Monday, January 11, 2010

Nuke plant security improves

From the Times Leader:

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced Friday that a follow-up inspection of the nuclear plant in Salem Township found that security issues from a previous inspection had been corrected, though the NRC and the operator wouldn’t elaborate on what those issues were and how they were addressed.

The announcement brings attention to a double-edged concern with nuclear power, which is poised to increase in the country as greenhouse-gas-producing, fossil-fuel-burning plants are phased out.

“We don’t provide details on security inspection findings because that information could be useful to an individual or group intent on attacking a nuclear power plant,” NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan wrote in an e-mail.

Because of the potential for widespread health hazards if a plant were breached – consider the close brush with a meltdown at Three Mile Island in the Harrisburg area in 1979 – the NRC and nuclear operators are consistently mum about security issues and how they’re handled.

“We’re not going to deny that there was a finding,” said Joe Scopelliti, a spokesman for PPL Corp.’s Susquehanna Steam Electric Station. “At the same time, we’re not going to say what it was exactly so that people who would choose to do us harm, we’re not going to tip our hat to them, either.”

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