Energy secretary is surprised by nuclear disclosure

Energy Secretary Steven Chu conceded on Wednesday he was caught off guard by the unauthorized dissemination of "highly confidential" documents showing the whereabouts of stockpiles of nuclear weapons and fuel.

At a House Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee hearing, Chu acknowledged that he learned about Monday's release of "highly confidential material" on a Web site devoted to federal secrecy issues from media reports.

Chu said the online publication of 266 pages of information was "of great concern," and he planned to step up security measures to prevent terrorists from gaining access to nuclear materials. Chu said that "someone made a mistake, probably at the Government Printing Office." The material has since been withdrawn from a GPO Web site. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Wednesday asked GAO to investigate the release.

During the hearing Chu tried to put to rest any idea that Yucca Mountain might still become a storage facility for nuclear waste. "Yucca Mountain as a long-term repository is off the table," Chu said, despite the lack of alternative sites and the billions spent in studies. But Energy and Water Appropriations subcommittee ranking member Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., criticized shuttering Yucca "irresponsibly" without alternatives. Chu said he plans to appoint a blue-ribbon panel to find alternatives.

The department budget includes $197 million to implement President Obama's termination of Yucca Mountain as a waste site and find other geological repositories. Chu also told the panel he expects to have 50 percent of the department's $38.7 billion economic stimulus allotment dispensed by Labor Day. Frelinghuysen also questioned how the United States could continue nuclear nonproliferation efforts without additional funding for the Energy Department.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.