NNSA Says Security at Y-12 National Security Complex Has Improved


Retired Air Force lieutenant-general and now National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) chief Frank Klotz asserted last week that security at the Y-12 National Security Complexat Oak Ridge National Laboratory(ORNL) has improved significantly since a July 28, 2012 break-in at the plant when three aging peace activists, led by an 82-year old nun, managed to breach the facility’s supposedly impregnable perimeter security systems.

Before a security guard arrived on the scene, the activists loitered on the grounds of the facility where bomb grade uranium is stored, spray-painted peace messages and Bible verses on walls, sloshed walls with human blood, and wrapped one of the buildings with crime-scene tape.

On his first thoughts when he heard that three activists had infiltrated what was supposed to be one of the country’s most tightly guarded facilities, Klotz, in an interview with Knoxblog, said that the circumstances around the intrusion were similar to the way security breaches occur in the military, in that “there’s not one single causal factor. There are multi-variant explanations for what happened and they all combined at the wrong time to produce an accident or incident.”

Referring to claims that security operators at the site ignored broken alarms and sensors, Klotz added, “it seemed to me there had been an acceptance of broken sensors, false alarms, and people had come to accept that as a way of life rather than working to solve or fix those problems so that sensors worked the way they were supposed to or the security system worked the way it was supposed to.”

On whether security has improved, “that most definitely is the case,” Klotz said, “because this is something that the Department of Energy and the NNSA and indeed the whole federal government has focused on intently since the incident here.”

Security improvements include:

  • upgrades to the plant’s Central Alarm Station;
  • protective force operations are now being handled internally by B&W Technical Services,
  • the plant’s facility manager, after former security contractor WSI (also known as G4S and Wackenhut) was fired following the 2012 intrusion; and
  • a deputy general manager for security operations has been appointed.

Also, improvements have been made to the security of Y-12’s perimeter by installing 2,900 linear feet of concertina wire; 27,000 linear feet of new animal fencing have been installed around the perimeter intrusion detection and assessment system (PIDAS) to reduce false alarms triggered by roaming animals; and a replacement of 75  low-pressure sodium lights with LED lights in “key zones” around the PIDAS to improve camera assessments during dark hours.

Source: Homeland Security News Wire


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