Nuclear Plant War Games Highlight Security Risks

By Admin
Imagine youre an engineer at a nuclear power plant that contains some of the most dangerous materials known to man. Suddenly, commandos slip past secur...

Imagine you’re an engineer at a nuclear power plant that contains some of the most dangerous materials known to man.  Suddenly, commandos slip past security guards, killing some of your colleagues and blowing up key facilities, potentially leaking deadly radioactive substances into the atmosphere and putting surrounding communities at risk of contamination.  That’s exactly what has taken place at 24 of the United States’ 104 commercially active nuclear power plants.  The only thing is, none of it was real.

In an effort by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to test security at the country’s nuclear power plants, mock raids are conducted yearly.  Like something out of the movies, trained security personnel mimic real-life security breeches, targeting both plant personnel and key facility buildings for termination.

Using a high-tech military-grade laser weapon system known as MILES (Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System), the mock commandos simulate gunfire.  The assaults are pre-announced so there is no confusion as to whether or not a “real” attack is taking place.  They are also carried out on three consecutive nights, so each shift of the plants’ security forces have an opportunity to partake in the simulation. 

SEE OTHER TOP STORIES IN THE WDM CONTENT NETWORK

25,000 Protest Nuclear Power in Germany

Germany to End Nuclear Power Completely

Scary Truth About U.S. Nuclear Power Plant Regulation

Read the latest edition of Energy Digital

In last year’s mock assaults, commandos were able to successfully damage or destroy critical targets at two of the 24 plants attacked according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.  Inspectors addressed the security issues at the plants and resolved the shortcomings, but the NRC refuses to release information identifying which plants failed the test, citing concerns that they may be targeted if identities were revealed.  

The NRC claims that roughly one-quarter of U.S. nuclear plants undergo such “war game” style assaults each year, with between two and four being breeched by mock commandos on average.  NRC spokeswoman Holly Harrington says, "We don't characterize (the results) as good or bad because the plants must adhere to our security regulations, period.  If there are these failures, which from time to time occur, they are fixed and the plants are told they have to meet these requirements."

This year the NRC will conduct 25 security drills, three of which will address the corrective actions of plants that failed in the past.  According to Harrington, following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the frequency and strenuousness of the drills became more intense.  “The realism went up,” she says. 

Share

Featured Articles

UK Government awards £54mn in heat network funding

Funding will support the development of schemes in London, Bedfordshire and Woking that use low-carbon heat sources

Shell posts $11.5bn second quarter profit

Shell's earnings fuelled by ongoing price rises and geopolitical instability as the energy major places greater focus on natural gas investments

bp opens first electric truck fast-charging facilities

Operated by bp’s Aral brand, the retail site at Schwegenheim in Rheinland-Pfalz has two 300kw chargers intended for electric trucks

Shell commits to developing Jackdaw gas field in North Sea

Oil & Gas

Prospex Energy raises £1.87m for Selva gas field development

Oil & Gas

Shanghai Electric Group launches low carbon business

Utilities