Nevada Appeal

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Nuke-waste shipments open to hacker attack

When the technical problems and the uncertainties at Yucca Mountain were turned over, to the legal minds and forwarded to the courts, I figured now the voices of Nevada would be heard. Should the voices of Nevada fade away because the Department of Energy is continuing to dig its way through that mountain?

Based on the article that appeared in the Nevada Appeal on June 25, the Nevada state government computer systems have been victims of "hacker attacks." In 1997, the DOE distrib-uted a bill draft throughout the state. The adjusted document, according to the procedure, became an official contract and was awarded to Bechtel (handling large-scale construction sites around the world) and SAIC (Science Applications International), owned by approximately 40,000 of its employees. Both companies have highly impressive backgrounds, but all the actual shipments will be con-trolled by computers. Will these "hacker attacks" suddenly disap-pear?

There is nothing in the original bill draft to indicate there were any spe-cial precautions taken regarding hackers or security. After 9/11, there should have been an amendment to the contract. Security, we now real-ize, is an extremely serious problem. Will the truck drivers and railroad. employees handling this deadly haz-ardous material have proper security clearance?

A month ago, I called the DOE and requested a copy of the contract and was advised to "put my request in the form of a letter" which I did, but as of this moment, there has been no reply. The problems with hackers, the question of security and, again,. there are disks missing from Los Alamos. You never know what's going to hap-pen.

SHIRLEY SWAFFORD
Carson City