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Secret US List of Civil Nuclear Sites Released

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the no-harm-no-foul-right dept.

Security 167

eldavojohn writes "Someone accidentally released a 266-page report on hundreds of sites in the US for stockpiling and storing hazardous nuclear materials for civilian use. While some ex-officials and experts don't find it to be a serious breach, the Federation of American Scientists are calling it a 'a one-stop shop for information on US nuclear programs.' The document contains information about Los Alamos, Livermore and Sandia, and opinions seem to be split on whether it's a harmless list or terrorist risk. One thing is for sure: it was taken down after the New York Times inquired to the Government Accountability Office about it."

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167 comments

glad they took it down..... (5, Funny)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#28194773)

Now nobody will ever be able to find it ;)

Re:glad they took it down..... (4, Insightful)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#28194871)

Oh, well. At least they still have Google Earth [techchuck.com] to tell them, "Hey, terrorists, don't look here. There's nothing sekrit about our blurred base, move along."

Re:glad they took it down..... (0, Offtopic)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#28194939)

Hmm, that article is interesting.

For the most part, satellite imagery services have reached agreements with various governments about whether they can photograph sensitive locations and, if so, at what resolution. Similar informal agreements exist with companies such as Microsoft and Google, which provide maps and virtual earth services. For example, as shown here, the images available of the neighborhood near Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington DC start to get blurry as the service maps areas closer to the White House.

But these sorts of agreements are informal and, apparently, subject to revision without notice. That's the apparent message of a story that appeared in The Sun, which found that a military base that houses some of the country's nuclear-armed submarines had lost the protective fuzziness that had masked its appearance in earlier versions of Google's imagery service.

Maybe it's just newer pictures with a better satellite and there never was any "informal agreement" to begin with?

Re:glad they took it down..... (1)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 4 years ago | (#28196931)

You're suggesting the selective blurring of the base in the older imagery was a coincidence? It was blurrier than other imagery of neighboring areas from the same time period...

So I think a better hypothesis is, there was/is an informal agreement, but when updated photography came in somebody goofed up and didn't re-blur it before re-applying it.

Re:glad they took it down..... (2, Funny)

overcaffein8d (1101951) | more than 4 years ago | (#28197203)

Maybe the people who built the building didn't do it right, and the building itself is blurry.

Re:glad they took it down..... (0, Redundant)

Reece400 (584378) | more than 4 years ago | (#28195609)

Oh Great, That will work well.. The terrorists will assume these blurs are all military bases, etc. like they are in the rest of the country and bomb them all! Might as well paint a target on them instead!

Re:glad they took it down..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28195097)

so they accidentaly the whole list ?

Re:glad they took it down..... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28195823)

http://wikileaks.org/wiki/Obama_IAEA_nuclear_sites_declaration_for_the_United_States%2C_draft%2C_267_pages%2C_5_May_2009

jesus (5, Interesting)

ilblissli (1480165) | more than 4 years ago | (#28194813)

how in the hell have there been so many serious leaks like this recently? why is no one being held accountable?

I don't know. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28194883)

I'm really horny ilblissli. Will you jack me off and dildo my ass with my iPhone?

Re:jesus (0, Troll)

Tukz (664339) | more than 4 years ago | (#28194957)

It's not really "leaks".
It's Obama doing a spring cleaning after Bush' mess.

Re:jesus (3, Interesting)

notarockstar1979 (1521239) | more than 4 years ago | (#28196023)

I can only answer one of those. There are so many serious leaks because people aren't being held accountable. Hang someone in the public square for it (figuratively) and make an example of them. Others will secure their data pretty quickly.

Re:jesus (2, Interesting)

ilblissli (1480165) | more than 4 years ago | (#28196191)

i think they need to do it literally. if selling national secrets is treason punishable by death, leaking them should also be.

put down your pitchforks (3, Insightful)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 4 years ago | (#28196475)

If you vigilantes sit still for a second and actually RTFA you'll see that there aren't any "national secrets" that were leaked here -- this information was "sensitive" and its release is embarrassing at best, but hardly a hanging offense.

On another note, I wonder if you felt the same way about the leak of a covert agent's identity during the Bush Administration? Were you hoping to see Scooter Libby, Karl Rove, or Dick Cheney in a noose?

Re:put down your pitchforks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28197113)

Actually yes.

Terrorist's response... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28194821)

tl;dr

Secret Open Government (2, Interesting)

azior (1302509) | more than 4 years ago | (#28194827)

Nice juxtaposition:

Open Government Brainstorm Defies Wisdom of Crowds
Secret US List of Civil Nuclear Sites Released

"for civilian use" (4, Insightful)

wjh31 (1372867) | more than 4 years ago | (#28194835)

there is a huge difference between nuclear material for civilian use, and weapons grade stuff. Even if some terrorists were able to get a-hold of civilian nuclear material they probably wouldnt be able to make a nuke. Having said that, a dirty bomb requires no expertese atall

Re:"for civilian use" (2)

Big Hairy Ian (1155547) | more than 4 years ago | (#28194955)

I just loved the 3 sites mentioned in the summary did anyone not know they were in the Nuclear industry??? You are correct though even if they did get their hands on Civilian Nuclear materials (Even the top end stuff) they wouldn't be able to make anything more than a dirty bomb. One quibble on that front though many of these facilities also produce Nuclear materials for the military. I'm sure they are only ever stored in small quantities before being shipped off somewhere that's actually secret i.e. not on this list but it's still a potential risk.

Re:"for civilian use" (4, Interesting)

vivaoporto (1064484) | more than 4 years ago | (#28195385)

The point of terrorism is to create terror, not necessarily by killing people or destroying large infrastructures. A single attack on a civilian nuclear facility, even if it didn't destroy or damage anything sensitive, could be enough to fuel the opponents of nuclear power and set the nuclear energy industry on the USA 50 more years back.

Re:"for civilian use" (1)

Big Hairy Ian (1155547) | more than 4 years ago | (#28195463)

Agreed although I'm sure it would be back to normal once people had forgotten about it. I mean it's not like people have stopped building ridiculously tall buildings is it. And airport security seems to be there more for show than any kind of serious deterrent.

Re:"for civilian use" (4, Interesting)

vivaoporto (1064484) | more than 4 years ago | (#28195531)

although I'm sure it would be back to normal once people had forgotten about it.

Not really. The Three Mile Island accident [wikipedia.org] was a mild, harmless incident in a nuclear energy facility but it is still used by nuclear energy opponents to denounce the "harms and perils" of the nuclear power.

Re:"for civilian use" (1)

Big Hairy Ian (1155547) | more than 4 years ago | (#28195683)

True some important safety legislation came out of that though. Lets face it there were issues with the design which led to a catastrophic failure. Nothing like as bad as Chernobyl but then the Russians are still building fission reactors oooh and selling them to Iran. The people who point out 3 mile island as why nuclear is really dangerous are of the same mob as the people who want to close down the LHC because it might attract the attention of the Mutant Stellar Goat.

Re:"for civilian use" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28196229)

There were some issues in the design that *prevented* a Chernobyl type incident.

TMI was probably the only reactor of that type that could have safely melted down like that without containment breach. This is because the secondary containment vessel was specially strengthened to withstand a direct hit from a B52 bomber missing the nearby military base's runway. If the incident had happened in any other contemporaneous reactor, it would have been a disaster.

Re:"for civilian use" (1)

AtomicJake (795218) | more than 4 years ago | (#28196641)

The people who point out 3 mile island as why nuclear is really dangerous are of the same mob as the people who want to close down the LHC because it might attract the attention of the Mutant Stellar Goat.

No, you are absolutely wrong. The Three Mile Island incident has clearly shown that you can actually lose control over your reactor, and that this can cause a real accident. I do not think that you can find any scientist who will deny this. On the other hand, the black hole rhetoric of the LHC critics is all but scientific.

Re:"for civilian use" (4, Informative)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 4 years ago | (#28197021)

Three mile island was a design failure that has been addressed and fixed. The coolant leak which resulted in low coolant causing resulted in the wrong procedures being implemented and the suspect of faulty sensors. We now measure coolant levels not only in the feed, but in transition through the piping before and after the reactor. There are backup coolant lines to boot.

The entire issue that was behind TMI has been addresses and implemented into all other facilities and the type of incident has never been repeated.

I think the big picture is that once they realized the sensors wasn't at fault and the problem was a lack of coolant verses ineffective coolant-bad readings, figured out a plan, vented for safety and enacted the plan to control the reactor, the biggest problem was the lack of ability to evacuate the surrounding and potentially effected population. Roads were jammed, many people had no immediate transportation and the traffic problems was making it difficult to get buses into the area. The Three mile Island accidence is pretty much impossible to happen again, but it showed how impossible it was to protect the people at the same time.

Re:"for civilian use" (4, Insightful)

paeanblack (191171) | more than 4 years ago | (#28197665)

Three mile island was a design failure that has been addressed and fixed. The coolant leak which resulted in low coolant causing resulted in the wrong procedures being implemented and the suspect of faulty sensors. We now measure coolant levels not only in the feed, but in transition through the piping before and after the reactor. There are backup coolant lines to boot.

There will be another Three Mile Island-scale accident in the future
There will be another Exxon Valdez
There will be another Cleveland East
There will be another Tay Bridge, Tacoma Narrows, and Hyatt Regency
There will be another Bhopal
There will be another Tenerife, Saudia Tristar, and Aloha 243
There will be another St Francis Dam
There will be another Titanic

There will be another Chernobyl

Industrial/Engineering/Transportation disasters will continue to happen in every industry. Nuclear power is not immune.

However, arguing against nuclear power on that basis alone is like arguing against bridges and airplanes because they collapse and crash and kill people.

I think the big picture is that once they realized the sensors wasn't at fault and the problem was a lack of coolant verses ineffective coolant-bad readings, figured out a plan, vented for safety and enacted the plan to control the reactor, the biggest problem was the lack of ability to evacuate the surrounding and potentially effected population.

All of the disasters above have a commonality: people making decisions on incomplete information, because of the malfunction/poor maintenance of sensors/simple parts or the system entering an unanticipated state. Most of the time that this happens, people make the right decision, and the public doesn't hear about it. Sometimes the wrong decisions are made and people die.

The Three mile Island accidence is pretty much impossible to happen again

The exact same confluence of events that caused TMI will happen again and again. The technology will be different, but the people will be the same. The way to extend the intervals between major disasters is not be studying where the technology went wrong, but where the people went wrong. We'll never build another TMI-design reactor again, so the technical details are moot.

Re:"for civilian use" (-1, Flamebait)

AtomicJake (795218) | more than 4 years ago | (#28195773)

Not really. The Three Mile Island accident [wikipedia.org] was a mild, harmless incident in a nuclear energy facility but it is still used by nuclear energy opponents to denounce the "harms and perils" of the nuclear power.

Oh that irony: "Mild, harmless incident". Three Mile Island nearly blew off as later Chernobyl [wikipedia.org] - it was just luck that the crew found the error before.

Re:"for civilian use" (4, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#28196291)

Oh that irony: "Mild, harmless incident". Three Mile Island nearly blew off as later Chernobyl [wikipedia.org] - it was just luck that the crew found the error before.

Flat out blatant scaremongering misinformation.

Chernobyl used graphite as a moderator. Purified coal. Burns great. Perfect way to vaporize the fuel all over the countryside. No problem getting the smoke out of the containment dome, since they didn't have one.

TMI, like pretty much all non-Russian plants, uses water as a moderator. Not exactly a great fuel for vaporizing fuel rods. Containment dome designed to hold specifically for this situation. It worked as designed. Mild and harmless because it was designed to fail that way, and did.

I wont even bother listing differences like positive vs negative void coefficients that acted in our favor.

Also it was not luck that the TMI guys found the stuck valve... The third shift would have sat on their hinders all day in mystification because they had an inaccurate preconceived notion as to what is going on due to some broken equipment. Maybe they would have figured it out eventually, if they drank enough coffee, maybe not. However, the first shift guys came in with no preconceived notions to dispel, looked at all the gauges, more or less said "WTF were you thinking?", and shut it all down no problemo pretty much instantly.

Re:"for civilian use" (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28196393)

Not to mention, Chernobyl happened because they were running a known risky test on the reactor without informing the second shift control crew they were doing that, so when the test conditions caused reactor output to drop, the crew overcompensated.

And the Chernobyl reactor didn't have a containment dome.

Re:"for civilian use" (1)

AtomicJake (795218) | more than 4 years ago | (#28196495)

That Three Mile Island and Chernobyl were completely different nuclear plants was not the point: The point was that Chernobyl exploded and caused many casualties and a highly contaminated environment, while Three Mile Island had luck.

Saying that it was not luck, because the next shift would have done something differently, is pure speculation. However it is no speculation that the TMI accident was very critical and nearly out of control. The next shift would not have had much time to gain control again.

Re:"for civilian use" (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28195897)

set the nuclear energy industry on the USA 50 more years back

You mean we'd start building reactors again?

Re:"for civilian use" (2, Insightful)

dave420 (699308) | more than 4 years ago | (#28195941)

The point of terrorism is to coerce people, pure and simple. Nothing more, nothing less. The method of terrorism, however, are as you stated - by using violence or the threat of violence.

Re:"for civilian use" (1)

toQDuj (806112) | more than 4 years ago | (#28196119)

[...] could be enough to fuel the opponents of nuclear power [...]

Woah! That's worth exploiting, don't you think?

Re:"for civilian use" (1)

jonadab (583620) | more than 4 years ago | (#28196263)

> A single attack on a civilian nuclear facility ... could fuel opponents
> of nuclear power and set the nuclear energy industry ... years back.

Now, that's an interesting point. I was looking at nuclear sites as being poor targets for terrorism, because their security is disproportionately high for the amount of terror an attack would create (compared to, say, a high-school football stadium, which is thousands of times easier to attack, and hitting a couple dozen of them would create almost as much terror as hitting a nuclear facility). But if the terrorist group's agenda were to harm the nuclear energy industry, rather than just cause random terror in the populace at large, that changes the considerations somewhat.

Nuclear sites are still difficult targets, but they are nonetheless potentially strategic.

Of course, I don't happen to *know* of any terrorist groups whose main agenda is against the nuclear power industry. What would that be, a weird splinter faction off of Greenpeace, or something?

Still, it's interesting to consider.

Re:"for civilian use" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28197647)

A single attack on a civilian nuclear facility, even if it didn't destroy or damage anything sensitive, could be enough to fuel the opponents of nuclear power and set the nuclear energy industry on the USA 50 more years back.

Then the Americans should be thankful that they don't have the people like the environmental "activists" Germany has in the country...

Re:"for civilian use" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28197911)

Setting the nuclear energy industry back another 50 years would put them to around 1920.

Re:"for civilian use" (5, Insightful)

dubiago (841235) | more than 4 years ago | (#28195369)

There were some pretty hefty reassurances during the Clinton Administration about the nature of nuclear proliferation when they gave North Korea nuclear reactors; they'd never make nuclear weapons as a result of having the reactors. Flash forward to a week ago, and they've detonated a ~20KT nuclear device. Some of this may just be the government playing C.Y.A., and flashing a "Don't Panic" sign. And, as you point out, dirty bombs aren't that hard to make. They may not have the bang that their fission/fusion cousins have, but they'll certainly make you miserable.

Re:"for civilian use" (2, Interesting)

ubersoldat2k7 (1557119) | more than 4 years ago | (#28195459)

Dirty bombs are just too cumbersome. Radiation levels on that stuff are just way to high for some lunatic's bomb engineer to handle, are hard to transport and easily detectable.

Re:"for civilian use" (1)

noundi (1044080) | more than 4 years ago | (#28195673)

Pack the device inside a van holding a sturdy led crate. If you went through the trouble of finding enough radioactive material, the latter is just small potato. I agree though, it's no easy task, but the problem remains to be finding radioactive material to begin with, the rest are just small obstacles.

Re:"for civilian use" (0, Troll)

Alascom (95042) | more than 4 years ago | (#28196809)

Its all fun and politics until Seoul and Tokyo and its 20 million residents disappear in a flash of light.

I vote for taking out North Korea today. I'd rather have a 100,000+ casualties today if it can prevent the likely horrific death of 20 million+ later.

Re:"for civilian use" (2, Informative)

vux984 (928602) | more than 4 years ago | (#28197171)

I vote for taking out North Korea today. I'd rather have a 100,000+ casualties today if it can prevent the likely horrific death of 20 million+ later.

What if it can't? What if it just sends the millions of survivors into the death-to-america mindset instead, providing anti-american terrorists a flood of recruits, labor, and funding. And a few years they detonate a nuke in a major city anyway.

"Take out X", that only creates more terrorism, unless you plan to exterminate everyone on the planet but you.

The way to end terrorism is a process of building bridges, not blowing them up.

You will never get it completely gone -- there will always be extremists that can't be reasoned with but, but killing innocent people just swells their ranks instead of diminishing them.

Re:"for civilian use" (2, Informative)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 4 years ago | (#28195627)

Having said that, a dirty bomb requires no expertese atall

Having said that, a dirty bomb requires nothing more than a few dozen smoke detectors, and if They didn't want to pay for it, the wal-mart down the street almost certainly has lower security than any of the facilities listed.

"The List" doesn't tell most people anything they couldn't already find out themselves if they wanted to (oh look, I can buy this stuff online [unitednuclear.com]).

Re:"for civilian use" (2, Informative)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#28196453)

Having said that, a dirty bomb requires nothing more than a few dozen smoke detectors,

No need for that, a granite countertop will do. Many granites are quite strongly radioactive compared to background radiation and are easily detectable using off the shelf geiger counters.

Alpha emitter smoke detectors will not work. Alphas are great for smoke detectors, after all, smoke isn't very dense, so there is a huge signal difference between "clean" and "smokey" air. But that makes it too hard to detect from far away, like more than a foot or so. Wave a cheap beta/gamma-only counter a couple feet away, hear nothing.

So, all you need for a dirty bomb is blow up a granite countertop (or tombstone) and tell the media it's something ... else ... and for a good time they should wave a counter over the dust.

You don't need an unsafe level of radiation for a dirty bomb, after all, that is a huge pain to deal with. All you need is something that clicks a bit more than average on TV. Click-click-click-click-click on the evening news.

Making radioactive contamination takes a heck of a lot more radioactive stuff than merely making radio-clicky-terror on TV. Even if you somehow got the good stuff, better to make a hundred harmless but very clicky "attacks" than one real genuinely dangerous attack.

Doesn't everyone know this? This seems terribly obvious.

Re:"for civilian use" (2, Interesting)

richard.cs (1062366) | more than 4 years ago | (#28196719)

While it's defiantly much harder to make a bomb from civilian nuclear material it's still possible and I'd guess a few skilled engineers (with no regard for their long-term health) could make one in less than 6 months. Spent nuclear fuel contains plutonium which is far easier to separate than the different isotopes of uranium as it can be done by chemical means. The plutonium would be heavily contaminated with Pu-240 which would cause some, not insurmountable, problems.

Implosion devices are out since they're so complicated to design and build which leaves us with the gun type bomb. This is usually considered impractical since the spontaneous fission of the Pu-240 causes the core to blow apart before it's maximum density is reached (fizzle), however a gun type device can be made, it just has to be much longer in order to bring the halves of the core together in a short enough time. This makes it impractical to drop from an aircraft or mount on a missile but such a device could be assembled inside, for example, a high rise office block on a floor chosen to match the airburst altitude for expected yield.

The bomb would probably still fizzle and produce a yield maybe a tenth that if pure Pu-239 could be used but that would be enough, maybe somewhere in the region of one kilo tonne.

Having said that I don't think that this list leaking is of much significance, all of this information was already available.

Re:"for civilian use" (1)

Boronx (228853) | more than 4 years ago | (#28197487)

I dirty bomb requires significant expertise if you want to avoid being killed transporting the bomb. Imagine material so hot that its mere radioactivity could endanger a wide area, then concentrate it into the size of a bomb. Plus, dirty bombs are very easy to detect.

Not secret! (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28194869)

Geez person writing the submission. RTFM. The list was not "secret". The guy clearly says that the list was only "sensitive" and could have been compiled from various public sources. He also clearly says that the breach was more embarrassing than a security problem.

Re:Not secret! (1)

bgray54 (1207256) | more than 4 years ago | (#28197859)

I don't think the person writing the summary was implying that the list was DoD classified. I read this as being a more generic definition of "secret". Plus, it's pretty obvious from reading the document that it is not "SECRET".

Scary (3, Insightful)

Peteyo311 (1555249) | more than 4 years ago | (#28194903)

I am I the only one that thinks this is a very odd list to have "accidentally" released?

Re:Scary (2, Informative)

Ortega-Starfire (930563) | more than 4 years ago | (#28195075)

Yes, Obama accidentally the document.

Here is the document blurb:

To the Congress of the United States:
I transmit herewith a list of the sites, locations, facilities, and activities
in the United States that I intend to declare to the International
Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), under the Protocol Additional
to the Agreement between the United States of America and
the International Atomic Energy Agency for the Application of
Safeguards in the United States of America, with Annexes, signed
at Vienna on June 12, 1998 (the ''U.S.-IAEA Additional Protocol''),
and constitutes a report thereon, as required by section 271 of Public
Law 109-401. In accordance with section 273 of Public Law
109-401, I hereby certify that:
(1) each site, location, facility, and activity included in the
list has been examined by each department and agency with
national security equities with respect to such site, location, facility,
or activity; and
(2) appropriate measures have been taken to ensure that information
of direct national security significance will not be
compromised at any such site, location, facility, or activity in
connection with an IAEA inspection.
The enclosed draft declaration lists each site, location, facility,
and activity I intend to declare to the IAEA, and provides a detailed
description of such sites, locations, facilities, and activities,
and the provisions of the U.S.-IAEA Additional Protocol under
which they would be declared. Each site, location, facility, and activity
would be declared in order to meet the obligations of the
United States of America with respect to these provisions.
The IAEA classification of the enclosed declaration is ''Highly
Confidential Safeguards Sensitive''; however, the United States regards
this information as ''Sensitive but Unclassified.''
Nonetheless, under Public Law 109-401, information reported to,
or otherwise acquired by, the United States Government under this
title or under the U.S.-IAEA Additional Protocol shall be exempt
from disclosure under section 552 of title 5, United States Code.
BARACK OBAMA.

-----
Amusingly, it is addressed to Congress. Which means it would have been leaked PDQ regardless.

Re:Scary (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28195169)

Most important part:

"Sensitive but Unclassified"

Atom experts say it is not such a big deal as the information revealed was already roughly known.
Source: My local news website.

It was a draft for the IAEA (International Atom Energy Agency).

Re:Scary (4, Informative)

Speare (84249) | more than 4 years ago | (#28196867)

The document was properly marked with "sensitive" flags, and the Government Printing Office posted it in error. GPO is part of the Legislative Branch, staffed by career civil servants, not political appointees. So saying that Obama's administration released it to the public is quite a stretch.

Re:Scary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28195443)

Yes, but only because you are on Slashdot where Obama and other liberals can do no wrong. Who cares that Obama released secrets with the only benefit being the appeasement of our enemies? The liberals here sure don't.

incompetent government agency of an incompetent (-1, Troll)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 4 years ago | (#28194935)

government releases said secrets of incompetent government, and this is news?

then again, calling out the fact it was on the net isn't exactly helping matters is it.

So, why was this supposed to really distract us from focusing on?

Re:incompetent government agency of an incompetent (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28195375)

The government has recently been a circus of one distraction after another. If they really wanted yet another distraction all they'd have to do is leak info about Sotomayor being a socialist (or a lesbian or an atheist, etc.) and the media wouldn't touch a real issue for months. Not that it matters. The American people are so inundated with manufactured outrage that we wouldn't know a genuine scandal if it bit us on the nose.

This is a good thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28195013)

As it shows how much of a hypocrite America is.

This would not happen in the UK.... (4, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 4 years ago | (#28195225)

We have a cunning plan to swamp terrorists with so many laptops, USB keys, DVDs, unformatted second-hand computers, external hard drives, secret documents held up to press photos, and so on that the chances of them finding anything of use top them among all the rest of the leaked data is insignificant.

Re:This would not happen in the UK.... (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 4 years ago | (#28196561)

At least the UK understands that security through obscurity is the only way to go.

/. wants the terrorists to win (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28195061)

I love the barely contained glee on slashdot whenever America fucks up somehow and helps the terrorists.

As far left as it's ever been.

Re:/. wants the terrorists to win (4, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 4 years ago | (#28195269)

We're geeks. We don't care if the terrorists win, just so long as Microsoft doesn't.

it is kind of a no big deal (3, Informative)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#28195103)

say the list was kept perfectly secret. as if no one who intends harm couldn't ferret out where the sites are. its not as if the sites are very mobile, most have been there for decades

and none of the material is easily weaponized. well, you could build a dirty bomb. but if you were building a dirty bomb, it would be easier to shop used medical equipment. perhaps from outside the country. i'm sure you could find some old radiology equipment in latin america and sneak it over the mexican border undetected. line it with lead and drive it in. pack it with some dynamite in a city center: boom, instant radioactive times square

finally, even if the sites were kept secret, they still need to be guarded. that's the real safeguard

although the list does allow those who intend to do harm confirmation of sites, and an ability to triage which is easier than another to attempt to breach

Re:it is kind of a no big deal (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 4 years ago | (#28195569)

Have to be pretty f*cking old radiology equipment, as the last cobalt machines probably went out of production something like 30 years ago. Today they generate X-rays electrically.

its not just the x-ray machines (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#28195749)

radiotherapy for cancer, markers/indicators in various diagnostic tests, positron emission tomography, etc.

of course a lot of these sources are extremely dilute, or have a very short half life. the dilution problem can be solved by a committed asshole, and there are also plenty of health care radioactivity uses that do not involve short lived isotopes

Re:its not just the x-ray machines (1)

squizzar (1031726) | more than 4 years ago | (#28196443)

There are a few cases where machines like this have escaped into the wild and caused problems. I'm sure I read one recently where a fairly strong radioactive source used for radiotherapy had been left in a disused hospital and taken by someone. See also people selling bits of RTGs for scrap, people dumping industrial radiation sources in scrapyards (hey, that was on House!) etc. etc. Lots of nasty nukular material out there without any need to go near a nuclear 'facility'

what you are referring to: (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#28197019)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goi [wikipedia.org]ânia_accident

link is from another commenter in this same thread. one of the worst nuclear disasters ever. note: link may not work because it contains portuguese characters and fucking slashdot doesn't use unicode encoding yet. welcome to 1994. follow the link and go to "search for..." and wikipedia will resolve it to the right article

as for house: i remember that episode. ll cool jay was the actor and he found a cool piece of metal in the trashyard he worked and hung it around his neck (shudders)

Re:its not just the x-ray machines (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 4 years ago | (#28197149)

It was the cancer treatment machines I was referring to. They generally produce X-rays as well, albeit at a substantially higher power than the ones used for diagnostic purposes.

Re:it is kind of a no big deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28195603)

It would be much easier then that. Just get a job as an ndt tech. I know some couyons with 6th grade educations that get hired for these jobs so you might not want to look too smart.

Re:it is kind of a no big deal (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 4 years ago | (#28196033)

Wouldn't it make more sense to disperse the radioactive material without a large explosion causing people to notice something's going on? The Goiânia accident [wikipedia.org] is a good example of how people spread radiation without even knowing something dangerous was going on. That way you'd have people unwittingly spreading the radiation all over the place, and by the time someone figured out what was going on, it'd be too late - the amount of contamination would be off the chart.

that's already happened (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#28196421)

http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/Traces_of_radiation_found_where_Litvinenko_ate [wikinews.org]

there are many ways to terrorize with radioactive material. but

plus side #1: it tends to get washed away after a few rains. nagasaki and hiroshima were nuked with plutonium, and they aren't permanently uninhabitable, or even radioactive above background radiation that much. although, something like chernobyl is different. it depends upon the type of radioactive element and how it is dispersed

plus side #2: any high profile place that an asshole might want to terrorize with radioactive contamination: they have radioactive detectors in place nowadays. not EVERYWHERE though, you could pick an out of the way place in a second tier city and do a lot of contamination before anyone notices, true

Re:that's already happened (1)

blueflash2o (931322) | more than 4 years ago | (#28196805)

plus side #1: it tends to get washed away after a few rains. nagasaki and hiroshima were nuked with plutonium,

Actually Hiroshima was nuked with uranium in a uranium gun type bomb but Nagasaki used the plutonium implosion bomb like we used at Trinity, but your point remains.

Re:it is kind of a no big deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28196051)

none of the material is easily weaponized. well, you could build a dirty bomb.

I was thinking the simpliest "bang" for your buck would be a conventional bomb set off at one of these sites, which results in a cheap dirty bomb with no risk of detection getting nuclear material in place, as it is already there.

Our government is retarded. Why some in this country think the best solution is to make if bigger astonishes me. It is just a matter of time before we are hit again and those "betting" on talk over action will starting singing a different tune or perhaps they will just continue to blame Bush.

Those who suggest this is not a big deal because it could be compiled through leg work, let me ask you this: Just because people can scan for opens ports on your firewall, does that mean there is no harm in you publishing your IPs and ports?

Seriously, we're doomed if we rely on the Federal Government to protect us, I mean a terrorist just shot two US soldiers in our country and the President hasn't even addressed it. What better way to terrorize our nation then to shoot soldiers are random when they should be safe. The stress of being in Iraq/Afghanistan is bad enough, but now they need to worry about getting shoot back at home?

BR>
I got news for you. 1). We are at war and 2). We're losing it.

huh? (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#28196311)

"Seriously, we're doomed if we rely on the Federal Government to protect us"

who the hell is going to do the job?

"I mean a terrorist just shot two US soldiers in our country and the President hasn't even addressed it. What better way to terrorize our nation then to shoot soldiers are random when they should be safe. The stress of being in Iraq/Afghanistan is bad enough, but now they need to worry about getting shoot back at home?"

almost every year, some student goes nuts and shoots up a campus. but i don't see students scared of going to school. what makes you think any solider worth his salt will terrorized by one lone nut?

Let's be really honest here... (5, Insightful)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 4 years ago | (#28195177)

If a clandestine organization has the funds, logistics, and operatives to carry out an attack on these facilities, they already know about them.

Who didn't know about los alamos, livermore, or sandia?

Re:Let's be really honest here... (2, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#28196079)

Or any hospital with a radiology department, or any college offering a nuclear energy engineering degree, etc.

What's actually going on is a battle inside the government over how to excuse our defenses using two diametrically opposed strategies. Its good to see a failure of cooperation in the government, that gives some hope to the citizens.

One govt spokes-clown talks up inadequate defenses by making fun of the opposition. The idea is to compare the opposition to a bad mork and mindy episode or some other "make fun of the foreigner" cultural phenomenon. The purposed of the propaganda is to spread the idea that the opposition is too stupid to figure out where the target is because they aren't smart like us americans. Even the dumbest american knows, if you're looking for a sensitive target to attack, merely look for the "blurred" areas on google maps, but a dumb furriner could never figure that out. So, its OK that our defenses are no good, since our fiercest opponent is only Mork from Ork as portrayed by Robin Williams.

On the other hand some government clowns like to excuse inadequate defenses by claiming the opposition was stronger than the bad guy in a james bond movie. I actually saw one govt spokes-clown on TV after 9-11 rambling on about how it must have taken an extremely large amount of money, unbelievable training, and immense organizational skills to do the 9-11 attacks. Which is pretty stupid since fundamentally all they did was buy a couple airline tickets for the same day, about as astounding as any convention organizer. That propaganda has the purpose of making us feel OK that our defenses fail because the "others" are so strong.

So much xenophobia, expressed so many different ways....

Oddly the two propaganda crowds seem to fight each other because they pompously think their BS is better that the other guys BS. So this story is really that the "dumb furriner crowd", whom thought it would be funny propaganda to list all the obvious targets that no stoopid furriner could ever figure out but all red blooded americans obviously already know thus proving the furriners is dumb, is under heavy attack from the "james bond villian crowd" whom is doing the scare mongering thing by claiming the only protection we have is goldfinger doesn't know where our "gold" is located...

Welp (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28195183)

They accidentally the whole thing.

Obama releases secrets to appease enemies (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28195255)

The headline for this article should have been: "Obama releases secrets to appease enemies"

FTA: Obama has opened the US "up to stricter inspections in hopes that foreign countries, especially Iran and others believed to be clandestinely developing nuclear arms, will do likewise."

Again, Obama and Democrats display this deeply flawed and truly dangerous mentality that if we just please our enemies, by making the US less secure in this case, they will no longer hate us or want to kill us. Liberals think that we have created all of our enemies and therefor we have the power to make them our friends. In reality, it matters little what we do. Iran, North Korea, and the rest of our enemies will continue to develop and acquire nuclear weapons. They will continue to hate us for what we stand for and for the allies we support. As proven time and again by history, they need nothing else to continue hating and killing us. How many times do liberals like Obama have to make us less secure before we will learn? How many more al-Qaeda terrorist attacks will it take? How many more broken UN resolutions? How many more dead Americans?

Civil Nuclear Sites? (5, Informative)

vampire_baozi (1270720) | more than 4 years ago | (#28195259)

As the Times article pointed out, and from the looks of the PDF, most of this stuff was public domain already. All they did was assemble it into a nice condensed form for the IAEA. While documents that aren't supposed to be getting released getting released is clearly a process failure, this one doesn't seem particularly serious. On the scale of data leakages, far less harmful than the British government's loss of data discs containing personal information.

Given that most of the data was already public domain, beyond knowing specifically where the stuff is, what is new here? Figure out where the publication process went wrong, and how it got approved, and then take steps to fix the problem. Gov't snafu's are par for the course, and givin it was a civil report for the IAEA, looks like a minor leak if that.

I hardly forsee people trying to make dirty bombs from this stuff. As WikiLeaks notes, this information is far more useful to environmentalists than terrorists or foreign governments (to whom we're handing the info anyway via IAEA).

No nuke's protest (0)

ItsPaPPy (1182035) | more than 4 years ago | (#28195397)

Great now I am going to get stuck in traffic everywhere, because of dumb "No nukes" protestors!

list nuclear sites (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28195951)

Media is humiliating to americans who know better than what they hear or read. what about your lame brain follow the content and subject of this blog. Why is it every time some GOV dont get it goof ball publishes somthing even they should not have ( hint , hint ) they turn around and say oh its really no problem. Truth of the matter we have people picking up trash alot brighter than are Washington Hoggs.

Someone accidentally released a 266-page report (1)

alxkit (941262) | more than 4 years ago | (#28196155)

it wasn't a problem until someone else posted a link to it from slashdot.

So that is how Luke found out. (3, Funny)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 4 years ago | (#28196289)

I always wondered how Luke figured out where the secret entrance to the nuclear reactor providing power to the shield to the Death Star during construction. Now there is a plausible scenario how he got it.

The real problem here (2, Funny)

Joebert (946227) | more than 4 years ago | (#28196897)

Someone accidentally released a 266-page report on hundreds of sites in the US for stockpiling and storing hazardous nuclear materials for civilian use.

I think the real problem here is that there are nuclear materials being stockpiled for civilian use !

Nuclear tourism (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 4 years ago | (#28197151)

Not only are most of those places well known, there are even tours. There's a nostalgic interest in nuclear tourism [nuclearvacation.com], visiting the interesting Cold War spots.

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