nuclear security

Kennedy: Bush Policy Has Increased the Threat of a Nuclear 9/11 Dramatically
nuclear security

AP: "The Bush administration's failure to shut down al-Qaida and rebuild Iraq have fueled the insurgency and made the United States more vulnerable to a nuclear attack by terrorists, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy said Sunday. In a speech prepared for delivery at George Washington University on Monday, Kennedy said that by shifting attention from Osama bin Laden to Iraq, Bush has increased the danger of a 'nuclear 9/11.' 'The war in Iraq has made the mushroom cloud more likely, not less likely,' he said in the remarks released late Sunday," adding that he thought "it was a good thing Bush was not in charge during the Cuban missile crisis, one of the darker periods of his late brother's John Kennedy's time as president. " Amen to that!

Bush Lifts Nuclear Ban on India
nuclear security

If you have half a brain, what would you do to retain the good will of your one and only real ally in a war torn region where you are getting pounded? A. Provide your ally with plenty of humanitarian aid, B. Act as a peace broker between your ally and their enemies. C. Sell nuclear equipment to your ally's traditional enemy right after they've worked out a tenuous peace, a few years after said traditional enemy engaged in a nuclear-threat showdown with your ally. If you guessed A or B, then you have half a brain. But as Bush does not, the correct answer is C: In an effort to "buy" the continued "friendship" of his dwindling number of allies, Bush plans to sell nuclear equipment to India, thereby spitting in ally Pakistan's face. India of course "promised" not to misuse the stuff. Yeah, right. Btw, as to A and B - Bush has done neither. With friends like him, Pakistan doesn't need any new enemies - he's arming the old ones.

Instead of Making Nuke Plants Safer, Bush Simply Sought to Hide the Danger from the Public
nuclear security

Public Citizen:" "The government infringed on the public's right to know by violating rulemaking procedures when it revised its security regulations for nuclear power plants without notifying the public or providing an opportunity for public comment, said Public Citizen. 'After taking almost a year and a half following the 9/11 terrorist attacks to even consider upgrading the force-on-force security requirements, the NRC rushed the process by bypassing the public altogether' said Wenonah Hauter, director of Public Citizen's Critical Mass Energy and Environment Program. 'This failure is not only contrary to principles of open, democratic government and the NRC's own promises, but ultimately makes plants less secure by limiting the input and ideas received in crafting such important regulations' "

Nuclear Weapons Data Missing from Los Alamos
nuclear security

AP via Bloomberg: "A nationwide inventory by the U.S. Department of Energy has found that data involving nuclear weapons is missing from a regional office in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Bryan Wilkes, a spokesman for the department's National Nuclear Security Administration, said three copies of a single ``controlled removable electronic media'' are unaccounted for. All classified work involving the computer data-storage devices has been halted at the Albuquerque offic, citing Linton Brooks, administrator at the National Nuclear Security Administration, which operates the facility. The inventory was ordered a month ago after two data devices were reported missing at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, which is also in New Mexico. Almost all the work at that lab was shut down and 23 employees were suspended. "

Bush Again Uses his All-Purpose 'National Security' Excuse - This time to Hide Nuclear Security Failures from the Public
nuclear security

In recent weeks, it was revealed that not only has Bush done NOTHING since 9/11 to make nuke plants safer from terrorist attacks - he has made them LESS SAFE! Like reducing fire safeguards to a primitive system of having workers run through burning halls turning off equipment (we're not making this up! See http://www.progressive.org/august04/cusac0804.html). So what is the Bush solution to this failure? The day after the fire safeguard reduction story broke, he invokes "national security" as an excuse not to let the public know when nuclear security has failed - even if said public happens to live within ground zero of a plant! UNBELIEVABLE! Also on the list of things kept "secret" in the name of "national security": Cheney's energy task force list; evidence of high-level complicity in Abu Ghraib-style prisoner abuse; the real sources of dubious "terror alerts," and all of the Bush-damning info left OUT of the 9/11 commission report. Pretty convenient little system, eh?

Thanks to Bush, Nuclear Plants Now Have Poorer Fire Prevention Safeguards than They Did Before 9/11
nuclear security

Anne-Marie Cusac writes: "On June 16, the commission charged with investigating the events of September 11 announced that Al Qaeda's early attack plans had included 'unidentified nuclear power plants.' You might think the Bush Administration would respond by doing all it could to prevent a terrorist-triggered disaster at these plants. Think again. Bush is actually relaxing the fire safeguards there. Instead of insisting that the plants have heat-protected mechanical systems in place that will shut down reactors automatically in case of fire, which is the current standard, Bush wants 'workers to run through the plants and try to turn off the reactors by hand while parts of the facilities are engulfed in flames.' "

Bush's Visit to Oak Ridge Lab was Smokescreen to Divert Attention from Nuclear Security Breach at Sister Lab
nuclear security

How stupid does Bush think the media is? Well, as stupid as they apparently are. Oak Ridge Lab and Los Alamos Lab are sister national laboratories that deal with, among other things, nuclear research. Under Bush, nuclear security has been abysmal. Now check out this corporate style bit of flimflam: On July 12, Bush visited Oak Ridge and had a much-played photo op showing the "secure storage" of Libyan nuke materials. Little did the public suspect, then, all eyes directed to Oak Ridge, that at Los Alamos, on July 7, two high-security storage disks turned up missing, leading to a "stand down" of all classified work. But the security breach was not revealed until 2 days AFTER Bush's Oak Ridge visit - "for security reasons". Yeah - so Bush could secure a good PR smokescreen first.

Hypocrisy of Bush is Increasing Nuclear Danger around World
nuclear security

Boston Globe: "Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency says nuclear powers pressuring countries like Iran and North Korea to forgo nuclear arms are clinging to the weapons as the centerpiece of their own security, despite pledges more than 30 years ago to reduce their dependence on them. The time is long overdue to "abandon the unworkable notion that it is morally reprehensible for some countries to pursue nuclear weapons but morally acceptable for others to rely on them," ElBaradei said. ElBaradei said. Bush's search "for a new class of nuclear weapons is a prime example of this double standard, which some specialists say deepens desires by other countries to join the club of nuclear powers. 'If such efforts proceed, it is hard to understand how we can continue to ask the nuclear have-nots to accept additional nonproliferation obligations and to renounce any sensitive nuclear capability as being adverse to their security.'"

Bush Admin. Vows to Rid World of Dirty Nukes - But Has Yet to Secure US Plants
nuclear security

This week the Bush DOE's Spencer Abraham announced that $450 million in taxpayer dollars would be used insure that nuclear materials were kept out of terrorist hands - and thus would never, supposedly, become a "dirty nuke." Although playing nuclear policeman to the world may sound impressive as a PR sound/video/print byte, it is, in reality, nearly a sick joke. Why? Because so far, the Bush administration has failed to make the US's own 100-plus nuclear reactors safe from even the most modest terrorist incursion, has promoted the cross-country transport of high-level wastes to Yucca Mountain (dramatically increasing the risk of an "incident") and in Feb. relaxed inspection rules for nuke plants. For more background see http://www.newsinsider.org/seal/playing_with_nuclear.html and

New Israeli Moving Van Incident
nuclear security

For the second time in the past two weeks Israelis in a moving van have been detained near a U.S. nuclear facility, this time at the Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base near St. Marys, GA., near Sea Island, host of the G-8 Summit next month... Two Israeli men attempted to enter the base about 10:30 a.m., on the pretext that that had been hired by a moving-and-storage company to pick up household goods at an address on the base, the paper reported. Last week there was another incident of Israelis, a moving van, and suspicious activity near a nuclear facility in North Carolina.

Spencer Abraham Proposes Safety Rules for Nukes - Three Years AFTER 9/11
nuclear security

AP: "After a rash of security lapses, the Energy Department is looking to create an elite force of federal guards to protect plutonium and weapons-usable uranium from terrorists, while also preparing plans to move some of the material to more secure areas. DOE's Spencer Abraham outlined a sweeping set of proposals to increase security at nearly a dozen government facilities that hold highly radioactive material that could be used to fashion a crude nuclear device. These materials 'must not be allowed to fall into the wrong hands,' declared Abraham." It's a speech that is 3 years overdue and only being made now because it is an election year. Security at US reactors is abysmal and has not been-upgraded after repeated demands by nuclear watchdog groups and researchers. Abraham lied to his audience, falsely telling them that security lapses at reactors are "rare." (see http://www.thebulletin.org/issues/2002/jf02/jf02brian.html)

Nuke Watchdog Skeptical of Bush Administration Pledge to Upgrade Nuke Security
nuclear security

Today, after being urged for three years to upgrade security at nuclear reactors, the Bush administration finally got around to making recommendations for improvements. Spencer Abraham's shopping list of promises sounded good, but, says Danielle Brian, executive director of the Project for Government Oversight, "The agency and its contractors have a long history of stonewalling security reforms. We look forward to ensuring the Department implements Abraham's initiatives." Brian's skepticism is well-founded: in 2001 and 2002, the NRDC pledged to address the nuke security issue...and then did nothing.

Security at US Nuke Reactors Remains Abysmal
nuclear security

Nuclear Policy expert Daniel Hirsch wrote in Jan, 2002, that even after 9/11, security at nuclear reactors remained pathetic. The NRC required "operators to protect against no more than a single insider and/or three external attackers, acting as a single team, wielding no more than hand-held automatic weapons." When the NRC was asked to upgrade rules and require protections against boat and airplane attacks and require full security protection of spent fuel storage pools and dry cask storage, "The NRC response was business as usual. The agency is continually reviewing the DBT, we were told, just as we have been told for the last 17 years. But no improvements were promised and none has been made." And that remains true in 2004.