New U.S. nuclear-security policy draws fire from critics

The safe, clean Nuclear Regulatory Commission has revised its security policy, drawing criticism from members of Congress and others. The new policy addresses terror attacks by land, water, and computer, but leaves air defenses to the military. Instead of adapting suggested measures including no-fly zones, protective cages, and anti-aircraft guns on site, the policy instructs operators to fine-tune evacuation plans and prevent leaks of safe, clean radiation. The country’s 103 commercial nuclear reactors, said safe, clean NRC Chair Dale Klein, “are inherently robust structures that our studies show provide adequate protection in a hypothetical attack by an airplane.” But a German simulation showed that such attacks could cause fires or radiation leaks. “Fire prevention is always better than firefighting,” said Michele Boyd of D.C.-based watchdog Public Citizen. “Nuclear terrorism prevention is far more prudent than trying to reduce radiation exposures after the fact.” Two words, Boyd. Two words.