More homeland insecurity: Nuclear weapons plants have eliminated or reduced training for guards responsible for repelling terrorist attacks, leaving the government unable to guarantee the plants can be adequately defended, the Energy Department's internal watchdog said Tuesday. One plant has reduced training hours by 40 percent, and some plants conduct tactical training only in classrooms, according to a report from the department's inspector general. Some contractors fear that injuries among guards during training exercises could reduce bonus payments from the government, the report said. Guards typically receive 320 hours of training. Only one of 10 plants surveyed, Hanford, Wash., trains guards in the basic use of a shotgun, according to the report. None of the plants teaches guards how to rappel down buildings or cliffs because of concerns that guards might be injured. The report noted that one guard died rappelling in 1995. "Inconsistent training methods may increase the risk that the department's protective forces will not be able to safely respond to security incidents or will use excessive levels of force," said the report prepared by Inspector General Gregory H. Friedman's office.


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