Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Security Incident at the Point Beach Nuclear Plant

Actually, not really. It looks like the 23-year-old male under question joked to a gas clerk that he "hoped he wouldn't blow up the place" on his first day.

After an investigation involving multiple agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, it was determined that it was just a misunderstanding.

Around 7:17 a.m. a man walked into a convenience store located near the power plant and asked the clerk for directions to Nuclear Road, where the plant is located.

The clerk gave him directions and the pair had a short conversation. As the man was leaving the store, the clerk heard him say that he "came to blow up the place."

As the man left, the clerk got a description of the vehicle and subject and reported it to police.

The Point Beach Nuclear Plant quickly took steps to make sure their facility was secure. Workers were evacuated for nearly three hours as officials pieced together the story.

Using surveillance video at the gas station, investigators tracked down the man's vehicle. They located it in the parking lot of the power plant.

The car was rented in Milwaukee by a 23-year-old male from Hull, Massachusetts, who was conducting work at the nuclear plant under contract.

After being interviewed by the FBI, the man admitted the conversation with the gas station clerk took place. However, he said he "hoped he wouldn't blow up the place" as it was his first day working at the facility. According to the man, he had told the clerk that "they don't allow him to push any buttons anyway."

The man's vehicle was searched and it was determined that no threats were present. No charges are being pursued in this incident.
Obviously the 23-year old had not yet learned how serious the industry takes its security. Now he knows. Welcome to the nuclear industry!

17 comments:

Gunter said...

As for "Welcome to the nuclear industry," obviously this guy is not comparable to having an al Qaeda sleeper cell in Wisconsin.

However, we can count this as a good drill for any "hello, here I am coming to getcha-type" events.

Of greater interest is the explosion and fire that occured today at the Kurshab dual purpose (military materials-civilian power)plutonium production reactor. Two workers were burned to death in the accident that occured from an unidentified gas explosion. The surrounding communities heard about the explosion and fire only after evaucated workers and the resident compound exchanged as they left town. So much for Pakistan's emergency plan...

We will be watching to see if this is a security-related event. Pakistan is apparently ramping up its nuclear weapons program.

David Bradish said...

We will be watching too. I sure hope you weren't gloating that two people died.

Back to my question from this morning. Would you mind telling us how NIRS and Beyond Nuclear are funded?

You always complain about transparency with the nuclear industry. Why can't we also have transparency with the opposers?

bw said...

I have written an overview of nuclear plant security for context around Point Beach.

along with fairly extensive nuclear and energy coverage

One of the main things that I notice is that many people do not place nuclear within a consistent context with other energy sources. Everything has costs and damage and security or safety issues etc...

Plus for security there are lot of other critical infrastructure targets.

Anonymous said...

The real success story here is the clerk who took the comment seriously and reported it to police.

The people in the communities around plants (and other risk significant sites) often act as the early warning eyes and ears.

gunter said...

You may be watching the Pakistan reactor explosion and fire but I notice that you have not posted anything on this controversial dual use reactor. I am no more "gloating" over these two workers death than I would be about the tens of millions casualities resulting from a Pakistan-India nuclear war fueled by nuclear materials from this unit and other commercial reactors.

Per your unrelated question,
Beyond Nuclear and a number of other national groups you lump into the category of "anti-nuclear" are 501c3 not-for-profit organizations.

That is our financial support comes through tax-deductible chartiable contributions from individuals and foundations.

A larger number of other groups around the country challenge nuclear power without the IRS tax deductible provision. Their efforts are largely volunteered and funded by charitable contributions.

As for "complaints about industry transparency", its not about the money that concerns me most, David. We know very well where your indsutry gets its money--including financing construction of Seabrook with dubious junk bonds and the support of the Kuwait goverment.

I venture to say that you are too young to remember those desparate days (well, decades)of an industry wallowing in the financial quagmire. What's that Santayana quote, again?

But since we are on the topic, "the complaint about industry transparency" more aptly applies to situtations like Exelon/AmerGen's latest ruse to play hide the results of the volumetric analysis of questionable remaining safety margins for Oyster Creek's severely corroded drywell liner, a vital component of primary containment system.

To its credit, the NRC process provided a level of transparency in the relicensing review that enabled the public to successfully challenge AmerGen's application in the first relicensing hearing. Oyster Creek and NRC didn't plan to do anything more than occasionally stick their head in the plant's tight anulus for a visually inspection.

Here's the kicker, solely as the result of the public intervention, the volumetric analysis is now a relicensing condition of the oldest reactor in the US---should it be granted, that is. That additional detailed overview is a good thing right?

Like they did for the some of the drywell UT analysis (which we got under discovery), AmerGen is currently refusing to release the data for independent review or allow it offsite---something about it being thousands of pages of computer printouts or something. But there are, of course, a host of external hard drives at Circuit City.

Obviously, its more about the uncomfortable uncertainty in revealing the picture of Oyster Creek's containment corrosion and interpreting the numbers other than through the company's filtered analysis.

This is more detail than you wanted to know but here's our beef---in the interest of public safety as derived through a licensing ruling, the data should be completely transparent. As far as we're concerned AmerGen is going to make this data publicly available for independent analysis, one way or another.

Wouldn't you agree?

Luke said...

By the way, Gunter - the two deaths in Pakistan were the result of a gas leak at a heavy water production plant. (Probably hydrogen sulfide used in the Girdler sulfide process.)

Nothing to do with any kind of nuclear reactor, power reactor or not.

David Bradish said...

Nice rant Paul. You still didn't answer my question. Who are the "individuals and foundations" that provide your financial support? Do you have something to hide? You demand to know the details of the nuclear industry. We should be able to know the details of the anti-nuclear groups as well.

Wouldn't you agree?

If you can't provide an answer, then say so. Don't dodge the question by complaining about Oyster Creek's drywell liner.

gunter said...

If you read the reports on the Pakistan nuclear complex accident (currently 25 news articles as of today), Islamabad is claiming that the Kurshab facility is an electric power production facility not a military production reactor.
Sound familiar? But Pakistan is not a signator of the NPT nor is India... there you go---so much for IAEA.

David, that's an absurd request wouldn't you agree? Exactly what's the point of your goading and incenuations? You want pictures, telephone numbers and background profiles for the blog, too?

David Bradish said...

No doubt it's absurd. It's just as absurd as NIRS going after Moore's motivations for being paid by the nuclear industry. Except we don't hide the tie to Moore.

From NIRS:

Seldom mentioned is that Moore is paid to espouse those views on behalf of the industry.

What's the matter? You can go after Moore's integrity but we can't go after yours?

Your clandestine behavior obviously leaves us to believe there are ulterior motives to the anti-nuclear groups. You know what, I really don't care though, because we're going to pick apart all of the absurd claims made by the anti-groups. It's interesting how I haven't seen you in any of those comments to the links above.

You want pictures, telephone numbers and background profiles for the blog, too?

Don't forget social security numbers.

Anonymous said...

Guys, Gunter has his own forum from which to spout his lies. I don't understand why you lend him voice here unless it's the manner in which he discredits himself.

So Gunter, exactly who funds YOU? I'll wager we'd find big natural gas and big coal in there somewhere, perhaps quite well hidden.

The only reason NIRS obstructionism exists is because it financially benefits someone for it to exist. That someone would be nuclear energy's chiefest competitors: fossil fuel.

Hide it all you want, Gunter; the truth is that pollution benefits you, and if you really cared about human life, then you would support nuclear energy to replace coal which kills 30000 annually in the US from air pollution.

gunter said...

Yeah right, David... Patrick Moore finds the second coming of nuclear power and his NEI paycheck simultaneously and independent of the other.

That's about audacity not epiphany.

Its laughable to suggest that we are actually hiding "big coal" money to the anti-nuclear movement---like there was some kind of competition going on between fossil and nuclear. Is Dominion's coal division surreptitiously funding us to fight the new licensing proposed by Dominion's nuclear division?

But wait, perhaps I should go canvas Anthony Early, Jr's home (you know, the Detroit CEO for DTE Energy and coal tycoon who also happened to be Chairman of the Board for NEI)? Yeah, didn't he just resign a year or two ago from the NEI board? Did you ditch him because he was smudging up your "clear air" campaign. He'd might make us out a big fat check at the door, given his yearly salary is more than our annual budget. No, guess not, he's also the senior exec for the GE MARK I BWR in Monroe, Michigan. Darn...

David Bradish said...

Still dodging the question Paul.

Its laughable to suggest that we are actually hiding "big coal" money to the anti-nuclear movement

Prove it, you have my email address. Would you mind sending me NIRS' 2008 tax filings? It's all publicly available anyways. You're just saving me the extra step of calling the IRS and filling out a bunch of forms to get your filings. You can put my line of questioning to rest right here.

Anonymous said...

Its laughable to suggest that we are actually hiding "big coal" money to the anti-nuclear movement---like there was some kind of competition going on between fossil and nuclear. Is Dominion's coal division surreptitiously funding us to fight the new licensing proposed by Dominion's nuclear division?

That's a straw man right there.

No, Dominion wouldn't be paying you. But coal mineral rights owners, coal mine owners, mining equipment manufactures and even the railroads benefit from nuclear obstructionism.

You certainly can't claim absurdity to dismiss the possibility of any of those I listed to fund you, can you?

-Matthew B

Anonymous said...

OK, Gunter, maybe coal doesn't fund NIRS - but I'll wager suppliers of "clean" natural gas do.

By the way, with no coal plants and no nuke plants - which together supply 70 to 80% of US electricity, exactly how to you expect the lights in America to be kept on?

Let me guess: a little wind, a little solar, and NATURAL GAS - lots of NATURAL GAS.

Never mind the CO2 green house gas emissions. The green money from the natural gas suppliers to NIRS outweighs the need to be really green - which means to support nuclear energy.

I think NEI should find out who funds NIRS - and then those sources can be back-tracked to natural gas supply companies. Otherwise, Gunter and his boss Michael would make the info freely available at their web site.

Lisa Stiles said...

Patrick Moore finds the second coming of nuclear power and his NEI paycheck simultaneously and independent of the other.

Actually, it wasn't simultaneous. I was heavily involved in public outreach then as part of professional organizations like ANS and NA-YGN. Those of us that follow all news that is nuclear started reading about some guy named Patrick Moore in Canada who was once an environmentalist opposed to nuclear and was now an environmentalist for it. There wasn't a blog or a good, free service to send you the day's nuclear news all at once so we were just googling and found him getting quoted here and there. He was only getting a little press then (mostly local Canadian newspapers and a few in the upper Northwest) but when we did some research and found out he truly was a founder of Greenpeace we were elated.

I remember talking about it to other advocates at an ANS meeting--"We need to get this guy to come speak at our events!"--and someone from NEI's technical division said that the Communications division had begun to try and reach out to him.

At that time I was an officer of NA-YGN and I asked a contact at NEI if it would be possible to have Dr. Moore speak at NA-YGN's annual conference and they said they were working on having him speak at several engagements but didn't have commitments yet. I'm guessing that was 2003 or 2004 because that's when I had the lead to organize the conference. Ultimately we weren't able to have him speak there.

But it wasn't until about the time my loaned assignment at NEI began in 10/2005 that he was "under contract." If you look back, that corresponds to the time he began to get a lot more coverage in bigger media outlets. Obviously, that isn't a coincidence. But just as obvious is that his support of nuclear power came well before his relationship with NEI.

Lisa

Matthew B said...

OK, Gunter, maybe coal doesn't fund NIRS - but I'll wager suppliers of "clean" natural gas do.

Good point. The economics on coal don't lead to a massive financial upside due to increased use like there has been recently for the natural gas industry.

Coal already has 50% of the generation market, and any increase is measured as fractions of the current market.

Natural gas has gone from a few percent to 20% of our generation in a 15 year span. The increase is measured in 100's of percent and has resulted in massive profits for natural gas companies.

New nuclear plants won't displace coal, but the certainly will displace natural gas. They need to protect their cash cow.

Rod Adams said...

It has been more than half a dozen years since the last comment on this post, but I thought it might be interesting to point out the recently released report from the Senate EPA minority staff titled:

The Chain of Environmental Command:How a Club of Billionaires and Their Foundations Control the Environmental Movement and Obama’s EPA

http://www.epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Files.View&FileStore_id=8af3d005-1337-4bc3-bcd6-be947c523439

The report makes numerous accusations against the "far-left", but it also identifies deep and complex links between named foundations and major environmental organizations like Sierra, NRDC, and Environmental Defense. It also describes how smaller organizations with missions similar to those of NIRS and Beyond Nuclear get their marching orders and maintain plausible deniability for the major organizations.

Many of the identified billionaires and their foundations have deep ties to petroleum and natural gas dating back more than a century. Rockefeller's connection is obvious, but Pew was funded by Sunoco money, Marisila was funded by Getty Oil money, and Mellon was funded by Gulf Oil money. Many family members are still involved.

Don't believe the cover story that the grandchildren are trying to pay penance; they are huge fans of profits from keeping energy prices as high as artificial scarcity can make them.

The common thread is opposition to any technology that represents true abundance, which inevitably leads to lower, less profitable prices.