Regulatory Watchdogs

Center for Regulatory Effectiveness

Greenpeace International
Public Citizen
Sierra Club

Center for Auto Safety
Center for Science in the Public Interest
Clean Air Trust
Corporate Library
Environmental Defense
Environmental Media Services
FM Watch
Friends of the Earth
PR Watch
U.S. Public Interest Research Groups


DOE Can't Defend Against Terror Attacks
This title is unfair, but so are terrorist attacks on DOE sites that "contain substantial quantities of Category I special nuclear material." For the uninitiated, this is the stuff used to make nuclear weapons. A successful terrorist attack on one of these DOE sites could, according to GAO, "have devastating consequences for the site and its surrounding communities." The quote is from GAO's recent written and oral testimony before Congress. GAO told Congress that DOE probably will not be able to take the measures necessary to defend against terrorism at these sites anytime soon.

The first step in protecting a site containing nuclear weapons material is accurately assessing the potential type of attack on the site. DOE does this assessment in a classified document called "Design Basis Threat." After September 11, 2001, DOE tore up its DBT and started over. DOE's new DBT was finalized in May 2003. Dear Reader--unless you're one of the many Spooks tracking Winston-- you and I will never see the new DBT. It is Top Secret.

The problem with the new 2003 DBT is that DOE can't defend against the threat described in the document. According to GAO, DOE needs more money and better planning in order to protect itself and us. Winston hopes that the money and planning are both forthcoming.

By the way, based on GAO's testimony, here's where not to live if you're worried about being vaporized in a nuclear terrorist attack:

  • Savannah River, South Carolina
  • Richland, Washington
  • Idaho Falls, Idaho
  • Oak Ridge, Tennessee
  • Click for GAO Testimony to Congress.

    CRE Homepage