WASHINGTON -- Spent nuclear fuel stored in pools at some of the nation's 103 operating commercial nuclear reactors may be at risk from terrorist attacks, says a new report from a committee of the National Academies' Board on Radioactive Waste Management. The report calls on the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (USNRC) to conduct additional analyses to obtain a better understanding of potential risks and to ensure that power-plant operators take prompt and effective measures to reduce the possible consequences of such attacks. Because potential threats may differ according to a specific plant's design, the committee recommended that plant-by-plant vulnerability analyses be performed.
These conclusions were based on a detailed review of security analyses performed by the USNRC, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the nuclear power industry, and independent experts. The committee noted that many security improvements have been instituted at U.S. commercial nuclear power plants since the events of Sept. 11, 2001. On several important questions, however, it was unable to obtain enough information from the USNRC to assess their effectiveness. The committee therefore recommends that an assessment of such measures should be undertaken by an organization independent of the USNRC and the nuclear industry.
"Within the six-month time frame requested by Congress, our committee of technical experts completed a very sound, evidence-based analysis," said committee chair Louis J. Lanzerotti, distinguished research professor at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark, and consultant, Bell Labs, Lucent Technologies, Murray Hill, N.J. "We received input both from scientific professionals and the public. Our findings were unanimous. While the committee identified several terrorist attack scenarios that could have potentially severe consequences if carried out successfully, we also identified two relatively simple measures that could be implemented imPage: 1 2 3 4 Related biology news :1
Contact: William Skane
The National Academies
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