Security Gap: A Hard Look at the Soft Spots in Our Civilian Nuclear Reactor Security   [open pdf - 1MB]

Following the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center Towers and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, Rep. Markey initiated a series of letters to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission regarding our nation's preparedness for similar attacks on civilian nuclear targets. The possibility of a terrorist attack on a civilian nuclear power plant is not new. In fact it is anticipated in requirements, referred to as the "Design Basis Threat," that all plant operators must meet when they build a civilian nuclear power-plant in the United States. President Bush has remarked on the discovery of Al Qaeda documents showing the plans of civilian nuclear targets, and Al Qaeda operatives have given testimony asserting their interest in targeting nuclear materials and civilian nuclear power-plants. Although Rep. Markey's concerns regarding the terrorist threat to civilian nuclear power-plants have been expressed in correspondence with the NRC over many years, the basis of the current analysis can be found in the letters sent by Rep. Markey to the NRC following 9-11, as well as the NRC's responses forward to Rep. Markey on March 4, 2002. The NRC requested that some responses to these questions be kept confidential for security reasons. They have done so while compiling this analysis.

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