U.S. News

U.S. agencies responsible for nuclear data leak : GAO

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Several federal agencies share responsibility for the inadvertent publishing by a government office of sensitive U.S. nuclear power information on the Web last May, Congressional investigators said on Wednesday.

The Government Printing Office published the 266-page document, which gave details on nuclear power sites, locations, facilities and activities, on the Web on May 7.

It included 14 diagrams of buildings or facilities at U.S. nuclear sites, two of which were marked “Official Use Only” and described activities at national laboratories.

None of the agencies that had prepared the draft document for the International Atomic Energy Association -- the Departments of Energy and Commerce and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission -- had made sure it was marked with U.S. security designations, the Government Accountability Office said in a report about its investigation.

The data was marked only with IAEA designations, which helped lead to the printing office’s publication of the information, the GAO report said.

In addition, the National Security Council, which reviewed the document for the White House, “did not provide explicit and clear instructions on how to handle the draft declaration to the White House’s Clerk’s Office,” the GAO said.

Publishing of the data did not appear to have harmed national security because most of the information was available on agency Web sites and other public documents, the GAO said, citing officials at the agencies.

But the compilation of the data made the report sensitive and it was never meant to be made public, it said.

The GAO’s report of the investigation, which had been requested by the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, concluded that the Departments of Energy, Commerce and State and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission should form an agreement concerning the handling of sensitive nuclear power information.

Reporting by Timothy Gardner; Editing by David Gregorio