Report on Terrorism Threats to Civilian Reactors Criticized

Global Security Newswire Staff
Aug. 19, 2013, 12:02 p.m.

A Uni­versity of Texas re­port last week over­stated the threat po­ten­tial aer­i­al at­tacks pose on ci­vil­ian atom­ic re­act­ors, one nuc­le­ar sci­ent­ist as­ser­ted in an opin­ion piece for For­bes on Sat­urday.

The re­port’s au­thors con­cluded that Nuc­le­ar Reg­u­lat­ory Com­mis­sion re­quire­ments for se­cur­ity meas­ures at privately-run nuc­le­ar re­act­ors are not as strin­gent as those gov­ern­ing En­ergy and De­fense De­part­ment fa­cil­it­ies. The re­port sug­gests that the if the com­mis­sion does not en­hance it re­quire­ments, the U.S. gov­ern­ment should help fill the per­ceived gaps.

“There was no ex­pert peer re­view, and the re­port only rep­res­ents spec­u­la­tions,” James Conca, who formerly headed an of­fice at New Mex­ico State Uni­versity that mon­itored the En­ergy De­part­ment’s Waste Isol­a­tion Pi­lot Plant, as­ser­ted in the For­bes piece. “The [re­port] au­thors con­fuse nuc­le­ar weapons with nuc­le­ar en­ergy, and have no-first-hand know­ledge of the se­cur­ity as­pects of these fa­cil­it­ies, since they have no ac­cess to such highly clas­si­fied in­form­a­tion.”

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