ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (CBS SF & AP) — Federal regulators are launching an investigation into the improper shipment of nuclear material from Los Alamos National Laboratory to both Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the Savannah River National Laboratory last week.
The National Nuclear Security Administration said Friday it was informed by the lab that procedures weren’t followed when shipping what was only described as “special nuclear material” to facilities in California and South Carolina.
The material had been packaged for ground transport. But instead it was shipped aboard an air cargo service, which isn’t allowed by federal regulations.
Upon receipt of the shipments at their respective destinations, safety tests confirmed that there was no loss of radioactive material or contamination.
“This failure to follow established procedures is absolutely unacceptable,” said NNSA Administrator Lt. Gen. Frank Klotz, USAF (Ret).
Officials say that once the investigation is complete, any responsible parties will be held accountable.
This marks just the latest gaffe by Los Alamos, the lab that created the atomic bomb. Criticism has been intensifying over the lab’s history of safety lapses as work ramps up to produce key components for the nation’s nuclear weapons cache.
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