Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Three-pronged Nuclear Attack

Date:
July 31, 2007
Source:
Inderscience Publishers
Summary:
A trio of security vulnerabilities surrounding the use of nuclear power are highlighted in recent research papers. The first threat is at the source of the raw material for nuclear power itself, the uranium mine, processing plant, and transport route. The second threat is from saboteurs with expertise in the industry and the security of nuclear installations. Finally there are security risks at the waste end of the nuclear industry.

Researchers suggest that nuclear saboteurs could wreak havoc and cause a serious environmental and health threats.
Credit: iStockphoto

A trio of security vulnerabilities surrounding the use of nuclear power are highlighted in recent research papers.

Related Articles


The first threat is at the source of the raw material for nuclear power itself, the uranium mine, processing plant, and transport route. Here, physical protection and security are at a much lower level than at a nuclear installation in the developed world, according to Austrian scientists writing in the International Journal of Nuclear Governance, Economy and Ecology.

The second threat is from saboteurs with expertise in the industry and the security of nuclear installations. Researchers from the US Environmental Protection Agency suggest that such saboteurs on the inside could wreak havoc and cause a serious environmental and health threats with only small, shaped explosives or even no explosives at all.

Finally, at the waste end of the nuclear industry, a second US team point out that the significant quantities of spent radioactive fuel could also represent a security nightmare. The team from environmental health and safety consultants S. Cohen and Associates, in Montgomery Alabama, point out that there is no secure central repository for nuclear waste. Any one of the waste storage or processing plants could be vulnerable to a terrorist attack.

Friedrich Steinhäusler and Lyudmila Zaitseva of the Division of Physics and Biophysics, at the University of Salzburg, Austria, have investigated the potential security threats facing the industry at the initial mining and milling end of the nuclear process. At this point, terrorist or saboteur might intercept highly radioactive material. For instance, terrorists or saboteurs might instigate illegal mining of an officially closed uranium mine or diversion uranium ore from a mine or mill, or more obviously demolition of facilities with the intention of causing environmental harm.

According to the Austrian team, uranium mining took place in almost twenty countries, but 90% of world production is in just ten; seven of these states have been associated with clandestine nuclear activities.

"The current control system is inadequate as it could allow rogue nations or terrorist groups to traffic uranium or enriched yellow cake in at least 24 countries on three continents," say the researchers, "There is a critical need to counter the threats resulting from an uncontrolled acquisition of these radioactive materials in a coordinated manner."

Anthony Honnellio of the Emergency Response Branch OSSR and Stan Rydell of the Pesticides Toxics and Radiation Unit, both divisions of the US Environmental Protection Agency in Boston, realized that have been many reports on nuclear security that focus on terrorist attack from outside. However, they explain that sabotage by individuals with a detailed knowledge of security procedures, plant layout and the functional nature of the critical components of a nuclear power plant, could exploit their knowledge to catastrophic effect.

They speculate that small explosives could be smuggled in as they have been into airports, despite post-9/11 security improvements. Their concerns do not lie only with the effects of an explosion. They suggest that critical damage to facility could cause widespread, long-lasting power outages to devastating effect.

In considering nuclear waste, Edwin Sensintaffar and Charles Phillips of S Cohen and Associates highlight a recent review of security at commercial spent nuclear fuel plants, that suggests various vulnerabilities. A deliberate fire at such a facility could cause widespread radioactive contamination, with serious health and environmental consequences. "The radioactive contamination that could be released into the environment from such an event could contaminate thousands of square kilometers, result in billions of dollars in economic impact and large numbers of both early and latent cancer deaths," the researchers say.

The three papers published in the Inderscience International Journal of Nuclear Governance, Economy and Ecology are as follows:

Vol. 1, No. 3, 2007, p 286 - "Uranium mining and milling: material security and risk assessment" by Friedrich Steinhäusler and Lyudmila Zaitseva

Vol. 1, No. 3, 2007, p 312 - "Sabotage vulnerability of nuclear power plants" by Anthony L. Honnellio and Stan Rydell

Vol. 1, No. 3, 2007, p 278 - "Environmental impact resulting from a fire at a spent nuclear fuel storage facility" by Edwin L. Sensintaffar and Charles R. Phillips


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Inderscience Publishers. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Inderscience Publishers. "Three-pronged Nuclear Attack." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 July 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070725143452.htm>.
Inderscience Publishers. (2007, July 31). Three-pronged Nuclear Attack. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070725143452.htm
Inderscience Publishers. "Three-pronged Nuclear Attack." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070725143452.htm (accessed November 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

NASA's First 3-D Printer In Space Creates Its First Object

NASA's First 3-D Printer In Space Creates Its First Object

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) — The International Space Station is now using a proof-of-concept 3D printer to test additive printing in a weightless, isolated environment. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — Innovative recycling project in La Paz separates city waste and converts plastic garbage into school furniture made from 'plastiwood'. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blu-Ray Discs Getting Second Run As Solar Panels

Blu-Ray Discs Getting Second Run As Solar Panels

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) — Researchers at Northwestern University are repurposing Blu-ray movies for better solar panel technology thanks to the discs' internal structures. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) — Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins