Nuclear power plant security
| 04.07.2005 | 08:50:04 | Views: 2090 | ID:
April 7 '05: Nuclear material that is being stored in pools of water to protect people from radiation could be a target for terrorists according to a panel of scientists, MSNBC reported late on Wednesday. The panel was called upon by the National Academy of Sciences to examine each nuclear plant in the country and to examine the security risks and the possibility that a terrorist attack could compromise the security precautions installed at those plants.
Though most of the report is classified, MSNBC found the panel asserted "that if terrorists succeed in partially draining water from a reactor spent-fuel pool an intense fire would likely release large amounts of radiation into the environment."The panel suggested that the fuel assemblies needed to be reconfigured so that the "decay-heat loads" would be more evenly distributed; and that water-spray systems designed to cool the nuclear fuel would be able to operate even after they were damaged, MSNBC reported. But those inside the government's Nuclear Regulatory Commission disagree. NRC Chairman Nils Diaz said in a letter to Congressional lawmakers that the suggestions of the panel were "unreasonable" and that many of the decisions made to increase security were lacking "sound technical basis." Diaz also said the infrastructure of the nuclear plants was well protected by, "physical barriers, armed guards, intrusion detection systems, area surveillance systems" and limited access to those working in the plant. Those security precautions, the report said, were irrelevant if the plant were attacked by a plane crash or a bomb dropped from a plane. Bruce Alberts, the president of the NAS said the protection of the nuclear plants is "a critical national security issue." And the panel concluded that though there have been improvements in nuclear power plant security since 9/11, "an assessment of current measures should be performed by an independent organization" not in the NRC.
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