TITLE: The Maginot Fallacy: Anti-terrorist Measures in the Nuclear Industry THEORY: Power plants are vulnerable to air attack. (what's wrong and how to fix it)

Essay by ChaosKittenCollege, Undergraduate April 2004

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The Maginot Fallacy:

Anti-terrorist Measures in the Nuclear Industry

Americans love energy. From CD players to TVs to microwaves, the number of electrical devices in everyday life seems endless. Many don't care where the power comes from as long as it is there when wanted. This lack of concern has the potential to become deadly. Nuclear power facilities, some of the nation's leading energy producers, are disturbingly accessible to terrorist attacks; they are especially vulnerable to air attack. These facilities are vulnerable because the no-fly zones are imperfectly enforced, the containment bunkers are crudely considered, the control buildings are inadequately protected, the failsafes are incompletely designed, and the security measures are haphazardly implemented.

Following the attacks of September 11th, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) ordered no-fly zones around the country's hundred-odd nuclear facilities. While legitimate air traffic does adhere to these zones, it is foolish to think that terrorists would be deterred by something like a rule.

A statement from Paul Leventhal, President of the Nuclear Control Institute (NCI) cites specific actions that must be taken in order to enforce the no-fly zones. Specifically, the assignment of a National Guard task force and the provision of anti-aircraft measures are both needed to protect each plant (3-5). He notes, "the French government has deployed anti-aircraft measures" at their facilities since September 11th (3-5). It would also be wise to make preparations at nearby military bases such that their fighter jets may be scrambled at a moment's notice when a zone breach occurs. The government must now consider any such breach to be an act of aggression, and respond accordingly. The responding pilots should issue a warning to the offending aircraft and, if necessary, engage in preventative assault. The attack of the World Trade Centers has shown that terrorists are willing to...