The Savannah River Site failed a security force test in January that was conducted by SRS's Health, Safety, and Security office, an extension of the Department of Energy.
According to the Project on Government Oversight, a watchdog organization that focuses on DOE security, the test featured a mock attack by Health, Safety, and Security commanders against SRS security guards.
An article on the organization's website indicates that several scenarios went wrong during the test.
Mock attackers reportedly reached a key building and accessed simulated bomb material, according to the article. The Health, Safety, and Security office stopped two other tests before completion. One test was halted due to a shift change and the other one due to weather.
Tom Clements, the Southeastern nuclear campaign coordinator with Friends of the Earth, recently filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the report on the results of January's security test.
“The Office of Health, Safety, and Security should be more forthcoming about the failed security test at the H-Canyon, as the public has the right to know if facilities at SRS are being adequately protected,” Clements said.
According to Department of Energy personnel, test result information was limited for security purposes.
“Security is taken very seriously,” said Bill Taylor with SRS External Affiars. “We don't disclose much detail about methods of protection, how our security forces respond to a situation or specifics about an exercise, to prevent any adversary from using that information.”
In response to the uncompleted tests during the simulation, Taylor elaborated on the inefficiencies, stating that work groups have already been briefed on conduct and procedures. These briefings were handed out by Government Solutions, formerly known as Wackenhut Services Inc. The company is a security contractor of SRS.
“As a result of some performance issues identified in January 2013, WSI-SRS issued an Operational Pause to have senior leaders brief each work group of the expected standards for decision making and to reinforce the requirements to follow policies and procedures when conducting work,” Taylor added.
Security at DOE facilities is a growing concern, especially since last year's trespassing incident at the Y-12 facility in Oak Ridge, Tenn. The incident involved a nun and two other trespassers, who were peace activists attempting to protest the facility.
Derrek Asberry is a beat reporter with the Aiken Standard news team and joined the paper in June. He is originally from Vidalia, Ga., and graduated from Georgia Southern University with a journalism degree in May 2012.