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U.S. Beefs Up Atomic Power Plant Security Rules

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Tuesday ordered atomic power plant operators to further tighten security at the nation’s 103 nuclear reactors to better thwart attacks or sabotage. The changes are part of the NRC’s effort to beef up security at nuclear reactors in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York City and the Pentagon. The NRC said it had approved three security orders, including changes in the so-called design basis threat that private security forces protecting the power plants must be prepared to meet. Details of the changes will not be made public, the NRC said. The other two orders specify work schedules, training and qualifications required of plant security guards who are hired by utilities to protect their facilities. The orders are effective immediately, the NRC said. Some U.S. lawmakers and activist groups are concerned that a Sept. 11-type attack against a nuclear plant could penetrate the reactor or pool where used fuel is stored and spread deadly radioactive materials for miles. Full Story

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