National lab scolded for Lusitania experiment

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Associated Press

Posted on February 6, 2014 at 2:34 PM

Updated Thursday, Feb 6 at 2:36 PM

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A federal watchdog agency is blasting a national lab in Northern California for spending more than $80,000 in taxpayer money to help National Geographic with a documentary about the sinking of the ship Lusitania before World War I.

The Energy Department's Inspector General says Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory improperly used its licensing and royalty fees to perform tests for the documentary and should not have done the work.

Lab spokeswoman Lynda Seaver says it followed correct procedures. She says National Geographic's production team wanted to recreate the explosives that might have gone off aboard the Lusitania and approached the lab because no other facility had the expertise.

Nearly 2,000 people died when a German torpedo sunk the ocean liner in 1915. The incident spurred the United States to declare war.

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