There's more information in the NYT article:
I liked the description of the tube vault...that's a lot of potential there.
I was actually surprised the list didn't end up published in OT.
Secret nuclear list accidentally released
Report gives details about hundreds of the nation's nuclear sites, programs
une 3, 2009
The federal government mistakenly made public a 266-page report, its pages marked â€śhighly confidential,â€ť that gives detailed information about hundreds of the nationâ€™s civilian nuclear sites and programs, including maps showing the precise locations of stockpiles of fuel for nuclear weapons.
The publication of the document was revealed Monday in an on-line newsletter devoted to issues of federal secrecy. That publicity set off a debate among nuclear experts about what dangers, if any, the disclosures posed. It also prompted a flurry of investigations in Washington into why the document was made public.
On Tuesday evening, after inquiries from The New York Times, the document was withdrawn from a Government Printing Office Web site.
Several nuclear experts argued that any dangers from the disclosure were minimal, given that the general outlines of the most sensitive information were already known publicly.
â€śThese screw-ups happen,â€ť said John M. Deutch, a former Director of Central Intelligence and Deputy Secretary of Defense who is now at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. â€śItâ€™s going further than I would have gone but doesnâ€™t look like a serious breach.â€ť
'A physical security threat'
But David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security, a private group in Washington that tracks nuclear proliferation, said information that shows where nuclear fuels are stored â€ścan provide thieves or terrorists inside information that can help them seize the material, which is why that kind of data is not given out. It can become a physical security threat.â€ť
The information, considered sensitive but not classified, was assembled for transmission later this year to the International Atomic Energy Agency as part of a process by which the United States is opening itself up to more stringent inspections in hopes that foreign countries will do likewise, especially Iran and other states believed to be clandestinely developing nuclear arms.
President Obama sent the document to Congress on May 5 for Congressional review and possible revision, and the Government Printing Office subsequently posted the draft declaration on its web site.
As of Tuesday evening, the reasons for that action remained a mystery. On its cover, the document attributes its publication to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. But Lynne Weil, the committee spokesperson, said the committee â€śneither published it nor had control over its publication.â€ť
No military information
Gary Somerset, a spokesman for the Government Printing Office, said it had â€śproducedâ€ť the document â€śunder normal operating proceduresâ€ť but had now removed it from its web site pending â€śfurther review.â€ť
The document contains no military information about the nationâ€™s stockpile of nuclear arms, or about the facilities and programs that guard such weapons. Rather, it presents that appears to be an exhaustive listing of the sites that comprise the nationâ€™s civilian nuclear complex, which stretches coast-to-coast and includes everything from nuclear reactors to highly sensitive sites at weapon laboratories.
Steven Aftergood, a security expert at the Federation of American Scientists in Washington, revealed the existence of the document Monday in â€śSecrecy News,â€ť an electronic newsletter that he publishes on the web.
'One-stop shop for information'
He expressed bafflement at its disclosure, calling it â€śa one-stop shop for information on U.S. nuclear programs.â€ť
In his letter of transmittal to Congress, Mr. Obama characterized the information as â€śsensitive but unclassifiedâ€ť and said all the information that the United States gathered to comply with the advanced protocol â€śshall be exempt from disclosureâ€ť under the Freedom of Information Act.
The report details the locations of hundreds of nuclear sites and activities. Each page is marked across the top â€śHIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL SAFEGUARDS SENSITIVE,â€ť with the exception of pages that detailed additional information such as site maps. In his transmittal letter, Mr. Obama said the cautionary language was a classification category of the I.A.E.A.â€™s inspectors.
The International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna is a unit of the United Nations whose mandate is to enforce a global treaty that tries to keep civilian nuclear programs from engaging in secret military work.
In recent years, it has sought to gain wide adherence to a set of strict inspection rules, known formally as the additional protocol. The rules give the agency powerful new rights to poke its nose beyond known nuclear sites into factories, storage areas, laboratories, schools, and anywhere else that a nation might be preparing to flex its nuclear muscle. The United States signed the agreement in 1998 but only recently moved forward with its implementation.
The report lists many particulars about nuclear programs and facilities at the nationâ€™s three nuclear weapons labs â€” Los Alamos, Livermore and Sandia â€” as well as dozens of other federal and private nuclear sites.
Map shows location of a tube vault
One of the most serious disclosures appears to center on the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, which houses the Y-12 National Security Complex, a sprawling site ringed by barbed wire and armed guards. It calls itself the nationâ€™s â€śFort Knoxâ€ť for highly enriched uranium â€” a main fuel of nuclear arms.
The report lists â€śTube Vault 16, East Storage Array,â€ť as a prospective site for nuclear inspection. It said the site, in building 9720-5, contains highly enriched uranium for â€ślong-term storage.â€ť
An attached map is marked â€śOFFICIAL USE ONLY,â€ť with a dated note from an official saying that the document â€śmay be exempt from public release under the â€śFreedom of Information Act.â€ť The map shows the exact location of Tube Vault 16 along a hallway and its orientation in relation to geographic north, although not its location in the Y-12 complex.
Tube vaults are typically cylinders embedded in concrete that prevent the accidental formation of critical masses of highly enriched uranium that could undergo bursts of nuclear fission, known as a criticality incident. According to federal reports, a typical tube vault can hold up to 44 tons of highly enriched uranium in 200 tubes. Motion detectors and television cameras typically monitor activity at each vault.
Another entry details a site at Hanford site of the Department of Energy, located near Richland, Wash., on the Columbia River. Its job was making plutonium â€” another bomb fuel â€” for the nationâ€™s nuclear arsenal.
'It's no national-security breach'
The document lists building 2736-Z as a site for possible inspection, saying it contains plutonium. An addendum provides a building map, marked â€śOFFICIAL USE ONLY.â€ť
The Senate Foreign Relations committee also received the sensitive document but kept it private, a committee spokesman said.
Thomas B. Cochran, a senior scientist in the nuclear program of the Natural Resources Defense Council, a private group in Washington that tracks atomic arsenals, called the document harmless. â€śItâ€™s a better listing than anything Iâ€™ve seenâ€ť of the nationâ€™s civilian nuclear complex, he said. â€śBut itâ€™s no national-security breach. It confirms whatâ€™s already out there and adds a bit more information.â€ť
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