Monday, April 16, 2007

NRC, NEI and The Nuclear Industry Rig DBT, Plan Security To Defend Against The DBT, Not A Terrorist Attack

This typical bullet resistent nuclear site guard tower could easily be eliminated with several of the commonly used weapons employed by terrorist that the NRC kept off the DBT Weapons List at the request of the NEI.
The DBT (Defense Basis Treat) has been compromised by NEI and the nuclear industry, leaving every reactor host community in America severely vulnerable to a terrorist attack. This is not wild speculation, but basic facts ascertained in a carefully thoughtful review of the GAO's report found here.

Instead of our reactor sites being prepared to defend themselves against a terrorist attack, hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent for window dressing, and to prepare licensees for the DBT they created, to help them pass Force on Force exercises that are fatally flawed, and biased in favor of corporate profits, instead of host community public safety. Security issues have not been removed from public view because of national security concerns, but instead to keep members of the general public ignorant of the real risks posed by reactors, and to hide a corrupt partnership wherein the NRC, DOE and the DHS willingly dilute rules and regulations to keep America's nuclear industry financially afloat as they try to push forth the agenda of a Nuclear Renaissance.

The NRC and the nuclear industry freely admit that nuclear reactors are likely targets for a terrorist attack, yet the NRC allowed the NEI (Nuclear Energy Institute) almost dictatorial control in shaping a DBT that suits their own purposes, protects their industry's financial asssets while foisting much of the financial, legal and moral responsibility of protecting nuclear reactors off onto local, state and fedreal law enforcement in the name of saving money. Such callous disregard on the part of both industry and the NRC has left every reactor host community vulnerable should terrorist launch a concerted effort to destroy a reactor facility here in America.

Force on Force exercises (conducted every three years) are designed to test the ability of security forces against a mock terrorist attack. The DBT envisions much of that defense coming from local, state and federal law enforcement, and in severe case scenarios, the united States military establishment. Yet, the NRC's Force on Force exercises do not involve/include any of these outside agencies and their trained forces in the exercise, do not test the abilities of said law enforcement agencies to respond to a terrorist attack.

If the nuclear industry and the NRC see off site law enforcement as a part of the intregal defense stategy of a nuclear facility, commonsense dictates they be included in any and all Force on Force exercises...especially since the NRC includes as a part of said exercises the licensee demonstrating the steps they would employ to notify and involve off site law enforcement. Even DHS admits it only depends on NRC licensees to defend "inside the fence" of a nuclear facility. With that reality, where is preparedness training, and financing for off site security? Though the Department of Homeland Security has the jurisdictional authority to step in and regulate the security of the nuclear industry, they have refused to do so.

Far more disturbing than who is resonsible for what, is how the NRC weakened the DBT from the onset through various exclusionary methods to a point where reactor communities have no real protections at all should a terrorist event unfold. From the outset, the NRC's methodology is highly suspect. Their criteria for eliminating threats from inclusion in the DBT creates a scenario wherein reactors in other countries are far more protected and secure than any here in America, thus making reactors in the United States ripe for terrorist exploitation.

1. Location and level of social stability where the terrorist characteristic was demonstrated...if a particular terrorist job skill was successfully employed, but in a politically unstable nation, said characteristic is exempted from the NRC's DBT for American reactors. The NRC's thinking behind this methodology, is that terrorists planning to attack an American reactor would face far greater operational security and logistical challenges than terrorists operating in counties going through internal insurgency. First, the attacks of 9/11 showed this thinking and/or mindset on the part of the NRC to be fundamentally wrong. Additionally, the recent terrorist attack deep into the heavily fortified Green Zone in Iraq tells us that the NRC is greatly underestimating the operational abilities of the terrorist networks around the world.

2. Frequency with which a terrorist characteristic has been demonstrated, and the ease of weapon availiabilty on the open or black market. This particular methodology would have been reasonable, until the NRC allowed NEI and the nuclear industry to cross off the proposed list any weapons they did not want to defend against...such as the easily attainable and frequently used RPG as one example.

3. Type of target the characteristic and/or weapon had been used against in the past, the tactical use of the characteristic, and the motive behind its use...for instance, had said weapon been used in the past against a structure with similiar security levels found at a nuclear should be noted here, that Al Quida routinely uses RPG's and mortars against various hardened targets all over the world.

The Energy Policy Act spells out specifically certain factors/scenerios that the DBT should include, but that the NRC has decided to ignore. The Energy Policy Act as example says the DBT should include a large attack force...the NRC instead decided such an approach made no sense. One of their reasons for this decision? It is their belief that terrorists would not use a large attack force on one reactor, but instead use a bunch of smaller groups to attack several reactors simultaneously.

The NRC staff recommended the DBT include the potential for a large explosive laden vehicle. The NEI objected, saying the vehicle should be smaller. Their reasoning was that the larger vehicle bomb would more than likely be discovered by off site law enforcement before it could successfully attack the nuclear facility. Of course, the fact that a smaller explosive laden vehicle would be A) easier to defend against, and B) even if successfully detonated do far less damage to the reactor or spent fuel pool of a nuclear site never entered the NEI's mind. The NRC caved into industry demands, and greatly reduced the size of the bomb ladened truck in the DBT.

The NRC's draft DBT included a long laundry list of easily available weapons terrorists routinely use, that licensees should be prepared to defend against. Things like RPG's, shouldered launched rockets and the good old fashion mortar come quickly to mind. The NEI was livid, and wanted almost every weapon removed from the list. Their reasons for this were A) some of the weapons would be too costly for the licensees to defend against (even though DOE sites do), and B) one of the weapons routinely used by terrorist, if included on the DBT list of weapons would render every nuclear facility bullet resistant tower obsolete and valueless. The NRC again caved in, but left two weapons on the list...not to worry, when the final DBT came up for a vote, the commissioners removed these two weapons from the list for the NEI.

The list of egregious wrongs in creating the worthless DBT for the protection of nuclear power plants goes on and on.

The NEI objected to having a violent inside operative or angry employee included in the DBT, claiming they could not come up with a COST EFFECTIVE SECURITY SOLUTION for such a scenerio. Looking at today's tragedy at Virginia tech, we have to wonder how close Indian Point came to having that crazed inside employee in Stevn Lessard. Again, the NRC ended up dropping such a scenerio from the plan. To give the nuclear industry even more sway in the creation of the DBT, NRC staff included NEI's unverified cost benefits analysis as one of the documents the NRC commissioners reviewed in making their decisions on what would stay in the DBT final document.

The commissioners justified some of their logic with some very disturbing thinking for supposed professionals out to protect public safety against a terrorist attack.

1. Approved an assumption that some security safeguards were not necessary, as it was likely the industry would recieve some advance general warning, notice recieved before an attack. Sure, Osama will probably send out embossed invitations to the incident far enough in advance that we can all RSVP.

2. Stated they expected/demanded a period of regulatory stability (no changes) where security issues are concerned. God forbid new and/or changing security threats should interfere with their agenda to rubberstamp the license renewal applications of 103 failing and poorly protected nuclear reactors.

3. Clarified the NRC's position, that sites are not required to defeat a terrorist attack, as that would require security forces to employ offensive measures beyond what is allowed under law. Curious this sort of like the National Guard being sent to the border, but told they cannot fire their weapons until they are actually fired upon?

The rubber stamping of license renewals needs to end. The rubber stamping of NEI's wishes and whimes has to stop, the back room deal making and corruption exposed. Most importantly, the DBT needs revisited immediately, with full open oublic involvement in the process, and security and safety concerns of host communities put back on the license renewal application process negotiating table.

To give readers an idea of the kinds of weapons and threats that should be included in the DBT, I include a basic information document on terrorists weapons that you can download from the United Nations website.

Information Sheet:

Conventional Terrorist Weapons
More About Terrorism,Terrorism Home Page,Terrorism Conventions

Terrorists are, on the whole, conventional in their use of weapons; bombs and guns are their favourites. Among the former, car- and truck-bombs have become very powerful weapons, especially in suicide attacks. Terrorists use both explosive bombings and incendiary bombings (e.g. Molotov cocktails). They also make use of letter and parcel bombs. Terrorists use guns, pistols, revolvers, rifles and (semi-) automatic weapons in assassinations, sniping, armed attacks and massacres. Grenades - from hand grenades to rocket-propelled - are also part of the terrorist arsenal. The use of missiles is rare but a few groups are known to be in possession of surface-to-air shoulder-fired missiles that can bring down helicopters, fighter aircrafts and civilian airliners.

Guns and Other Firearms

Terrorists use both manufactured and improvised firearms. The term manufactured designates those arms made professionally by arms factories, while improvised describes those manufactured by non-professional arms manufacturers, or by illicit workshops. Firearms are sometimes referred to as "bored weapons", indicating the barrel from which the bullet or projectile is fired, or the tube from which the projectile is launched.

Manufactured Firearms

These are divided into sub-categories:

Small Arms: most firearms under the level of medium machine guns, or as a loose rule, belt-fed machine guns. They include pistols (which are now all semi-automatic or self re-loading), revolvers, rifles, submachine guns and light machine guns. Small arms also include so-called assault rifles, which are in fact either submachine gun mechanisms or mechanisms providing the same firing facilities in the body, stock or woodwork of a short rifle or carbine. The hand-guns (pistols and revolvers) are sometimes known as sidearms.

Medium-size Infantry Weapons: medium-sized machine guns (many of which are belt-fed), smaller sized mortars, rocket- propelled grenades and smaller calibre wire-guided missiles.

Heavy Infantry Weapons: heavy calibre machine guns, heavy calibre mortars, larger calibre wire-guided missiles, shoulder-held anti-tank missile launchers and some rockets below the category of artillery.

Improvised Firearms

These weapons include any of the above which are made outside professional and legal arms factories. Not all types of the above weapons have been privately manufactured or improvised, but weapons such as the AK-47 Kalashnikov assault rifle or the M-60 heavy machine gun are within the manufacturing capabilities of local arms artificers on the north-west frontier of the Indian subcontinent. Primitive mortars and rocket launchers are also sometimes manufactured by different entities.

Weapons Manufacturers and Weapon Names

Small Arms

Most small arms are designed for military use, but hunting weapons and occasionally full-bore target-shooting weapons are also utilized.

Common calibres (reflecting procurement and re-supply trends).

5.56 mm
7.65 mm
9 mm

Manufacturers / Weapons

Considerable quantities of commercial shotguns are diverted into illicit black markets due to the large number of commercial manufacturers. The most common weapon manufacturers are:

FN (Fabrique Nationale).
Carl Gustav.
Webley & Scott.
Sterling-Enfield (Sten).
Bryno-Enfield (Bren).
A. Kalashnikov (AK).
Smith & Wesson.
British Small Arms Co.


1) AK-47 (Soviet rifle)

The AK-47 was accepted as the standard rifle for the Soviet Army in 1949 and retained that status until it was succeeded by the AKM. During the Cold War, the USSR supplied arms to anti-Western insurgent terrorists. The AK-47 became a symbol of left-wing revolution; between 30-50 million copies and variations of the AK-47 have been produced globally, making it the most widely used rifle in the world.

2) RPG-7 (Rocket Propelled Grenade)

The RPG-7 was issued by forces of the former USSR, the Chinese military and North Korea, and was used in many countries receiving weapons and training from the Warsaw Pact members. The RPG-7 proved to be a very simple and functional weapon, effective against fixed emplacements and playing an anti-vehicle/anti-armour role. Its effective range is thought to be approximately 500 metres when used against a fixed target, and about 300 metres when fired at a moving target. The RPG-7 is being used extensively by terrorist organizations in the Middle East and Latin America and is thought to be in the inventory of many insurgent groups. The RPG-7 is available in illegal international arms markets, particularly in Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

3) Stinger (FIM92A)

The US-made Stinger is a man-portable infrared guided shoulder-launched Surface-To-Air Missile (SAM). It proved to be highly effective in the hands of Afghan Mujahedeen guerrillas during their insurgency against the Soviet intervention. Its maximum effective range is approximately 5,500 metres. Its maximum effective altitude is approximately 5250metres. It has been used to target high-speed jets, helicopters and commercial airliners.

4) SA-7 ("Grail")

Sold by the thousands after the demise of the former Soviet Union, the SA-7 "Grail" uses an optical sight and tracking device with an infrared seeking mechanism to strike flying targets with great force. Its maximum effective range is approximately 6,125 metres and maximum effective altitude is approximately 4300 metres. It is known to be in the stockpiles of several terrorist and guerrilla groups.

Bombs and Other Explosives

Few military bombs (other than those dropped by aircraft) are currently manufactured on the scale and with the diversity encountered in the Second World War. The exception to this generalization is the mine - both the anti-personnel and anti-tank mine. Mines can be adapted without too much difficulty with average combat-engineer experience. Some 300 different types of mines are buried under the soil, killing tens of thousands every year.

Most bombs assembled by terrorists are improvised. The raw material required for explosives is stolen or misappropriated from military or commercial blasting supplies, or made from fertilizer and other readily available household ingredients. Such assembled bombs are known as Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).


IEDs have a main charge, which is attached to a fuse. The fuse is attached to a trigger. In some types of IEDs, these three components are almost integrated into a single whole. The trigger is the part which activates the fuse. The fuse ignites the charge, causing the explosion. The explosion consists of a violent pulse of blast and shock waves. The effects of the IED are sometimes worsened by the addition of material, such as scrap iron or ball-bearings. Sometimes the trigger is not the only component that activates the fuse; there is also an anti-handling device that triggers the fuse when the IED is handled or moved. The purpose of most IEDs is to kill or maim. Some IEDs, known as incendiaries, are intended to cause damage or destruction by fire. The format of the charge in some IEDs (some of which have no casing to contain the components of the IED) can be shaped or directional, rendering a measure of control over the explosion. Anti-personnel mines and other types of mines have been adapted by terrorists to suit their purposes.

Favoured Explosive Charges

RDX (Cyclonite or Hexogen, depending on form).
PETN (Raw form of RDX).
C4 (Plastic Explosive).
TNT (Tri Nitro Toluene)
Common Fertilizer, used as a base.
Methods / Triggers used to detonate an IED

Pressure activated (physical).
Pressure activated (water or atmospheric).
Electronic Signal (Remote Control).
Electronic Signal (Radio Frequency).
Electronic Pulse (Detonator box)
Photo Electric Cell ("when dawn breaks").
Motion Detector.
Heat Detector.
Radiation Trigger.
Circuit Connection (Anti-handling Device).
Time Switch (Electronic).
Time Switch (Acid activated).
Fuse Wire.
Examples of IEDs

Pipe Bomb
This is the most common type of terrorist bomb and usually consists of low-velocity explosives inside a tightly capped piece of pipe. Pipe bombs are very easily made using gunpowder, iron, steel, aluminium or copper pipes. They are sometimes wrapped with nails to cause even more harm.

Molotov Cocktail
This improvised weapon - first used by the Russian resistance against German tanks in the Second World War - is used by terrorists world-wide. Molotov cocktails are extremely simple to make and can cause considerable damage. They are usually made from materials like gasoline, diesel fuel, kerosene, ethyl or methyl alcohol, lighter fluid and turpentine, all of which are easily obtained. The explosive material is placed in a glass bottle, which breaks upon impact. A piece of cotton serves as a fuse, which is ignited before the bottle is thrown at the target.

Fertilizer Truck Bomb
Fertilizer truck bombs consist of ammonium nitrate. Hundreds of kilograms may be required to cause major damage. The Irish Republican Army, Tamil Tigers and some Middle Eastern groups use the ammonium nitrate bomb.

Barometric Bomb
One of the more advanced weapons in the terrorist's arsenal. The detonator of the bomb is linked to an altitude meter, causing the explosion to occur in mid-air.

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