Record Fine For Security Breaches | Chemical & Engineering News
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Web Date: July 17, 2007

Record Fine For Security Breaches

DOE proposes $3.3 million penalty for Los Alamos violations
Department: Government & Policy
FINED
Los Alamos National Lab experienced several security lapses that resulted in its manager, the University of California, being fined $3.3 million by the Department of Energy.
Credit: LANL
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FINED
Los Alamos National Lab experienced several security lapses that resulted in its manager, the University of California, being fined $3.3 million by the Department of Energy.
Credit: LANL

Management of Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) will be fined $3.3 million because of past security breaches, the Department of Energy announced on July 13. The fines are a DOE record.

The proposed fine for the University of California, which was the lab's sole manager from 1943 until June 2006, is $3 million. The rest of the penalty is directed to the consortium of entities that now runs the lab, a group that includes UC as well as Bechtel National, BWX Technologies, and Washington Group International.

In support of its multi-million-dollar penalty, DOE pointed to the discovery of classified material on a portable computer drive found in a worker's home in October 2006. DOE blamed this unauthorized removal of classified information on "deficiencies in the security controls established and implemented" by UC during its tenure as the lab's manager.

The incident followed a string of lab security problems that took place over several years at LANL and led to the removal of the director of the National Nuclear Security Administration, the DOE department that runs LANL and the nation's other nuclear weapons' labs.

UC has 30 days to object to the fines. In a statement, the university noted that it was no longer sole lab manager at the time of the violation and that the individual who removed the classified material was a contract employee and not employed by UC or LANL. However, UC and other members of the current lab management team announced on the day DOE proposed the fine that they agreed to take several security improvements called for by DOE in a compliance order that accompanied the fines.

 
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