Classified Nuclear Data

Missing in New Mexico

Three copies of classified information pertaining to nuclear weapons are unaccounted for at an Energy Department office in Albuquerque, the nuclear security agency announced yesterday, adding another item to an embarrassing list of mishaps that have recently plagued the country's most secretive nuclear facilities.

The latest discovery, at the regional office in New Mexico, was made during an inventory check ordered after computer disks were reported missing at the Los Alamos National Laboratory last month.

Linton F. Brooks, chief of the National Nuclear Security Administration, said in a statement that he was unhappy about the latest discovery. The NNSA is affiliated with the Energy Department and is charged with securing the country's nuclear weapons stockpile.

Since mid-July, the department has been embroiled in investigations at Los Alamos. The lab has been at a virtual standstill since two disks were reported missing and a summer intern suffered an eye injury while working with a laser.

So far, 23 scientists have been suspended as part of the investigation there, and officials now believe poor inventory maintenance may be to blame for the missing disks.

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-- From Staff Reports

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