Markey slams nuclear agency over its handling of Pilgrim security breach
U.S. Rep. Edward Markey is criticizing the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for failing to disclose details about a security issue that was discovered at the Pilgrim nuclear power plant last fall.
Markey sent a letter to NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko last week that asked a series of questions about the unspecified security “deficiency.” Most notably, Markey asked why the federal agency hasn’t released details regarding the incident to the public.
The agency disclosed last week that an inspection in October and November discovered a security issue of “low to moderate significance” at the Plymouth plant, but the agency declined to specify what was found. An NRC spokesman said plant owner Entergy Corp. took immediate corrective actions to address the issue.
But Markey, in his letter, asked what kind of consequences Entergy will face for this most recent violation, and whether the NRC will impose higher penalties considering there have been 11 other security-related violations at Pilgrim since 2006. Markey also wants to know whether the agency has identified similar violations at other nuclear power plants.
Markey’s congressional district north and west of Boston isn’t near Plymouth. But Markey is one of the leaders on energy issues in Congress and has taken a keen interest in what happens at Pilgrim.
Neil Sheehan, a spokesman for the federal agency, said the agency decided several years ago that the appropriate response to such issues was to let the public know a security violation occurred without disclosing the details. This approach, Sheehan said, was based on balancing transparency with a desire not to indicate the nature of any security vulnerabilities to potential terrorists
.....“Yesterday’s arrest demonstrates the need for and the importance of vigilance and the willingness of private individuals and companies to ask questions and contact the authorities when confronted with suspicious activities,” said James T. Jacks, United States attorney for the Northern District of Texas, said Thursday.
He could often be heard talking loudly on the telephone in Arabic in the mornings, and in the afternoon he streamed Arabic television stations at a high volume.
The handwritten journal was also said to list “important steps,” including obtaining a forged United States birth certificate; applying for a passport and driver’s license; traveling to New York for a week; and renting cars in disguise, putting bombs with remote detonators in them and taking them to various places during rush hour.
The Justice Department said Thursday that Aldawsari bought explosive materials online and planned to hide them inside dolls and baby carriages to blow up dams, nuclear plants and Bush's Dallas home.
"That goes back to one of the Al Qaeda cases that I worked, and that was Ramzi Yosef, the mastermind behind the first World Trade Center bombing. I was involved with capturing him," Burton said. "Ramzi Yousef had a plan to use baby dolls to blow planes up in the sky."
Feb 24, 2011
R. William Borchardt
Executive Director for Operations
US Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, DC 20555-0001
Subject 2.206: Request emergency shutdown of Vermont Yankee because Entergy added terrorist last weekend with their release of a public relation video detailing precious security related information of the plant to the nation and beyond.
Dear Mr. Borchardt,
The Brattleboro Reformer released last weekend Feb 25, 2011 a video from their web site detailing the Vermont Yankee make up of the control room and vital security related information throughout the plant. They gave visual cues to possible terrorist including the location all the emergency core cooling systems controls, the vital core protection system including 9-5 panel and the electric system including the location of the main controls of the emergency diesel generators. They showed us the reactor rod dive hydraulic control units and the scam discharge volume and associated piping systems. All the terrorist would have to do is gain access the buildings…it is like the terrorist already made a scouting probe throughout the plant before the event itself. Entergy gave vital visual cues and shortened the time these terrorist would take to do their dirty deeds.
I understand Vermont Yankee has many different barriers to security of Vermont Yankee. But it is no excuse to give the terrorist a freebie with ripping security defense in depth away from the plant. Just because Entergy has gotten themselves in a dire position with public credibility issues and a future state mandated shutdown in 2012, it no excuse to allow them to give invaluable security information away to terrorists in a quest for plant survival though this sparkling and splashy public relation video extravaganza of the control room and this safety equipment.
Brattleboro Reformer: ‘Behind the Walls of Vermont Yankee’
You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9irnL0Y25bY
The local newspaper Brattleboro Reformer: http://www.reformer.com/
Most troubling was visual video recording of the north control room door. The video recorded the edge of the door…it gave the thickness of the door and the potential material make up of it. They unnecessarily gave potential terrorist the amount of explosive charge they would need to gain entranced into a nuclear power plant control room. The video gave cues to the security door card magnetic reader. It gives cues in how get past the reader anywhere in the building itself without blowing the doors.
We are right now in one of most vulnerable National Security threat period ever including the period just before 9/ 11. What about the requirements of FERC in giving out detailed critical national security infrastructure information to the public? I just think this video has made Vermont Yankee more vulnerable if attacked by terrorist and placed the whole area at increasing risk.
Hinsdale, NH 03451