Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Fake firm gets nuclear license in U.S. govt sting | Reuters

Fake firm gets nuclear license in U.S. govt sting | Reuters:

"WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Undercover investigators, working for a fake firm, obtained a license to buy enough radioactive material to build a 'dirty bomb,' amid little scrutiny from federal regulators, according to a government report obtained on Wednesday.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission issued the license to the dummy company in just 28 days with only a cursory review, the Government Accountability Office said in a report to be released on Thursday.

The GAO, which set up the sting, said the NRC approved the license after a couple of faxes and phones calls and then mailed it to the phony company's headquarters -- a drop box at a United Parcel Service location.

'From the date of application to the issuance of the license, the entire process lasted 28 days,' the GAO said. 'GAO investigators essentially obtained a valid materials license from the NRC without ever leaving their desks.'

The NRC oversees the U.S. nuclear industry and nuclear material safety issues.

The GAO report said its undercover agents made counterfeit copies of the license, changed the wording to remove restrictions on how much they were allowed to buy and then ordered enough radiological materials to build a dirty bomb."

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