Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "Energy Department" ...

  • Waste Lands

    Today, they have long been converted into parks, office buildings and even hiking trails. But in a remarkable investigation, two of our most intrepid reporters discovered that in these places once stood factories and research centers that the government pressed into service to produce nuclear weapons. A yearlong effort resulted in revelations about what happened to the atomic waste from these facilities and a first-of-its-kind online historical database on more than 500 sites. The government, primarily the Energy Department, has for years assured the public the waste is being cleaned up efficiently and with no harm to anyone. It plans to have spent an estimated $350 billion before the work is done. But despite all this funding, as reporters John Emshwiller and Jeremy Singer-Vine discovered, the government hasn’t been able to find even the exact address of some of these facilities. Records on other sites are so spotty no real determination can be made on the next step. And 20 of the sites that were initially declared safe have required a second, and sometimes third, cleanup over the years. Thanks to an effort that married 21st-century Internet analysis with old-fashioned reporting, online readers can now enter their ZIP Code to get a full history of any site near them. The detail of this database—including hundreds of documents, corporate photos of factories and interviews with current property owners, most of whom had no idea of their property’s Cold War legacy—makes for helpful and at times alarming reading. Not surprisingly, almost a half a million online hits were recorded in the first weeks after our project, called Waste Lands, was published.
  • Prying Open America's Spy Agencies

    The year long investigations looks into the spying abuses and activies of intelligence agencies and examines the reforms that are being made in the CIA since September 11.
  • Raising Hell at Hanford

    Nuclear-waste tanks leaking into the ground close to the Columbia River contaminated ground water beneath a fifth of Hanford's 560 square miles. Pacific Northwest Magazine investigates whether there is an imminent danger for people, fish and crops. The report says that "some scientist say there is a huge uncertainty" on whether the "most expensive environmental cleanup on the planet will be effective.
  • Yucca Mountain Conflict of Interest

    A Las Vegas Sun investigation reveals that the law firm hired by the Energy Department to do legal work on the Yucca Mountain repository has been lobbying to get the project built. The Energy Department manages the proposed Yucca Mountain project, a federal proposal to bury tens of thousands of tons of nuclear waste at the site about 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas. The plan is controversial, environmentalists say its a bad idea, the nuclear energy industry says its needed. The Energy Department hired Chicago-based Winston & Straw to "independently review Yucca documents and impartially advise the DOE about possible flaws." But the Las Vegas Sun learned that Winston & Straw also does lobbying work for the Nuclear Energy Institute, the energy industry's top trade group and the "most vocal Yucca proponent in Washington." Nevada lawmakers contend that Winston & Straw involvement with the NEI and DOE presents a dangerous conflict of interest.
  • Unstable Element: Suddenly, Small Gaps In Nuclear Security Look Like Chasms

    The Wall Street Journal examines evidence that al Qaeda, the organization of Osama bin Laden, has tried to obtain weapons-grade nuclear material. The article looks at the possibilities for terrorists to build nuclear weapons by using resources of current or former nuclear-power countries. Even though the reporters have found the evidence related to al Qaeda to be "sketchy and unverified ... it has sent authorities around the world rushing to shore up security measures that are in some cases surprisingly weak." The story finds that "armed guards at nuclear-weapons depots often lose in exercises with mock assailants," and that "materials for making a nuclear bomb are accessible enough to support a black market."
  • Hot asphalt

    Los Angeles Times Magazine looks at the potential health hazards that residents of Shoshone, California, may face, if 127 California becomes the state's busiest transportation route for nuclear radioactive waste. The story reveals the concerns of local environmentalists that radioactive waste shippers are inevitably going to be in accidents. The reporter also cites property owners, who find that the converting the highway into a waste tract will have bad effect on local businesses.
  • Government On Autopilot

    The National Journal reports on how and why billions of dollars get spent on unauthorized government programs each year. Legislation governing the operations of many federal programs including the Justice Department, Energy Department and the National Endowment for the Arts expired years ago and has not been reauthorized. It is much easier to keep funding these programs than to reauthorize them.
  • While No One Was Looking

    Energy Department secretary Bill Richardson has decided to allow commercial nuclear reactors to start producing tritrium, an isotope used to turn A-bombs into H-bombs, multiplying their potential power. While this "dual use" of facilities is not illegal, it flies in the face of 50 years of policy concerning civil/military separation in the nuclear arena. Is this a step backwards in the fight against nuclear proliferation? the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists asks.
  • Energy in Decay

    The Bulletin and Alvarez explain the dangerous conditions inside Energy Department facilities, and look at problems in the management overseeing some of the governments most risky energy enterprises.
  • Deadly Silence: The government's betrayal of A-bomb pioneers

    The Daily Southtown reports that "During World War II, hundreds of scientists, tradesmen and secretaries at the Manhattan Project metallurgical lab at the University of Chicago were carelessly exposed to large quantities of toxic metal beryllium, then for 45 years intentionally kept in the dark about the potentially deadly health consequences... For decades the federal government joined with university officials to fight workers' compensation claims filed by those dying of beryllium disease. Then, facing a 1986 expose by a Los Angeles TV station, Energy Department officials promised on-camera to provide testing and treatment for Manhattan Project workers. But testing and treatment was never provided, based on interviews with Manhattan Project survivors located by the Daily Southtown."