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Mon, Nov 01, 2004

RFK, Jr. Blasts Lack Of Air Security Over Nuke Site

Wants AAA, Combat Patrols -- SOMETHING -- Done About Indian Point

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., son of the US Senator gunned down in Los Angeles during a presidential campaign stop in 1968, says the Bush administration lied when it claimed to be doing everything it could be doing to "harden terrorist targets."

In an editorial published in New York Newsday, Kennedy, a lawyer specializing in the environment, is most concerned about the vulnerability of the Indian Point nuclear power station, just 24 miles from the heart of New York City.

Decrying regulation-by-industry, Kennedy wrote in his Op-Ed piece for Newsday:

...Indian Point still lacks robust security and defense mechanisms to thwart a terrorist attack: There is no no-fly zone. No combat patrols. No anti-aircraft defense. No containment structure over the spent fuel pools. And it has still not been proven that the containment domes over the reactors could withstand the impact of a large airplane or smaller plane loaded with explosives. In fact, in 1982 the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's own Atomic Safety and Licensing Board determined that reactor owners "are not required to design against such things... as kamikaze dives by large airplanes. Reactors could not be effectively protected against such attacks without turning them into virtually impregnable fortresses at much higher cost." In a post-9/11 world, this is a serious problem that should be addressed by President Bush, the Department of Homeland Security and the NRC.

Internal reports by Entergy, which owns and operates Indian Point, show that the plant's private security force is poorly armed, poorly trained and badly demoralized. The GAO found that the federal government deliberately stages softball mock attacks of the facilities to bamboozle the public into believing that Indian Point's anemic defenses are adequate. The Bush administration has resisted efforts by Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) to federalize plant security.

Kennedy's editorial goes on to suggest that Democrat-for-President John Kerry would address these issues if he gains the White House.

AOPA executives say they're studying Kennedy's argument and expect to have a response later in the week.

FMI: www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/nuclear/page/at_a_glance/reactors/in_point.html

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