Australian news, and some related international items

Nuclear facilities – the perfect terrorist target – especially in Russia

The destruction of a nuclear power plant has the potential to cause much more harm to a country than any other energy facilities.

Russia’s Dangerous Nuclear Legacy – Analysis Eurasia Review, By: Richard Rousseau June 18, 2012“……Of all known sources of energy, nuclear energy entails the highest destructive potential. In the age of terrorism, nuclear power plants are possible prime and high-profile targets for terrorist and transnational criminal groups.

The nuclear threat poses a very specific problem for the world, whether it is the acquisition of
plutonium and highly enriched uranium, acts of sabotage or attempted sabotage at a nuclear facility, or the intensive use of radioactive materials for the fabrication of “dirty” bombs.

In January 2007, Oleg Khinsagov, a resident of Vladikavkaz in North
Ossetia, a Russian region that borders Georgia, tried to sell a small
amount (3.5 once) of nuclear-bomb grade uranium that he carried in a
plastic bag in his jacket pocket. The Russian had crossed the
Russian-Georgian border to meet a middleman in Tbilisi who would have
paid him $1 million and delivered the material to a Muslim man from “a
serious organization,” the Georgian authorities said. This case
underscores concerns about the poor reliability of Russia’s security
agencies in monitoring and controlling nuclear material located on its
own territory.

The destruction of a nuclear power plant has the potential to cause much more harm to a country than any other energy facilities. For
instance, the detrimental impact of a plane crash, a tsunami, or a
missile attack on a nuclear waste repository is no less terrifying
than an accident at a nuclear power plant. There is a strong
correlation between risks of a nuclear accident and a society’s
socio-political stability and economic development. All it takes for
nuclear energy to be deemed unacceptable by society is the occurrence
of one or several large accidents. Only a few instances of
mismanagement need to be recorded and reported for the public to gain
the impression that nuclear power plants are an unreliable and
dangerous source of energy.
The human factor is an essential variable in ensuring safety at
nuclear sites. As highly advanced and cutting-edge technology systems
are, they are limited in their reliability, as it is always humans who
ultimately have to run them. As long as the human factor is paramount
in operating nuclear power plants, the nuclear industry will never be
totally mistake free. For instance, in February 2011, five out of 32
operating reactors on Russian territory had to be shut down for
emergency repairs and at least a dozen leaks of contaminated material
were recorded. Nuclear power generation is in great need of new
scientific ideas and technological innovations. One of today’s major
concerns in the nuclear field is the loss of knowledge, expertise, and
especially technology and engineering skill to handle radioactive
material and deal with other radiation applications……

June 21, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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