Target For Terrorists: Report Shows U.S. Nuclear Reactors At Risk

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — More than 100 nuclear power plants are being called terror targets, including those here in Maryland.

A new report ordered by the Pentagon finds American nuclear plants are dangerously unprotected from possible attacks.

Christie Ileto explains some of the most vulnerable are right in our own backyard.

About a third of Americans live within 50 miles of a nuclear power plant. If you are one of those Marylanders, this report affects you.

A target for terrorists. That’s what a Pentagon commission study shows about all the nation’s nuclear reactors Thursday–more than a decade after the Sept. 11 attacks heightened security.

“I’m very shocked by the report,” said Michael Greenberger, Director, University of Maryland Center for Health and Homeland Security.

The report says 107 nuclear plants are at risk from being attacked by land, air or sea, including Three Mile Island, Calvert Cliffs and Peach Bottom. They’re all just an hour from Baltimore and the National Institute of Standards and Technology–just 25 miles from the White House–in Gaithersburg.

Greenberger says this is just one report, but:

“If they’re right, this really calls for a dramatic redesign and thinking about the nation’s nuclear reactors,” he said.

Nuclear plants have come under scrutiny for security before. Officials at Peach Bottom gave WJZ an exclusive look at their safety measures years ago.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission says they do not believe the report released Thursday contains any new information or insight, saying:

“The NRC has robust security requirements for commercial nuclear power plants and faculties housing special nuclear material.”

“The full breadth of this report really should cause everybody to stop and think very hard,” said Greenberger.

For now, the NRC says they are confident these facilities are adequately protected.

It’s unclear if and when any new security changes will happen.

More than half of the nation’s active reactors sit close to large communities.

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