Report: Y-12 security officer likely pulled the trigger on weapon that fired

Y-12 National Security Complex Sign

An investigation has concluded that a security officer at the Y-12 National Security Complex probably inadvertently pulled the trigger when a weapon fired inside a “hardened” vehicle in July, discharging one round and slightly injuring two guards.

An investigation has concluded that a security officer at the Y-12 National Security Complex probably inadvertently pulled the trigger when a weapon fired inside a “hardened” vehicle in July, discharging one round that hit an interior wall and produced fragments, and slightly injuring two guards.

The accidental discharge occurred just after midnight on July 28, which, coincidentally, was the one-year anniversary of the July 28, 2012, security breach at Y-12.

The National Nuclear Security Administration said little after the accidental discharge. But the agency did acknowledge that two security police officers, or SPOs, received minor injuries and were treated at Y-12 before being taken to Methodist Medical Center of Oak Ridge, where they were treated and released. The NNSA also said the incident was under investigation.

Now, officials have concluded a four-month investigation, and B&W Y-12, the plant’s managing and operating contractor, has released a summary of the findings. [Read more…]

Y-12 security update outlines improvements since July 28 intrusion

Y-12 Security Repairs Chart

Since three protesters broke in last summer, security cameras and sensors have been repaired and replaced. There are more security patrols at the Y-12 National Security Complex and more staff in the Central Alarm Station. And officials and workers are trying to reduce the false and nuisance alarm rate.

Those are among the improvements highlighted in a Y-12 security update published in May. It said Y-12 quickly began making changes after the July 28 security breach, when three anti-nuclear weapons activists broke into the plant before dawn, cut through three fences in the high-security Protected Area, and splashed human blood, spray-painted slogans, and hammered on the Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility, where most of the nation’s bomb-grade uranium is stored.

“Y-12 has carefully examined the circumstances that led to the event, developed actions to fix the problems that were discovered, and is applying the lessons learned to our security posture and operations,” the security update said. “These actions included adding key leadership personnel, restoring to service critical security elements, and refining alarm system components to enhance reliability.” [Read more…]

Guard, union president defend security officer performance during Y-12 breach

The work of a few security guards has been heavily scrutinized and repeatedly criticized since the July 28 security breach at the Y-12 National Security Complex.

Last week, the criticism came from members of the U.S. House of Representatives, who also directed their frustration at U.S. Department of Energy officials and the plant’s contractors, calling the security breach “appalling” and an “all-out failure.”

But in recent interviews, a guard and union representative defended the performance of the security police officers at Y-12.

“I did my job exactly the way I’ve been trained for 30 years,” said Kirk Garland, who was the first security guard to reach the three anti-nuclear weapons activists who sneaked into Y-12 before dawn on July 28 and vandalized a building where bomb-grade uranium is stored.

[Read more…]