Monday, June 20, 2005

Time Nuclear Security Roundup

Good morning to all of the readers of NEI's Nuclear Energy Overview, our member-only newsletter. The following summary is especially for those of you who have come here looking for an update on last week's actions in and around the Time feature story on security at nuclear power plants that ran in last Monday's issue of the magazine (subscription required).

Staffers at NEI were first alerted to the coming story a few days before it was published, and we pre-empted its publication with a summary of our own that ran on Saturday, June 11 supplemented by a backgrounder on the issue over at NEI.org:

When it comes to plant safety and security, there is no way to guarantee that there will never be a terrorist attack. But you can prepare for them by making contingencies for an emergency before it happens, thereby lowering risks for the plant, plant personnel and the public.
The following day, just after Midnight, Time posted the story, and NEI responded on Tuesday with a detailed rebuttal from our Chief Nuclear Officer, Marv Fertel:
"The TIME magazine article on nuclear power plant security has a fatal journalistic flaw in that it fails to provide any context with regard to the overall state of security in our nationÂ’s industrial infrastructure. Numerous independent assessments of nuclear power plant security -- not a single one of which TIME could find the space in its lengthy article to mention -- have identified nuclear power plants as among the best, if not the best, defended facilities in the U.S. industrial infrastructure . . .

"While TIME has given long-standing critics of nuclear power a fresh bite at the apple, it should have held some of their claims to the same level of scrutiny it imposes on the industry."
That same day, NRC Chairman Nils Diaz issued his own statement on the story:
The article unfortunately relies on opinion without an accurate picture of current plant defenses and strategies. The NRC has ordered these plants to take strong defensive measures that make them well prepared to protect the facilities . . .

The American people should know that these plants are well protected with multiple layers of defenses to ensure safety and security. This agency vigorously monitors plant security to ensure our homeland is well protected.
Finally, on Thursday afternoon, NEI published a letter to the editor we had sent to Time from Fertel. As Time doesn't publish letters to the editor until two weeks following the publication of the article they refer to, it will be at least another week before Time prints the letter, if at all. If and when they do, we'll make note of it here at NEI Nuclear Notes.

Technorati tags: , , , , ,

No comments: