In July of this year, one 82-year-old nun and two other aging peace activists brazenly walked their way past multiple layers of security and vandalized a Y-12 Oak Ridge building that was supposed to be one of the most secure complexes in the United States.
T homas D’Agostino, the administrator at the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), the agency responsible for the nuclear weapons stockpile in the US, announced this week that he will depart his post. Although one NNSA official said the resignation had nothing to do with a security breach at what was supposed to be the government’s maximium-security uranium facility 6 months ago, it’s hard not to believe it didn’t play any role at all.
D’Agostino had served as the head of the NNSA for more than 5 years. Neile Miller, currently serving as the NNSA’s principal deputy administrator, will serve as the acting chief of the NNSA, said Energy Secretary Steven Chu.
Commenting on the resignation, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said, “Under his watch, we have eliminated or secured hundreds of nuclear weapons worth of nuclear materials,” Chu added,. “We have reduced the number of deployed warheads to the lowest level since the 1950s—an approximate reduction of 85 percent from the darkest days of the Cold War—while successfully maintaining the safety, security, and effectiveness of a shrinking stockpile. Through EM (environmental management), we have permanently cleaned up 690 square miles of contaminated land—an area more than 30 times the size of Manhattan—and completed the cleanup of 22 transuranic waste sites across the nation, permanently eliminating an environmental risk at these sites and reducing the cost of monitoring and storing this waste.”