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82-Year-Old Nun Breaks Into Nuclear Facility, Contractors Blamed

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the just-read-the-headline-again dept.

Government 223

Lasrick writes "Private security contractors strike again, this time at the Y-12 National Security Complex. A nun, a gardener, and a housepainter cut through three security fences to find themselves 20 feet away from highly dangerous nuclear material. And of course, only one guard has been fired (the one who arguably acted the bravest and did the right thing). A Department of Energy report (PDF) on the incident found 'troubling displays of ineptitude in responding to alarms, failures to maintain critical 2 security equipment, over reliance on compensatory measures, misunderstanding of security protocols, poor communications, and weaknesses in contract and resource management.' The contractors have been put on notice, (PDF), but they still have the contracts."

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They were searching for ... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41530137)

the new windows mobile....

nuke waste ;)

Re:They were searching for ... (5, Funny)

SomePgmr (2021234) | about 2 years ago | (#41530333)

I blame Apple maps.

I know, dead horse is dead.

Re:They were searching for ... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41530765)

Yup, it's really Obama's fault

I'm confused... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41530145)

Private security contractors strike again

Are you implying that if the security were nationalized (ala TSA) that such ineptitude would not exist?

Why the explicit blame on "private security contractors"? Why not fire any private company who is not doing their job and find one that can/will?

Re:I'm confused... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41530235)

Yeah! so they can steal every time they are fired.

Re:I'm confused... (3, Funny)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | about 2 years ago | (#41530259)

TSA servers the purpose, it was designed to serve, very well. If the TSA were to be put in-charge of nuclear material and made clear of its purpose, I am sure it will do well.

Re:I'm confused... (4, Insightful)

Krojack (575051) | about 2 years ago | (#41530379)

TSA servers the purpose, it was designed to serve, very well. If the TSA were to be put in-charge of nuclear material and made clear of its purpose, I am sure it will do well.

Say what? So you're telling me that they won't steal nuclear material and when caught try to blame it on the wife? [youtu.be]

Re:I'm confused... (2)

ericloewe (2129490) | about 2 years ago | (#41530485)

You're absolutely right. It's a way to divert public funds into black holes through poor deals. Stuff like scanners comes to mind.

Re:I'm confused... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41530315)

What if you can't find one?

What if a military force motivated by money is inherently less effective than one motivated by love of country?

Re:I'm confused... (3, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#41530389)

Private security contractors strike again

Are you implying that if the security were nationalized (ala TSA) that such ineptitude would not exist?

Uh, yeah. Or at least that's what the report claims somewhere around page 6. Makes sense to me!

Thus, physical security systems and security personnel were managed by completely different organizations. The fractured management structure appeared to have led to conflicting priorities

Now a nationalized or centralized management or whatever you want to call it can be utterly incompetent for entirely different reasons, look at the TSA. But it wouldn't have conflicting priorities unless they were dumb enough to intentionally bake that into the cake.

Thats the problem with "just give it to the private sector". There's a zillion private sector companies and they often (or at least occasionally) don't work together very well.

Re:I'm confused... (2)

Krojack (575051) | about 2 years ago | (#41530477)

Thats the problem with "just give it to the private sector". There's a zillion private sector companies and they often (or at least occasionally) don't work together very well.

I would also argue that various branches or sections of government don't work together very well either.

Re:I'm confused... (4, Insightful)

rmstar (114746) | about 2 years ago | (#41530585)

I would also argue that various branches or sections of government don't work together very well either.

Corporate bureaucracy tends to be deranged in worse ways than state bureaucracy.

Modern, western countries can do very well in comparison. there is a lot to be improved, of course, but worship of the private sector is not warranted in this respect.

Re:I'm confused... (4, Insightful)

Penguinisto (415985) | about 2 years ago | (#41531145)

Corporate bureaucracy tends to be deranged in worse ways than state bureaucracy..

...says the man who has never had to work with the VA Medical System, the DMV, etc...

Half-jokes aside, there is one diff between a deranged corporation and a deranged government department: You can tell the deranged corporate department to piss off, or take them to court if their actions warrant it. Try doing that to a governmental entity and see how far that gets you.

Even if your hypothesis were 100% correct in every aspect, a half-deranged government bureau is a hell of a lot more dangerous to individual rights and freedoms than a completely apeshit company.

Something about having the force of law backing up the mental trouble that makes it at least two orders of magnitude more disturbing, truth be told.

Re:I'm confused... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41530909)

I'd actually prefer that the branches NOT work well together.

Clarification in the Article (4, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | about 2 years ago | (#41530871)

Private security contractors strike again

Are you implying that if the security were nationalized (ala TSA) that such ineptitude would not exist?

Why the explicit blame on "private security contractors"? Why not fire any private company who is not doing their job and find one that can/will?

Probably has to do with this quote and link from the article:

The obvious problems that result from so much contractor freedom are made clear by the recent inspector general report, which determined that this lack of federal oversight at least partially contributed to the success of the break-in [energy.gov] PDF: "When questioned as to why action was not taken to address growing maintenance backlogs, Federal officials told us that with the advent of NNSA's contractor governance system (Contractor Assurance System), they could no longer intervene." In light of these findings, the inspector general had serious questions about the Energy Department's overall approach and determined that "current initiatives to reduce Federal oversight of the nuclear weapons complex, especially as they relate to security functions, need to be carefully considered."

There are many forms of nationalized security: some very bad (TSA) and some very good (National Guard). Private industry will save you money and, when pitted against each other in true capitalism form, they will cut corners to win contracts. Somethings should have security independent of how the economy is doing or how low some no talent ass clown is willing to bid on a contract.

Re:I'm confused... (4, Insightful)

Harperdog (1754264) | about 2 years ago | (#41531015)

Actually, the point for me is, rather, not that nationalized security would be better, per se (although I think ThatsMyNick's point is well taken), but that the constant calls for privatizing things that shouldn't be privatized is really ridiculous. Companies exist to make money, and they do that by keeping costs low wherever they can, even if it means low beyond the point of reason...beyond the point of doing a good job. True, I suppose the company would eventually be fired, but only after a huge mistake (as we see here). When we are talking about national security, and a few other things I can think of, that isn't such a good idea.

Re:I'm confused... (5, Insightful)

Firethorn (177587) | about 2 years ago | (#41531019)

Why not fire any private company who is not doing their job and find one that can/will?

The problem you get is that there is a seriously limited selection of 'private' companies that are qualified for guarding a nuclear plant. There's a semi-limited number of people capable of it as well, given that they have to be willing to work for decent(but not high) pay, while being able to get a security clearance(and handle automatic weapons) and meet the physical requirements(shooting accuracy, fitness, etc...). You're pretty much restricted to ex-military.

Having some knowledge of government type contracting, it's been my experience that you can have the contractor change, but the people in the contract seats stay the same - with the loss of the contract, the original contractor no longer needs the people, thus lays them off(excess). The NEW contractor needs people to fulfill the contract, and wait - there's people XYZ with years of experience in the role, in the local area, has the necessary clearance($$$), etc... Hired!

The contracted employees themselves have to brush off their resume and re-interview for their job, but it's normally a formality. They might get ~2-3 weeks of 'vacation' where they get unemployment, and a day or two of orientation on how their new employer(the actual contractor).

After all that, I have to say that I'd rather keep the function in house. Reasons:
1. It's not a wide field, more of a specialist position with only a couple hundred plants in the states.
2. It's a continuous stable requirement. Contracts are for temporary things(like renovating a building, upgrading a network, etc...)

Re:I'm confused... (1)

drgould (24404) | about 2 years ago | (#41531059)

Why the explicit blame on "private security contractors"? Why not fire any private company who is not doing their job and find one that can/will?

Then you gotta go through the whole bidding rigamarole again, train a whole new bunch of contractors and you don't know if they'll be any better than the ones you fired!

On the other hand, you've already got "trained" contractors working and on site (for a limited definition of "trained"). If you warn or punish the current security company, fire the incompetent guards, hire new, supposedly competent replacements, lather, rinse, repeat, you might end up with a competent security force.

Six of one, half dozen of the other.

Re:I'm confused... (2)

fm6 (162816) | about 2 years ago | (#41531237)

You're right, it isn't private security that's inept. It's outsourced security that's inept. Or at least it is when keeping cost down is the primary consideration — which is usually the reason for outsourcing.

What's the punchline? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41530149)

Sounds like the start of a joke, "A nun, a gardener, and a house painter go into a nuclear facility..."

Re:What's the punchline? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41530387)

...or vagina.

Re:What's the punchline? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41530905)

"The contractors have been put on notice, (PDF), but they still have the contracts."

Re:What's the punchline? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41530927)

Sounds like the start of a joke, "A nun, a gardener, and a house painter go into a nuclear facility..."

And had almost reached the reactor when they were accosted by a guard.

"What are you doing here?!" he growled.

"I'm painting saftety notices on the wall!" said the painter, brandishing a brush.
"I'm blessing the ground to protect against meltdowns!" Said the nun, waving her bible.
The gardener panicked and said "Err, someone told me there was a nuclear plant around here..."

Re:What's the punchline? (1)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | about 2 years ago | (#41531035)

That is definitely worth a mod point or two.

Re:What's the punchline? (0)

fm6 (162816) | about 2 years ago | (#41531207)

Darn, you beat me to it. OK, how about:

A Jew, a Christian, and a Muslim meet on the street.

"Silverstein!" says the Jew. "Long time no see! Who's your friend?"

"His name's Abdullah," says the Muslim. "But he's no friend of mine, not since he converted."

Obligatory (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41530155)

A nun, a gardener, and a housepainter walk into a nuclear facility...

Re:Obligatory (0)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | about 2 years ago | (#41531077)

Curse you for beating me to it...

Huh... (1)

JK_the_Slacker (1175625) | about 2 years ago | (#41530189)

I read 'over reliance on compensatory measures' as needing their paychecks too badly... Now if you'll excuse me, I have bills to pay.

Simpsons episode (2)

SpaceManFlip (2720507) | about 2 years ago | (#41530205)

I'm totally picturing this happening like it's an episode of the Simpsons in my head.

Is this a joke? (0)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about 2 years ago | (#41530211)

A nun, a gardener, and a housepainter walk into a bar...

Re:Is this a joke? (2)

jeffasselin (566598) | about 2 years ago | (#41530397)

Not quite, it's more

A nun, a gardener and a house painter walk into a nuclear reactor.

I don't remember the joke, but the end goes something like: "and the nun said: 'it was huge and glowing!'"

Re:Is this a joke? (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 2 years ago | (#41530577)

I don't remember the joke, but the end goes something like: "and the nun said: 'it was huge and glowing!'"

No. "I gargled with that water..."

Re:Is this a joke? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41530593)

For a nun, that's a bad habit.
That's why the housepainter gave her a new coat.
The gardener was just there as a hedge.

(Comedy night at the Security Theater)

OK, seriously ... (5, Insightful)

Infernal Device (865066) | about 2 years ago | (#41530217)

Why in the name of Oppenheimer did they fire the one guy who actually did his job, when everyone above and around him appeared to fail pretty seriously at theirs?

Admittedly, he didn't shoot anyone, which he was apparently entitled to do, but at the same time, he actually stopped any further mischief and was the only person (aside from the protesters) who didn't embarrass the whole nation.

It's a pity Joseph Heller isn't around to write his life story or something.

Re:OK, seriously ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41530311)

Welcome to America!

Re:OK, seriously ... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41530323)

Because the honest and competent man is the safest one to fire -- the incompetent and dishonest ones usually got the job in the first place by knowing someone powerful or having dirt on someone.

Re:OK, seriously ... (2)

Grog6 (85859) | about 2 years ago | (#41531203)

This is exactly how this works; Jobs are passed down thru generations of ineptness.

I live near there; Everyone I know that works there got their job thru their relatives.

Re:OK, seriously ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41530335)

Classic example of "shit rolling downhill". His higher ups would love nothing more than to pin the blame on him and resume failing miserably at their jobs.

Re:OK, seriously ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41530357)

He probably did not do as well with his supervisor as the rest of the guys.

Re:OK, seriously ... (5, Informative)

Urban Garlic (447282) | about 2 years ago | (#41530399)

According to the linked-to DOE report, the guy who was fired wasn't quite as brave as the Bulletin article implies -- the DOE says he drove up to the site, stayed in his car and spoke on his cell phone with a supervisor, then got out of the car and just chatted with the protesters, failing to detain them or protect his weapon. When the supervisor arrived, the guard was instructed to provide cover for the supervisor while the supervisor made the actual arrests, but the guard did not do so, allegedly turning his back on the process at one point.

DOE report here [energy.gov] (warning, PDF).

It's obviously a contested point, but the pictures painted by the Bulletin article and the DOE report of the guard's conduct are rather different.

Also, yes, I read both articles, new here, etc.etc.

Hmmm... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41530487)

The fact that you anticipated the accusation that you are new here, by admitting that you are new here, suggests that you are not new here.

Re:Hmmm... (1)

tsa (15680) | about 2 years ago | (#41531155)

One look at his userID shows you are right :)

Re:OK, seriously ... (3, Informative)

Psyborgue (699890) | about 2 years ago | (#41530589)

According to the nun, if you read the article, he did not turn his back. It is a contested point and I wonder where they're getting that information. I tend to believe the nun over the government contractor.

Re:OK, seriously ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41530849)

Based on that, I tend to believe that the supervisor was acting to cover his own ass. They needed someone to scapegoat and he was probably the most visible. Also, they could then undermine anything he might say that would embarrass them by claiming it was sour grapes over being fired.

Being the only person to actually deal with the situation, rather than having their head up their asses, it seems likely that he knows just how screwed up the whole bunch is.

Re:OK, seriously ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41530769)

Thanks for the warning. PDFs scare me a little.

Re:OK, seriously ... (1)

Firethorn (177587) | about 2 years ago | (#41531213)

While perhaps not brave, staying in the vehicle to inform supervision is smart. What if he got ambushed while outside the vehicle BEFORE raising the alarm? It's a bit like first aid - first you call for help(get the ambulances rolling), then you administer first aid/stop the intruders.

I know that I wouldn't want to arrest 3 people, even if they're old, when they're armed with potential HtH weapons(hammers and such), with me being the only person. The vast majority of nuclear intruders aren't violent, but you do get exceptions.

As for firing the higher ups, it might take a while, but I figure some will lose their jobs.

Re:OK, seriously ... (2)

silas_moeckel (234313) | about 2 years ago | (#41530411)

The worst part is they fired him for allegedly tuning his back on the trio who say he never did such a thing. To bad the camera's were not working to prove it.

You think the camera wasn't working?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41530835)

You can't be that naive.

Re:OK, seriously ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41530413)

If anything really had been stolen you'd not be hearing about it right now. It would almost certainly be covered up.

Re:OK, seriously ... (5, Interesting)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 2 years ago | (#41530441)

This is hardly the first time that a low-level employee has unfairly taken the rap for the mistakes / sleaze of upper management.

Consider, for instance, Richard Jewell [wikipedia.org] , who discovered a pipe bomb at the Atlanta Olympics, saved the lives of a couple hundred people, and then had his name dragged through the mud by journalists who'd decided that he'd planted the bomb himself (he hadn't).

Re:OK, seriously ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41530597)

Can we blame Romney for that one?

Re:OK, seriously ... (5, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 2 years ago | (#41530509)

Why in the name of Oppenheimer did they fire the one guy who actually did his job, when everyone above and around him appeared to fail pretty seriously at theirs?

Young grasshopper, when you have learned why managers punish people for bringing mistakes to the attention of their supervisors, it will be time for you to join the workforce. I've been fired several times for bringing security faults through appropriate channels -- in truth, management doesn't want to know about security problems and punish those who point them out, because once pointed out, plausible deniability goes out the window. You're making it their problem, and if there's no budget for said problem your paycheck becomes the budget for solving it. It makes them look bad and holds back their promotion opportunities -- and so while you may do the right thing, it's almost always a bad career move.

Politics. It'll fuck you every time.

Re:OK, seriously ... (3, Informative)

Kittenman (971447) | about 2 years ago | (#41530903)

Why in the name of Oppenheimer did they fire the one guy who actually did his job, when everyone above and around him appeared to fail pretty seriously at theirs?

Young grasshopper, when you have learned why managers punish people for bringing mistakes to the attention of their supervisors, it will be time for you to join the workforce. I've been fired several times for bringing security faults through appropriate channels -- in truth, management doesn't want to know about security problems and punish those who point them out, because once pointed out, plausible deniability goes out the window. You're making it their problem, and if there's no budget for said problem your paycheck becomes the budget for solving it. It makes them look bad and holds back their promotion opportunities -- and so while you may do the right thing, it's almost always a bad career move.

Politics. It'll fuck you every time.

True - I one time took over minding the evening batchwork at a client site. Problems most nights, which I slowly ironed out. Management asked why all these problems since [kittenman] took over the batch. Turns out the previous guy had been fixing them on the fly and not reporting the issues.

My contract wasn't renewed.

You Answered Your Own Question! (3, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | about 2 years ago | (#41530533)

Why in the name of Oppenheimer did they fire the one guy who actually did his job, when everyone above and around him appeared to fail pretty seriously at theirs?

If he's the only person doing his job then that means his superiors that fired him also were not doing their job correctly -- their correct job being to fire the people who had failed through inaction. So, in order to maintain his status of being the only person who did his job, he would have to be fired otherwise his superiors might be misconstrued as doing their job correctly. This is all very simple Dilbert 101.

You answered that yourself... (1)

gr8_phk (621180) | about 2 years ago | (#41530549)

Why in the name of Oppenheimer did they fire the one guy who actually did his job...

Precisely because:

... everyone above and around him appeared to fail pretty seriously at theirs?

The company was asked why it shouldn't be fired. They suck and had no plan, but by firing someone they could appear to be "taking action". Buy why the guy who did something? I'm not really sure how that logic works. Probably claimed he should have found the intruders sooner - obviously it was his area to patrol since he found them (not obviously anyone else's problem). Yes yes, I'm remembering how a PHB thinks.

Re:OK, seriously ... (1)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#41530621)

Why in the name of Oppenheimer did they fire the one guy who actually did his job

His job was to follow procedures. The procedures were pretty good, assuming camera coverage of the area. Needless to say the cameras are often / usually broken.
He invented his own solution to the lack of camera coverage by basically turning himself into a forward observer.
Boss not amused because that very publicly points out the procedures are inadequate and the equipment not up to requirements, and doing that is also not a procedure.
So that's two strikes right there.
You can imagine a guy who was set up to fail as the fall guy being a little pissed off at the time. I'm guessing that's how he earned a third strike and its bye bye, or maybe two is enough.

Re:OK, seriously ... (1)

knarf (34928) | about 2 years ago | (#41530643)

Why in the name of Oppenheimer did they fire the one guy who actually did his job, when everyone above and around him appeared to fail pretty seriously at theirs?

Because they could not kick the blame any lower, of course. CEO suit kicks it to second in command who kicks it to section head who kicks it to department head who kicks it to location manager who kicks it to team leader who kicks it to guard. Guard is one of those who do the actual work all the suits reap their salaries from so he has nobody to kick to. He keeps it, gets all those suits angry stares and a pink slip.

Simple, really.

Re:OK, seriously ... (1)

tsa (15680) | about 2 years ago | (#41531133)

If he fired at the intruders they had a reason to fire him. Look first, then shoot if necessary.

In a nutshell... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41530225)

...the easiest person to fire is the one who got fired. How many times does that happen each day.

bad joke (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41530255)

sounds like an intro to a bad joke...so a nun, a gardener and a housepainter walking into a nuclear reactor...

The only real change (1)

kermidge (2221646) | about 2 years ago | (#41530287)

is that the guard who encountered the intruders was fired.

There will be a small flap, and exchange of letters, self-righteous speeches, and it will be back to bidness as usual, which is to say what comes out of this will be slip-shod, ineffective, pretty on paper, and a few highers will make more money.

Re:The only real change (1)

BenoitRen (998927) | about 2 years ago | (#41530405)

bidness

I have to wonder what happened that made you butcher the word "business" into what I just quoted.

Re:The only real change (1)

ericloewe (2129490) | about 2 years ago | (#41530535)

"U" key not fully pressed and finger slipped from "S" to "D" key, according to my analysis of the QWERTY keyboard layout.

Re:The only real change (2)

mcgrew (92797) | about 2 years ago | (#41530579)

Either that, or he's from Texas.

Re:The only real change (1)

Firethorn (177587) | about 2 years ago | (#41531235)

Or a gangster. Or from the south in generall...

Re:The only real change (1)

The Rizz (1319) | about 2 years ago | (#41531255)

bidness

I have to wonder what happened that made you butcher the word "business" into what I just quoted.

Considering that we're talking about contractors, I'd go with Freudian Slip.

Really? REALLY? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41530293)

When will government figure it out, that private firms are crap...

Do you feel SAFE! yet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41530319)

Next time you're being fondled or irradiated at an airport in the Holy Name of Security think back to the extreme examples of incompetence, like this, that constantly bonk each other in the head at all levels.

I don't know whether to laugh or cry

Within 20 feet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41530355)

They keep throwing around this phrase "within 20 feet", but what does it actually mean? Were they a short walk away from touching the nuclear material, or were they separated from it by 20 feet of steel walls and blast doors? You can fit a lot of security into twenty feet.

Re:Within 20 feet (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 2 years ago | (#41530459)

They keep throwing around this phrase "within 20 feet", but what does it actually mean? Were they a short walk away from touching the nuclear material, or were they separated from it by 20 feet of steel walls and blast doors? You can fit a lot of security into twenty feet.

The logical answer is yes, there is a significant mechanical barrier that needs to be penetrated before you can get your paws on the uranium. However, given the DOE's approach to security, it's possible that the stuff is held an a metal sided shack in 55 gallon drums. Of course, it's going to be difficult for the nun, et. al. to do anything with it. It's not like they're going to pick up the stuff and run very far so I'm not so worried.

It really is all theater, but I haven't figured out if this is a comedy or a tragedy.

Can't help myself. I must... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41530359)

A nun, a gardener, and a housepainter walk into a bar. The bartender says: "Is this some kind of joke?"

The efficiency of Private Enterprise? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41530373)

"B&W Y-12, a partnership of the Babcock & Wilcox Company and Bechtel Corporation, operates Y-12 under contract to the U.S. Department of Energy, of which the NNSA is a part". link [doe.gov]

Why even secure it? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41530395)

This is Slashdot. Nuclear material is perfectly safe, in fact it's quite delicious, and unless we build new reactors for every single suburb, in ten years we will be living in an apocolyptic world with no electricity.

Re:Why even secure it? (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 years ago | (#41531091)

... unless we build new reactors for every single suburb, in ten years we will be living in an apocolyptic world with no electricity.

Fun Fact: that was essentially Edison's plan for powering cities (just swap "reactors" with "coal-fired plants") before Tesla fucked it all up with his AC power transmission.

The More You Know

The old nuns are the worst (1)

Qwavel (733416) | about 2 years ago | (#41530401)

Seriously, I've heard that many of them have started making a little extra doing espionage for foreign governments - to feed their habits.

why aren't the "terrorists" taking advantage?? (1, Insightful)

lkcl (517947) | about 2 years ago | (#41530429)

um... if security is so lax, why aren't all those terrorists out there taking advantage of these security lapses? something doesn't add up here.

Because dirty bombs are worthless that's why (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41530601)

You have been taught that terrorist would like to use "nookular" dirt bomb. In reality it is very difficult to spread radioactive elements which are not in liquid form in the atmosphere. You ahve to chose a medium half life element(short half life would be gone before the attack, long half life are much less dangerous and you can act upon them, for example by chelation and other operations or giving a similar non radioactive elemnt to saturate the body). So that leaves medium half lives. Then you have to have it in dust, and have a way to spread it wide, or have it soluble. And if you spread it too thin, then you don't get any effect, as people won't be able to get fears by seeing their geiger counter see anything. If it must be thick then the quantity matters, as a heavy weight is not easy to lumber around. And you have to avoid the various radiation detector.

Now compare to simply putting a bomb, say, at a a building like the WTC parking. Much MUCH easier. And as effective. And very cheap.

Re:why aren't the "terrorists" taking advantage?? (1)

Psyborgue (699890) | about 2 years ago | (#41530665)

They probably thought what the nuns thought: that they would fail. Plus -- all the nuns ever did was make it to a locked building. Getting nuclear material out of that building without being detected and getting away would probably not be so easy. Even if you had such material, what could you do with it? From a terrorist's perspective, it's a lot easier to do something random, that costs a lot less, and takes a lot less planning -- shoot up a building or blow something up.

Re:why aren't the "terrorists" taking advantage?? (1)

rastos1 (601318) | about 2 years ago | (#41530923)

Even if you had such material, what could you do with it?

Spread the terror. In fact this example shows that nuclear facilities are populated with morons. That is terrifying ... or not, if you are cynic like me. Did you meet a competent person this week? month? year? I didn't.

Re:why aren't the "terrorists" taking advantage?? (1)

rvw (755107) | about 2 years ago | (#41530695)

um... if security is so lax, why aren't all those terrorists out there taking advantage of these security lapses? something doesn't add up here.

Maybe because they are stupid enough not to have thought of this. Maybe because they are smart enough to realise that walking into a nuclear facility is not enough to do some real damage. If you walk in there, you need a good plan, like the one they had in New York. And probably "they" aren't either smart or stupid, but we have stupid terrorists, the ones that are probably caught before doing real damage, and the smart ones... who knows...

Re:why aren't the "terrorists" taking advantage?? (1)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#41530719)

um... if security is so lax, why aren't all those terrorists out there taking advantage of these security lapses? something doesn't add up here.

From reading the report, which is pretty interesting, the best slashdot car analogy I can come up with is that if this was a car crash it would be about as severe as a headon collision with a mosquito, or maybe some bird droppings. Even better, say you wanted to steal a car out of the showroom. Well, these guys got as far as jumping the perimeter fence. There's a little more to accomplish before the joyride can begin.

Defense in depth, quite a bit of depth for something this important.... and they got thru ... drum roll.... one fence....

Re:why aren't the "terrorists" taking advantage?? (1)

Firethorn (177587) | about 2 years ago | (#41531273)

Well, these guys got as far as jumping the perimeter fence. There's a little more to accomplish before the joyride can begin.

Not to mention that 99% of 'these guys' fail to get past said perimeter fence. The pros KNOW they can beat the perimeter fence. It's the last 20 feet, and getting away, that concerns them.

Re:why aren't the "terrorists" taking advantage?? (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 2 years ago | (#41530799)

Because you only get one attempt at something like this, and if you are a real terrorist you go to jail when caught so can't try again somewhere else. Therefore opportunistic attacks or ones based on only a moderate chance of success are not very attractive for terrorism.

Re:why aren't the "terrorists" taking advantage?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41531021)

um... if security is so lax, why aren't all those terrorists out there taking advantage of these security lapses? something doesn't add up here.

I know your question is rhetorical, but I'll go ahead and answer anyway: Because there isn't a credible terrorist threat in the US. The Dept of Homeland Scammery needs to keep one invented so they can all keep their phoney baloney jobs. Same thing with the shoes and genital groping and whatnot.

ah contemporary private enterprise (2)

bravecanadian (638315) | about 2 years ago | (#41530435)

and the profit motive at work.. it really brings a tear to the eye when I consider how well unregulated private industry can solve these problems that governments just waste money on!

What about other countries? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41530505)

If security is this lax in the US, what's it like in other countries long forgotten stockpiles?

Re:What about other countries? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#41530861)

Securely decentralized in order to deter major thefts, I suspect.

Why aren't they dead? (1)

Animats (122034) | about 2 years ago | (#41530511)

If the guard force had responded properly, there would be dead bodies. The people approaching the facility had cut through three fences and had backpacks which could have contained explosives. Shooting them was authorized. But the IG report doesn't admit that.

Re:Why aren't they dead? (2)

Jeng (926980) | about 2 years ago | (#41530639)

Just because you are allowed do something, that doesn't mean you should do that something.

It was a bunch of out of work senior citizens, their ring leader is a fucking nun, there is no reason to shoot these people even though the guard may be allowed to.

Re:Why aren't they dead? (1)

rvw (755107) | about 2 years ago | (#41530775)

If the guard force had responded properly, there would be dead bodies. The people approaching the facility had cut through three fences and had backpacks which could have contained explosives. Shooting them was authorized.
But the IG report doesn't admit that.

Yeah, let's shoot them! That would have been the proper solution. [/sarcasm] If the guard is authorized to shoot them, it doesn't mean he has to. The guard did the proper thing here.

But did she do it out of habit? (1)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | about 2 years ago | (#41530599)

God knows....

Why are they called "nuns"? Wanna know? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41530701)

It's cause they don't get none!

Thank you, thank you, I'll be here in the Tiki Room all week. Try the duck.

Not Surprised (3, Insightful)

organgtool (966989) | about 2 years ago | (#41530717)

And this is why I heavily oppose leaving matters of security, safety, or health completely in the hands of one or more private companies. These three areas are rarely ever cost-effective and they're not meant to be. The reason we have these services in the first place is because people feel that they are valuable to the well-being of individuals as well as society as a whole, not because there is necessarily an economic benefit. I'm not opposed to having private companies involved in these three areas, but I believe there needs to be strict standards on the quality of service they provide, strong government oversight to make sure they're operating up to those standards, and repercussions for failing to meet the standards.

20 feet of concrete away (4, Informative)

Hentes (2461350) | about 2 years ago | (#41530735)

It doesn't sound as sensational after reading TFA.

unemployed veterans (2)

Anvil the Ninja (38143) | about 2 years ago | (#41530795)

Wasn't there some news recently about record numbers of unemployed veterans? Kick the private contractors out and bring in a bunch of people with security clearance and guard duty experience.

Re:unemployed veterans (1)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | about 2 years ago | (#41531023)

The only two unemployed veterans that I know have more than one missing limb. Also, the private contractor is easier to sue/go after when something goes wrong than a mass of human beings who duck and cover when they hear a firecracker go off... or a Major Payne type individual who wants to take your mind off that pain! It may be unfair, but life is unfair

Was her name Chekov? (2)

mu51c10rd (187182) | about 2 years ago | (#41530879)

Perhaps she was searching for nuclear wessels?

What tipped the guard off (1)

Provocateur (133110) | about 2 years ago | (#41531073)

...was that the nun was 8 months pregnant under that habit.

for experimental purposes try this: (2)

nimbius (983462) | about 2 years ago | (#41531083)

s/nun/muslim\ woman/ relatively similar attire, devotion to religious purity and god. The reaction i suspect would however have been to close the nuclear facility, seal off the town, arrest the security guards, quarantine the state as a no-fly zone, burn the constitution and start a war with next->countryOn($list);

ironic (1)

nimbius (983462) | about 2 years ago | (#41531125)

Energy Secretary Steven Chu has said, "The department has no tolerance for security breaches at any of our sites, and I am committed to ensure that those responsible will be held accountable."

you're a nun, you say? Well thanks for the free security assessment. In return, heres some biblical retribution.

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