Today's Washington Post reports that the NRC ruled yesterday "that the nation's 103 nuclear power plants do not need to protect themselves from potential attacks by terrorists using airplanes."
Something about that seemed vaguely familiar to us (for our non-debate friends, this last statement qualifies as dramatic understatement…).
Funny thing how the NRC never changes. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that it's a government bureaucracy??
Anyway, it seems that they were responding to a petition from the Committee to Bridge the Gap, a Los Angeles nonprofit group. The Post reports that this petition urged that "nuclear plants should build shields made of steel I-beams and cabling or take other steps to prevent a release of radiation in case of an air attack." The Post goes on to note that "eight state attorneys general backed the petition."
Huh. Fascinating. Back when we were on the University's Intercollegiate Debate Squad, our very first topic was terrorism. The resolution: "The United States should substantially expand its efforts to prevent terrorism." We had two main planks. One dealt with nuclear proliferation in countries like Russia and the former U.S.S.R. The other dealt with domestic nuclear reactors.
Here's a quote from our 1st Affirmative Constructive, under "Mandates:"
Congress shall mandate security upgrades including (but not limited to) the installation of surface-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft guns, placement of steel poles linked with cables around the reactor building (as recommended by Dr. Nicholas Berry of CDI), and expansion of the outermost fence around each site. These upgrades will vary according to the nature of each site.
Well, it's good to know that at least somebody (in this case, the group from Los Angeles and the 8 Attorneys General) is taking us seriously after all this time. Of course, the NRC resisted all attempts to improve security even back then, and apparently they continue to do so.