Security at the nation's commercial nuclear power plants is vastly stronger than depicted in a report co-written by a graduate research assistant at the University of Texas' Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Project that was the subject of the McClatchy Newspapers story “Study: Every U.S. nuke reactor vulnerable to 9/11-style attack” (Aug. 16 and TribLIVE.com).
Commercial nuclear energy facilities pose a very strong deterrent to potential threats, and their robust defenses have been widely recognized over the past decade by an array of independent security and law-enforcement experts.
Under the oversight of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), nuclear power plants responded decisively to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Well-armed, highly trained security forces were expanded by 60 percent, to a total of 9,000 officers; detection and surveillance systems were upgraded; additional physical barriers and bullet-resistant enclosures were installed; weaponry was enhanced; and mock terrorism exercises were strengthened.
All told, the industry has invested more than $2 billion in additional security enhancements over the past decade. As required by the NRC, every facility has in place measures and procedures to respond to large explosions or a jetliner crash, as well as plant-specific programs to repel attacks by land and/or water.
Because nuclear energy facilities are among the most secure and best-protected facilities in the nation's industrial infrastructure, they are well positioned to safely and reliably generate the large amounts of electricity that make them a vital part of the U.S. energy mix.
The writer is senior vice president of communications for the Nuclear Energy Institute (nei.org).
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments â either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.