Watchdog warns nuke weapon sites at risk from natural disasters

A nuclear watchdog is warning about "shortcomings" in emergency preparedness at nuclear weapons facilities around the country.

The Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board said the federal government is not ready to respond to natural disasters at nuclear defense facilities run by the Department of Energy.

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In a recommendation to Energy Secretary Ernest MonizErnest MonizObama energy secretary launches nonprofit Overnight Energy: Zinke, Perry take heat over Trump budget Overnight Energy: Trump signs climate order | Greens vow to fight back MORE that will run in Tuesday's edition of the Federal Register, the watchdog suggested stronger emergency preparedness regulations to help these nuclear plants stand up to catastrophes like earthquakes and wildfires. 

"The need for a strong emergency preparedness and response program to protect the public and workers at the Department of Energy’s defense nuclear facilities is self-evident," the watchdog wrote.

The board said that safety concerns are "prevalent" at many nuclear weapons facilities around the country, concluding that the situation "must be addressed."

The safety board is recommending new guidelines to bring the department's nuclear facilities up to speed.

"It is the last line of defense to prevent public and worker exposure to hazardous materials," the watchdog wrote.

The public has 30 days to comment.