Energy IG finds 'dysfunction' at Los Alamos lab

Los Alamos National Laboratory needs better controls over procurement and property systems, the Energy Department's inspector general said in a Jan. 30 report.

The IG found a 'substantial degree of dysfunction' in the lab's assignment of responsibility for property, and said that $1.5 million worth of electronic gear disappeared between fiscal 2000 and fiscal 2002. New lab equipment was delivered to drop points in open areas with minimal security, the IG said.

Lab officials' actions 'contributed to an atmosphere where Los Alamos employees were discouraged from, or had to reason to believe they were discouraged from, raising concerns about property loss and theft or other concerns to appropriate authorities,' the report said. It appears online at www.ig.doe.gov/pdf/ig-0584.pdf.

In a statement, the University of California, which has managed Los Alamos for decades, said it continues to cooperate with investigators and welcomes tips about inappropriate practices at the lab. Energy and school officials have made public much of the information detailed in the report.

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