Nuclear Laboratory Fined $3 Million for Lab Breach

Published: October 1, 2007

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The University of California received a $3 million fine Sept. 28 for a security discrepancy at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

In Oct. 2006 during a drug raid, Los Alamos police found several computer storage devices and more than 1,000 pages of classified documents in the trailer of a former employee of a laboratory subcontractor. The woman said she took the items home to catch up on scanning documents and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor.

The university pointed out that it was not the primary manager of the lab at that time, adding that it held no responsibility because a subcontractor’s employee – not a university employee – committed the breach.

The university was still accountable for “structural management deficiencies,” according to the National Nuclear Security Administration. The agency explained in a notice that a subcontractor employee took advantage of weaknesses in the security management system right after the end of the university’s tenure.

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The university has 30 days to challenge the notice or pay the fine. The university was examining the notice, said a spokesman.

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