Nuclear plants that are operating in the United States today are vulnerable to attack by jet planes crashing into their reactors.
That alarm is being sounded by Harvey Wasserman, editor of www.NukeFree.org.
Wasserman says, while the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued regulations requiring the builders of new nuclear reactors to explain how their plants might withstand the crash of large commercial jetliners, they've exempted the 104 reactors licensed to operate now.
"Jets hitting any of them," Wasserman writes, "could kill untold thousands of us and render entire regions of our nation permanently uninhabitable."
Wasserman says the scenario he paints is not out of the question. He says the first jet to crash into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 flew directly over two operating reactors at Indian Point, just 45 miles up the Hudson River. Terrorist Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has acknowledged that reactors were originally targeted but they changed their minds "for the moment."
The NRC's Neil Sheehan, Wasserman reports, has also acknowledged that there's been no analysis of what would happen if a 767 crashed into a reactor.
Wasserman also notes that, on some nuclear reactor sites, spent fuel rods are stored in a fashion vulnerable to an even small-scale attack.
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