Skip to main content

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: , , , , ,

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

How Nanomaterials Can Make Nuclear Reactors Safer and More Efficient

The following is a guest post from Matt Wald, senior communications advisor at NEI. Follow Matt on Twitter at @MattLWald.

From the batteries in our cell phones to the clothes on our backs, "nanomaterials" that are designed molecule by molecule are working their way into our economy and our lives. Now there’s some promising work on new materials for nuclear reactors.

Reactors are a tough environment. The sub atomic particles that sustain the chain reaction, neutrons, are great for splitting additional uranium atoms, but not all of them hit a uranium atom; some of them end up in various metal components of the reactor. The metal is usually a crystalline structure, meaning it is as orderly as a ladder or a sheet of graph paper, but the neutrons rearrange the atoms, leaving some infinitesimal voids in the structure and some areas of extra density. The components literally grow, getting longer and thicker. The phenomenon is well understood and designers compensate for it with a …

Missing the Point about Pennsylvania’s Nuclear Plants

A group that includes oil and gas companies in Pennsylvania released a study on Monday that argues that twenty years ago, planners underestimated the value of nuclear plants in the electricity market. According to the group, that means the state should now let the plants close.

Huh?

The question confronting the state now isn’t what the companies that owned the reactors at the time of de-regulation got or didn’t get. It’s not a question of whether they were profitable in the '80s, '90s and '00s. It’s about now. Business works by looking at the present and making projections about the future.

Is losing the nuclear plants what’s best for the state going forward?

Pennsylvania needs clean air. It needs jobs. And it needs protection against over-reliance on a single fuel source.


What the reactors need is recognition of all the value they provide. The electricity market is depressed, and if electricity is treated as a simple commodity, with no regard for its benefit to clean air o…

Why Nuclear Plant Closures Are a Crisis for Small Town USA

Nuclear plants occupy an unusual spot in the towns where they operate: integral but so much in the background that they may seem almost invisible. But when they close, it can be like the earth shifting underfoot.

Lohud.com, the Gannett newspaper that covers the Lower Hudson Valley in New York, took a look around at the experience of towns where reactors have closed, because the Indian Point reactors in Buchanan are scheduled to be shut down under an agreement with Gov. Mario Cuomo.


From sea to shining sea, it was dismal. It wasn’t just the plant employees who were hurt. The losses of hundreds of jobs, tens of millions of dollars in payrolls and millions in property taxes depressed whole towns and surrounding areas. For example:

Vernon, Vermont, home to Vermont Yankee for more than 40 years, had to cut its municipal budget in half. The town closed its police department and let the county take over; the youth sports teams lost their volunteer coaches, and Vernon Elementary School lost th…