June 1, 2005- Reps. Markey, Tierney Investigate Additional Seabrook Security Woes

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Representative Edward J. Markey (D-MA), a senior Member of the Homeland Security Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the panel which oversees the regulation of nuclear reactors, and Representative John F. Tierney (D-MA) the only New England member on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, today released a second letter to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) regarding serious security problems at the Seabrook nuclear power plant.

“Last week I learned that the security fence at Seabrook has been broken for months,” said Rep. Markey. “Now it turns out that this is just the tip of the iceberg. The fence is broken, the security cameras don’t work, and some required security analysis hasn’t even been performed. It seems the plant motto is ‘see no evil, hear no evil, maybe no evil exists.”

A document numbered “CR 05-06261” that details the results of a Root Cause Evaluation performed at the reactor by the NRC was obtained by Rep. Markey’s office (and cannot be released so as to protect the identity of the Seabrook employee who made it available), and indicates that the security issues at the reactor site extend beyond the perimeter intrusion detection system malfunction disclosed last week.

The document both verifies the extensive problems with the perimeter intrusion detection system that were disclosed last week, and also indicates that the NRC discovered numerous other problems as well. For example, it appears as though there were significant problems with the systems used to record video of the reactor perimeter, such as inadequate camera coverage and fiber cable failures that resulted in no video signals being sent. Evidently, neither the security fence nor the camera system was found to be operable, meaning therefore that reactor officials would have no way of knowing whether an attacker was trying to penetrate the facility until the attacker was encountered by a member of the security guard forces. Other problems detailed in the document also indicate that security analysis required to be performed as part of the post-9/11 security upgrades had not been conducted.

“In light of the most recent developments, it is critical that the NRC take immediate action to protect public safety. The NRC has been fully informed of the inadequate security at the power plant and nothing short of immediate action on its part will be acceptable,” adds Rep. Tierney.

The Congressmen’s letter requested information about the problems noted in the report as well as the compensatory measures required to remedy them.

For a copy of the Congressmen’s letter or more information regarding Rep. Markey’s or Rep. Tierney’s other work in the area of nuclear reactor security, please see www.house.gov/markey or www.house.gov/tierney.

Copy of Letter to NRC Copy of Letter to NRC, June 1, 2005

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 1, 2005
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 Michal Freedhoff
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