July 18, 2013
Follow-up Inspection on Material Control and Accountability at Los Alamos National Laboratory
The Department of Energy's (Department) Los Alamos National Laboratory (Los Alamos) is managed and operated under contract by Los Alamos National Security, LLC, for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). Los Alamos tracks, manages and controls nuclear materials in 64 Material Balance Areas (MBAs). Our September 2007 report on Material Control and Accountability at Los Alamos National Laboratory, (DOE/IG-0774) identified weaknesses regarding the control and accountability of nuclear materials. Management committed to implementing the report recommendations and to taking appropriate corrective actions. We initiated this inspection to determine if Los Alamos implemented the planned corrective actions intended to improve the policies and procedures for inventory, transfers, characteristics and locations of nuclear materials related to the MC&A Program.
While several corrective actions were completed on the recommendations included in our prior report, our inspection revealed that Los Alamos continued to experience problems with the accountability of certain nuclear materials controlled under its MC&A Program. Specifically, our testing of 15 MBAs revealed instances in which nuclear materials were not maintained in the correct location, properly labeled or correctly identified in the Los Alamos MC&A database. The issues we identified occurred, in part, because Los Alamos personnel did not always provide effective oversight to ensure the control and accountability of nuclear materials. Specifically, Los Alamos did not ensure that its accounting record system accurately reflected the identity and location of nuclear materials as required by Department Manual 470.4-6, Nuclear Material Control and Accountability. Management generally agreed with our findings and recommendations.
TOPIC: National Security & Safety