such as within tunnels at certain federal government laboratories, including Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.
"That is of great concern," Chu said. "We will be looking hard and making sure the physical security of those lab sites is sufficient to prevent people, terrorists, others from getting hold of that material."
Chu added: "That's all I can say at the moment."
According to reports, the 266-page government document, which was being prepared by the United States for the International Atomic Energy Agency, offers a detailed accounting of the country's civilian nuclear reactors and waste storage facilities.
Experts say much of this information, though sensitive, was already publicly available, and administration officials say its release did not compromise national security. It was posted on the Government Printing Office website but has since been removed.