Friday, March 25, 2016

Fox and Friends and Nuclear Plant Security

Both the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have concluded that U.S. nuclear plants are among the most secure of all industrial facilities. But for some reason, that fact wasn't reported on Fox and Friends this morning when Tucker Carlson interviewed Alan Kuperman of the Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Project on nuclear power plant security.

When it comes to the threat of terrorism, American nuclear plants responded quickly in the wake of the 9-11 attacks, spending more than $2 billion to upgrade security.

The independent U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has said that nuclear power plants are "among the best-protected private sector facilities in the nation." The NRC holds nuclear power plants to the highest security standards of any American industry. These security measures get more robust the closer you get to the plant, using defenses such as vehicles, barriers/concrete walls, sophisticated intrusion detection and weaponry. There also are measures to protect against insider threats.

We're always surprised that Carlson neglects to mention these facts when he reports on the topic. After all, Carlson edits The Daily Caller, a website that ran an op-ed in 2011 by NEI's Marv Fertel on how the nuclear industry supplemented security after the 9-11 attacks on New York and Washington, D.C. Overall, the U.S. nuclear energy industry alone employs about 9,000 heavily armed security personnel. That compares pretty favorably with the entire Belgian Army, which only has about 12,000 soldiers in uniform.

Does Tucker Carlson read The Daily Caller?
Just like the last time Fox reported about this issue, they neglected to contact anyone in the nuclear energy industry for comment, opting instead to let Kuperman speak over archival footage of another Fox and Friends/Daily Caller report we debunked back in 2014.

Whatever this is, it isn't fair and balanced journalism. People have a right to know what we're doing to secure our plant sites, but journalists also have a responsibility to give us an opportunity to answer those questions in the first place. According to the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics, reporters should "Diligently seek subjects of news coverage to allow them to respond to criticism or allegations of wrongdoing." That same code of ethics also says, " Identify sources clearly. The public is entitled to as much information as possible to judge the reliability and motivations of sources." As we reported back in 2013, Kuperman has previously worked for the rabid anti-nuclear group, Greenpeace, so it isn't as if he doesn't have an ax to grind with us.

For an example of what actual reporting looks like, watch this video that was shot by The Day when they talked to security personnel at Dominion's Millstone Nuclear Power Plant.

Please keep up with us on Twitter, as we engage in a what's sure to be a day-long conversation about this story. Be sure to watch NEI's video on nuclear plant security, while also reviewing the information on our website on nuclear power plant security.

From the NEI Nuclear Notes archive:

DYK Alan Kuperman worked for Greenpeace?
A Fresh Perspective on Nuclear Plant Security
NEI Responds to NPPP Report on Security at U.S. Nuclear Power Plants
Why the Daily Caller is Wrong About Nuclear Power Plant Security
NRC Rebuts Daily Caller on Nuclear Power Plant Security

POSTSCRIPT:  After The Daily Caller ran their piece on nuclear plant security in 2014, the nuclear industry reached out to the reporter in question to see if he would be interested in touring Calvert Cliffs. He declined the invitation. This morning, NEI's media team contacted Fox News in an attempt to speak with Carlson. We were told he was unavailable.


Michael Priebe said...

I recently retired after 32+ years working in the commercial nuclear power industry. Nearly all that time was in the Security field. When I see the media misleading the public because sensational stories get better ratings, it makes me wonder about all the "news" we get from them. The truth is, every US nuclear facility is heavily fortified and defended by highly trained professionals. I'd stack the men and women in nuclear security up against anything our adversaries have to throw against us. I appreciate NEI setting the record straight.

Anonymous said...

Which of Dr. Kuperman's specific claims on Fox does NEI claim are inaccurate?

Anonymous said...

Unsurprising to this observer that Fox "News" doesn't report factually. This happens with regularity.

Bob Hearn said...

Not really sure where to go with this. All throughout the initial days of the Fukushima episode I made every attempt with every point of access to make them aware that the coverage they were providing was based 90% on interviews with persons who were well-documented as anti- nuclear activists and that much of what was being said was inaccurate or absolutely wrong. I offerred my credentials as PhD Nuclear Physicist who had much experience in nuclear reactors around the world, and specifically ones with the same design as the Fukushima units.
They absolutely rejected any offer to discuss, clarify provide information of any sort in any manner, or to even respond. I went to evry anchor's web site and all of the portals available on the site or links for input. Absolutely no response! I have had interactions with media dating all the way back to the 70's and this is the most deafness I have encountered! Even CNN had more balance in their reportage!