The Security Of Nuclear Power In The U.S.: We May Be In Trouble

764 words - 4 pages

The responsibility to ensure the safety of nuclear energy production throughout the world is in the hands of people. But, the layperson concept may be a bit askance because many consumers may view the issue of nuclear energy only in terms of price considerations. This is a discomforting notion considering the myriad of risks involved, especially in light of the consequences that have occurred at the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant in Japan, and the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the Ukraine. While no comparison exists in the United States (U.S.) that would enable U.S. citizens to understand the human and environmental toll that results when something tragically wrong occurs; it remains well past the time for us to consider real solutions to our energy needs that do not have the potential for such wide-spread devastation. Regardless of the various technologies and engineering acumen used to operate nuclear power plants, they are only as effective safety-wise as those who are charged with maintaining security.
A major role of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is to oversee management and operations at the 104 nuclear power plants throughout the country. Since the tragic events of September 11, 2001 the NRC has also been charged with ensuring each is secure from armed attacks (Lochbaum). This is accomplished by holding “force-on-force” testing; annual events pitting mock attackers against the security apparatus of each nuclear power plant involved. When the maneuvers had concluded for the year, the NRC reported 23 issues that could have resulted in serious loss to either the plant or its personnel, but it isn’t clear what the issues are because the NRC is in the habit of not clarifying what they may be. More disconcerting is that one plant ended up being destroyed, “During one force-on-force exercise during 2012, the mock attackers simulated the destruction of every item on the Target Set—in other words, they successfully sabotaged the plant.” (Lochbaum)
The NRC report doesn’t state exactly how its mock attack succeeded in destroying a nuclear power plant and perhaps the reason for this is national security. However, had the attack been real then everyone in the country would have known of its success, that is except for the thousands of men, women...

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