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Letter to Chairman, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Concerning Status of Documents at Public Reading Rooms

Oct 27, 2006
Science Committee letterhead image

October 27, 2006

The Honorable Dale Klein
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
One White Flint North
11555 Rockville Pike
Rockville, Maryland 20852-2738

In the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) temporarily halted public access to its web-site and removed more than 1,000 documents from its publicly accessible database on the grounds that they contained sensitive security information. However, I understand that the NRC never removed the same sensitive information from the 86 local public document rooms (LPDRs) at public libraries near the nation's commercial nuclear power reactors. Furthermore, I understand that the NRC has declined to accept these records from institutions seeking to return these collections to the NRC in the past....

In addition, I understand that investigators from the NRC Inspector General's office recently visited 25 of these local public document rooms and were able to obtain access to sensitive security documents that had been pulled after 9/11 from the NRC's electronic Agencywide Documents Access and Management Systems database (ADAMS)....

It is baffling to me that the NRC would consider this information so sensitive that it should be pulled from its on-line database, yet apparently the information was considered safe enough to be left in more than 80 public libraries scattered throughout the nation. In my mind, the information can't be both a security threat and, simultaneously, of no consequence; a policy that treats the same materials in two different ways is simply muddled....

Finally, my understanding is that the sensitive documents the NRC scrubbed from its ADAMS database remain to this day in the local public document rooms around the nation even subsequent to the situation being brought to the NRC's attention....

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109th Congress