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Feeling Secure In Shadow Of Nuke Power Plant [PA's Peach Bottom]
Website of WBAL-TV Baltimore ^ | 2/11/03 | Mindy Basara

Posted on 02/15/2003 6:53:59 AM PST by foreverfree

Feeling Secure In Shadow Of Nuke Power Plant

11 News I-Team's Mindy Basara Reports

POSTED: 8:58 a.m. EST February 11, 2003

DELTA, Pa. -- Here's something you may not know: There's a nuclear power plant just an hour from downtown Baltimore -- the Peach Bottom Plant in Delta, Pa.

Security around nuclear facilities has always been tight. But in the wake of 9-11, some may wonder -- is it secure enough?

11 News I-team reporter Mindy Basara went to Peach Bottom to find out.

Of particular concern is nuclear waste. At Peach Bottom, the waste is stored inside, in a pool. But they're running out of room - so now some of the waste is stored outside in steel containers. The concern is -- could they be a target for terrorists?

Nuclear waste is stored closer than you may think. The Peach Bottom Nuclear Power Plant is in Delta, Pa., just over the Maryland line, an hour from Baltimore. The material inside these casks is so toxic it could harm tens of thousands of people within a ten-mile radius.

Fran Reining, Peach Bottom spokeswoman: "The material inside these containers is highly radioactive."

The casks, filled with nuclear waste, are kept outside, surrounded by a barbed wire fence. We're not allowed to show you the other security measures, but they are significant -- cameras, armed guards, state police. The containers are made of steel, weigh 115 tons, and stand fifteen feet tall.

Reining: "They are designed to withstand earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, being submerged in water, being submerged in airplane fuel."

This is video of a cask burning in a pool of aviation fuel, crashing into a concrete wall at 80 mph, falling 30 feet onto steel-reinforced concrete, and atop a locomotive, traveling 80 mph and crashing into a steel container.

These tests are done to ensure the casks can withstand acts of terrorism. Scientists at the Nuclear Energy Institute conducted these tests and say in each case the containers were charred, or dented...but remained intact.

But after 9-11, another scenario comes to mind.

Basara: "What if a large plane was to crash into one of the containers?"

Reining: "Interestingly enough, the industry is looking into that as well."

In fact, a recent study by the Nuclear Energy Institute considered what would happen if a large modern aircraft crashed into a nuclear power plant -- a scenario that had not been considered before September 11, 2001.

In the study, scientists used computer models to simulate the crash of a Boeing 767 into a plant like Peach Bottom. The simulation showed the reactor could sustain that kind of impact.

And as for the nuclear waste containers outside, the study concluded the containers would be dented, but not destroyed. There would be no release of radiation into the environment.

Basara: "You've worked here for eight years. Have you ever felt, this is not the safest place to be?"

Reining: "Absolutely not. I know how secure my plant is. I know how it's built, how it's designed, it's a very strong structure. And I have the utmost confidence in our security force."

Nearby residents feel the same way.

"Don't bother me any, still safe."

"I think it's as safe as anything else."

"We just live with it because nowadays where would you go to be safe? There isn't any place."

And officials at Peach Bottom believe the plant's remote location is an added layer of security.

Reining: "Sad to say, but from a terrorist view point, there aren't as many people here. So we think, why would you come here?"

TOPICS: Miscellaneous; US: Maryland; US: Pennsylvania
KEYWORDS: nukeneighbors
Reining: "Sad to say, but from a terrorist view point, there aren't as many people here. So we think, why would you come here?"

Don't give terrorists any ideas, Ms. Reining. ):-/ Just some advice from a FReeper who actually found your plant one October Sunday in 2001 (with the help of my trusty ADC York County street atlas :-)).

By comparison, Three Mile Island, further up the Susquehanna but on the other bank, is actually on a main road, Route 441, heading from Middletown to Columbia. My stepbrother in law used to be a technician there (he now works at another nuke) and I myself have also driven by TMI, a couple of times.


1 posted on 02/15/2003 6:53:59 AM PST by foreverfree
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To: Lil'freeper
2 posted on 02/15/2003 7:18:12 AM PST by big'ol_freeper ("When do I get to lift my leg on the liberal?")
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To: foreverfree
I live 10 miles from the PP&L Salem Township PA nuclear plant. I have my pills ready.
3 posted on 02/15/2003 7:21:49 AM PST by angcat
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To: foreverfree
I live a couple of miles from a Nuclear Plant.Ever since 911,entrances have been closed so that there is only one way in and one way out.I've seen fighters come over the house to intrercept passenger planes that got too close.They could have taken them out from where they were with no problem.I imagine a plane would never be able to hit a power plant.At least this one here,anyway.

I am concerned about another method of attack,which I will not mention here.

4 posted on 02/15/2003 7:30:33 AM PST by quack
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To: quack
duh...Nuclear Plant = nuclear plant
5 posted on 02/15/2003 7:31:16 AM PST by quack
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To: quack

I work at a nuke plant. Its got better security than ever, mandated by the NRC in December 2001, finalized here and elsewhere in Feb 2002. Additional background investigations are being conducted, even on personnel and contractors already working here for years.

Like a cop watching TV police show dramas, or a doctor watching ER, I watch public and media comments on nuclear power itself and power plant security with amusement and frustration. Why would someone choose to attack a place with armed guards when major water supplies, main electrical and fuel lines are unprotected in many places. Of course, I am thinking of overall impact to our nation. Other people probably think that nuclear plants are "meltdowns waiting to happen", or "the China Syndrome", but I do not.

Which brings up a pet peeve... Three Mile Island was almost 30 years(?) ago, wasnt it? Regulations have made changes since then that no one ever hears about. But an accident of that magnitude sure hasn't happened again. And if you worked here, you too would know that the chances are infinitestimal (sp). Anyway, I am less likely to get cancer due to radiation exposure from working here than I would be if I moved from Texas to Denver (the mile-high city). And the accident / mortality rate due to working in the nuclear industry is tiny compared to some of the other similar industries. If something did happen, you would hear about it and you would not ever need your Potassium Iodine pills (preventing absorption of airborne radioactive iodine to your thyroid). I might if I worked at the plant with an accident, but you would not. The thought of it all (the "radioactive plume", the evacuation plans, the state agencies' assistance, etc) is bizarre. It is just part of the evidence of the American public's lack of understanding about the nuclear power industry, which is propagated by the media. Its necessary and important to have emergency plans, I understand that. But its simply not the real world. I guess what I mean is that if they are needed, then things will be really bad, because many of the laws of physics will be broken too.

Finally, the idea of terrorists using the suicide bomber technique on a scale smaller than 9/11 is maybe not realistic either. In Israel, they tried to make automatic weapon attacks work, but they could not because so many people in Israel are armed. An armed gunman would be dead sometimes even before he killed any civilians!! So suicide bombers there are for publicity AND efficiency. But in Washington D.C. where you are suspect if you own a gun, and gun control is legislated, it would be more effective to attack and escape, such as the muslim shooters Muhammed & Malvo. I would think the same principle would apply to infrastructure targets of terrorism such as power plants, and so on. "Better to do some damage, escape and do more damage again later, more glory to Allah," they probably think.

And no, I dont think I am giving anyone any ideas. None of this stuff I am saying is new to anyone who is evil enough to contemplate doing such a thing.

6 posted on 02/15/2003 8:26:38 AM PST by WhyToKay (For Your Info, please consider this.)
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To: WhyToKay
I live 12 miles from the TVA Sequoyah plant, near Chattanooga, TN, and about 23 miles from TVA Watts Bar plant in Spring City, TN. My next door neighbor works at Sequoyah (in the zone) and she says the security has been very tight since 9/11. National Guard troops with Stinger missles on the roof, Bradley's in the parking lots, and intensive searches of the employees daily. My guess is your hypothesis of more likely targets being water supplies, power grid, etc., is far more plausible than terrorists hitting a nuke plant, IMO.
7 posted on 02/15/2003 8:34:31 AM PST by Thermalseeker
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To: foreverfree
11 News I-team reporter Mindy Basara went to Peach Bottom to find out.

Sounds like the WBAL-TV News Director wanted to keep Mindy away from the breaking story about pets needing adoption at Baltimore's animal shelters.

8 posted on 02/15/2003 9:39:21 AM PST by Willie Green (Go Pat Go!!!)
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