Members of a U.S. House panel said Friday that they are frustrated with decades of security and safety lapses at some of the laboratories, manufacturing facilities and other sites that make up the nation's nuclear complex.
The lawmakers, during a hearing in Washington, D.C., pushed top officials with the U.S. Energy Department and the National Nuclear Safety Administration for details on how the agencies plan to revamp oversight of the contractors that run the facilities.
The hearing focused on oversight failures that contributed to a 2014 radiation release that forced the indefinite closure of the nation's only underground nuclear waste repository in southern New Mexico. Investigators determined that a container of waste improperly packed at Los Alamos National Laboratory ruptured, allowing radiation to escape.
The mishap in New Mexico is just the latest in a long string of security and safety breaches. Members of the panel pointed to the disappearance of classified computer disks at Los Alamos in 2004 and the 2012 break-in at one of the nation's most secure sites by an 82-year-old nun and fellow activists.