Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Our Nuclear Facilities are vulnerable to Terrorist Attack

Security at the nation’s nuclear facilities is vulnerable to terrorist attack, a Pentagon-commissioned study reported Thursday. 
What’s more, it said potential terrorist theft of enough nuclear material to construct an improvised fission bomb “is a real possibility." 
The study by researchers at the University of Texas stands in profound contrast to what the nuclear industry says about its own safeguards.
The Nuclear Energy Institute says that in the aftermath of 9/11, the industry undertook a massive re-assessment of its plant security and bolstered protections. It reports the typical plant features a fenced outer security perimeter, which is heavily patrolled; an inner double fence topped with razor wire, also heavily patrolled; and a third layer of protection surrounding vital equipment. 
One skeptic puts the likelihood that a terrorist group will acquire a nuclear weapon at "very substantially less than one in a million," it said. But another researcher "estimates a 50 percent chance of a nuclear terrorist attack on U.S. soil in the next decade."
The report found tremendous variation in how facilities are protected, and calls for greater uniformity of security at all nuclear facilities, whether power plants, places where nuclear weapons are stored, or where fissile material is stored.
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