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Security Power Technology

Security At Nuclear Facilities: Danger Likely Lurks From Within 72

mdsolar (1045926) sends this excerpt from the Stanford Report: "Insider threats are the most serious challenge confronting nuclear facilities in today's world, a Stanford political scientist says. In every case of theft of nuclear materials where the circumstances of the theft are known, the perpetrators were either insiders or had help from insiders, according to Scott Sagan and his co-author, Matthew Bunn of Harvard University, in a research paper published this month by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. 'Given that the other cases involve bulk material stolen covertly without anyone being aware the material was missing, there is every reason to believe that they were perpetrated by insiders as well,' they wrote. And theft is not the only danger facing facility operators; sabotage is a risk as well ... While there have been sabotage attempts in the United States and elsewhere against nuclear facilities conducted by insiders, the truth may be hard to decipher in an industry shrouded in security, [Sagan] said. The most recent known example occurred in 2012 – an apparent insider sabotage of a diesel generator at the San Onofre nuclear facility in California. Arguably the most spectacular incident happened at South Africa's Koeberg nuclear power plant (then under construction) in South Africa in 1982 when someone detonated explosives directly on a nuclear reactor."
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Security At Nuclear Facilities: Danger Likely Lurks From Within

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  • No kidding (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 26, 2014 @04:17PM (#46849387)

    The most serious security threat facing anything is the insider threat. Retail theft, copyright infringement from the movie/publishing industries, keeping trade secrets, etc.

  • by iggymanz ( 596061 ) on Saturday April 26, 2014 @04:35PM (#46849451)

    that's the best example they could come up with for the USA in the past few decades? Let me tell you about that incident, it was found that some dumb-ass had poured engine coolant into the oil tank. "Suspected Possible Sabotage" read the headlines, but smart money would be on stupid mistake as that would not have caused damage to reactor even if generators needed, it was part of redundant set which is required in USA.

    Sabotage at nuke plants is largely a non-issue, too hard to make something bad happen. Worst case you'd trip the reactor offline and make the shareholders angry at the lost power generating time.

  • You die. Seriously, the stuff that's radioactive enough to make a dirty bomb is radioactive enough to kill you before you get offsite. New fuel (less than 5% enriched uranium) is not particularly radioactive. It's perfectly safe to stand next to it; to inspect it before you put it in the nuclear reactor. On the other hand, spent fuel is incredibly radioactive, and when it's being handled it's kept under 30' of water so it doesn't kill everyone in the building.

    Now, let's assume you had access to the fuel long enough to get it out of the pool. You would receive a lethal dose of radiation in 36 seconds; enough to kill you within a month. Even if death doesn't come for weeks, you would be rapidly debilitated- which of course would leave you immobile next to something giving off massive amounts of radiation, so I imagine you'd be dead-dead within a half hour. Probably much less.

    Now, there is spent fuel that's had several years to decay sitting in dry storage on most nuclear sites, but they're kept in casks and bunkers which are so robust, you're not going to be able to steal or breach them in less time than it takes for three states worth of Law Enforcement and FBI to come crashing down on your party.

    That fuel in dry storage would still kill you, but it would take longer.

In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982