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The Vulnerability of the System Exposed

The problem with protecting our nuclear plants and fuels is that we are vulnerable on multiple fronts and with each new step of the technology we need newer methods of protection. Our nuclear facilities can be attacked both physically and virtually. With us relying on technology as much as today, cybernetic attacks are just as terrifying as full scale terrorist strikes.

Soviet television purports to show the damage to the Chernobyl nuclear plant after the accident near Kiev in the Ukraine, April 30, 1986. Monitored on CNN in New York, a portion of the photo, right, was enhanced to clarify the damage.

The physical vulnerability of a facility in Sweden was exposed in 2012. A group of harmless Greenpeace enthusiasts sneaked on the territory of the plant by cutting a hole in the fence and spend a night on the roof of the facility. Literally no one noticed and/or try to prevent this. Imagine if it was a group of dangerous criminals with enough knowledge to jeopardize the facility!

5 years later, and the Sweden government decided to enforce new rules including a requirement to have trained armed guards and mandatory security measures installed in all facilities working with nuclear materials. It took half a decade to factually address the issue.

Greenpeace is an organization that actually embraces all sorts of people and some of them a radical and want to show the world that it is not protected by governments. There were multiple incidents like in Sweden all over Europe throughout the last decade. In 2014, an army of flying drones was spotted over the NPP in France. Drones hovered for a long time and disappeared just as mysteriously. Then, a group of enthusiasts sneaked on the territory of the NPP in Fessenheim, Germany. They only left a sign after them.

However, the real talk did not start up until a tragic incident in Brussels. There were frightening reports of government officials spending time with suspected terrorists and even incidents that could be dangerous. For example, an employee of an NPP in Belgium used a simple lubricant to completely mess up the turbine and stop the reactor from working for over 5 months.

Taking such incidents seriously is the only way to ensure that we can prevent them from happening in the future.