Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

March 26, 2012

Nuclear Security Summit

Filed under: Radiological & Nuclear Threats — by Arnold Bogis on March 26, 2012

The big national security event this week is the Nuclear Security Summit being held in South Korea. A few stories and opinion pieces have made the funny papers in the run up to the event.  Unfortunately, for such a serious issue there has not been an equal amount of attention paid.  I understand that those who do not believe in the nuclear terrorism threat will feel justified, but that ground has already been covered in depth on this blog.

Instead, for those interested I’d just like to point out a link that provide background information I feel is useful going into the Summit:

Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs has set up a website that includes a threat briefing, scorecard, Q&A, and more: http://www.nuclearsummit.org/

What I personally hope for is some attention paid to the idea that increased investment in recovery can help counter both the intentional radiological threat and nuclear accident issues: http://www.hlswatch.com/2011/03/06/dealing-with-dirty-bombs/


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1 Comment »

Comment by William R. Cumming

March 26, 2012 @ 8:34 am

Terrific post because this summit is extremely important. And not just recovery but response is rather ad hoc at the moment. Let’s just take one arena–atmospheric modeling–used to determine areas of potential or likely contamination. The NRC used its RASCAL system to model FUKISHIMA and tell DoD and the American Ambassador in Japan to create a fifty [50] mile [not fifty kliks]evacuation zone based on its modeling. The Japanese used 20 kilometer [12 mile] evacuation zone. And still does.

To my knowledge that recommendation still stands. There is confusion as to exactly how and why the US adopted a 10 mile EPZ and 50 mile Ingestion Pathway Zone around its nuclear power plants. This is the zone tested by exercise by FEMA and other Departments and agencies. Virtually no planning or effort has been made beyond these zones or even considered by the NRC or STATES and their local governments.

FEMA has now published a RAND study of the effect of a NUDET in Washington DC of a 10 kiloton device. So far that has not energized regional planning in DC area which is the only zone for which specialized planning staff in FEMA was created. Each day that goes by makes for more and more transportation dependent citizens and residents in the USA major cities. 80% of NOLO citizens and residents did evacuate in Hurricane Katrina and based on old civil defense guidance and FEMA/NRC guidance in NUREG 0654 this would be considered a success. Of course over 1300 died in Katrina, most transportation dependent, yet FEMA, and the STATES and LOCALS have not addressed transportation dependency in their guidance.

As to recovery, EPA is responsible for both developing, restricting access, and operating a large contaminated area under US guidance. Including eventually recovery and reentry. Yet the EPA staffing and funding for this effort is largely non-existent and almost totally untested under the scenarios used even in national level exercises, often because they terminate before the huge issues raised are addressed.

All repeat, all federal data and analysis collected and created on FUKISHIMA should be declassified as a matter of law. This data would be of critical importance to issues being discussed at the Nuclear Security Summit now or in the future. Remember, Carl Sagan’s and others effort to document so called “Nuclear Winter” in SCIENCE Mag and elsewhere was the subject of an attempt by the US government to classify it and prevent public release.

As I have stated before on this blog, and many will disagree, perhaps even contradicted by events later, FUKISHMA is the largest contamination event in world history so far, and probably the rest of this century. With another nuclear power plant going off-status in Japan, and unknown whether any will ever restart, that fact alone indicates the significance of this catastrophic event. And the Japanese and the world still have not gotten accurate data from past, present, or even is likely in the future.

The UN and USA are more than willing to display military might, but deployment and utilization of technical might seems far in the future.

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