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Inspection Report: INS-O-13-06

September 30, 2013

Accountability and Control of Explosives at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s High Explosives Applications Facility

The High Explosives Applications Facility (HEAF) is a state-of-the-art explosives research facility located on-site at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (Livermore).  The Office of Inspector General received a complaint alleging weaknesses with the controls over physical access to explosive material, as well as weaknesses with explosive inventory control and accountability in the HEAF explosive operations area. 

We substantiated the allegations regarding weaknesses with controls over access and inventory of explosive materials at the HEAF.  We found that Secret and Top Secret cleared individuals at Livermore had the potential to access the HEAF explosive operations area even though they lacked specific authorization and/or had not received required safety training. Additionally, we found that Livermore's Safety Access Training did not adequately address the requirements for unescorted access to the facility's explosive workrooms.  Further, a unified perpetual system of records capable of tracking and accounting for explosives acquired, stored and expended at HEAF did not exist.

The identified issues regarding potential unauthorized access occurred, in part, because officials did not adequately consider the risks associated with access at the facility and the increased potential for theft or diversion of explosives.  The weaknesses identified with the training occurred because the HEAF Safety Plan's requirement related to unescorted workroom access was not fully incorporated into the Safety Access Training module.  In addition, the inventory controls for explosives within HEAF primarily focused on safety, and not tracking and accountability of high-risk personal property such as explosives from acquisition to disposition.  Management generally agreed with our findings and recommendations and provided planned corrective actions that are generally responsive to our report findings and recommendations. 

Topic:  National Security