The Department of Energy (DOE) will release the names of hundreds of private companies that processed radioactive and toxic material for the U.S. nuclear weapons program in the 1940s and 50s.
A public database is being developed that will account for the work done by commercial facilities that had classified contracts or subcontracts with the weapons program.
DOE is reversing decades of government secrecy amid demands from Capitol Hill for a full disclosure of the sites involved.
The initial list is expect to be available some time this week, however, specific information on the scope and dates of work at each site will not be available at that time.
The identity of a few dozen commercial properties where contractors processed weapons material was kept a secret despite the fact that many of the federal plants and labs involved in the weapons work were well know.
Lawmakers called for disclosure of the information following the release of a series of stories by USA Today that found that roughly 300 private companies were secretly hired to do nuclear weapons work that exposed workers to extreme levels of radiation and chemical hazards, usually without their knowledge.
by Virginia Sutcliffe