Bigger Guns, Bigger Problems? How High-Powered Ammunition Could Affect Nuclear Power Plants

Lest we forget the substations that were sabotaged via sniper attack in California in 2013, causing electricity to go out. Although the high-powered ammunition in this article’s case is on the side of security, what’s to stop the security personnel from being infiltrators themselves bent on industrial espionage and sabotage?

 

(Shutterstock)

 

More powerful ammunition meant to protect nuclear reactors was capable of piercing control panels and critical piping.

(TNS) – Shortly after the horrors of 9/11, a curious package landed on Dave Lochbaum’s desk.

It was flat but heavy. Inside the bubble pack was a battered steel plate, blasted with dents and holes from semiautomatic weapons fire. Each pockmark and perforation was carefully labeled – by hand, in permanent ink – with the type of ammunition used to produce it.

Security forces at San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station and nuclear plants nationwide had increased their firepower to take on a more formidable terrorist threat. The steel plate, sent by a San Onofre security manager, graphically illustrated what Lochbaum, a nuclear engineer, considered a potentially devastating, increased risk: Continue reading

Study: All 107 U.S. nuclear reactors vulnerable to terrorists

Every commercial nuclear reactor in the United States is insufficiently protected against “credible” terrorist threats, according to a new report (PDF) from the Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Project at the University of Texas at Austin.

The report found that facilities were vulnerable to the theft of bomb-grade nuclear materials and sabotage attacks designed to cause a meltdown. Continue reading