Heads are still rolling in the security department at Y-12 after an 82-year-old nun and a couple of friends penetrated the most secure nuclear weapons facility in the U.S., but mass firings are expected to be just the beginning of the fallout. The carnage could run to billions of dollars.
The security breach comes at an awkward time for B&W Y-12, a partnership of Babcock & Wilcox and Bechtel. It has had the contract to run Y-12 since 2000, but it's up for renewal. The estimated $6.5 billion bids for a new contract have been submitted but the decision on who gets the contract has not been announced. Can DOE officials sit in front of a Senate committee and justify continuing the multi-billion dollar deal with a contractor after such a security breach? Or will the billions be awarded to another company?
Sister Megan Rice, 82, Greg Boertje-Obed, 57, and Michael Walli, 63, went through three security fences July 28 and vandalized the plant. They face severe federal charges.
Y-12 security has "war gamed" attacks on Y-12, devising security to combat terrorist assaults. They evidently have not "war gamed" an 82-year-old nun with some wire cutters. At issue is how long it took the three to cut through three fences, paint slogans on the wall and erect crime scene tape with no one observing the activity on television monitors. Hours?
The big security question is what would have happened if the three had been carrying an RPG instead of paint?