Monday, January 29, 2007

Continuing to Live with Unconnected Dots

Maddy Sauer has released a report on The Blotter to remind us that things have not changed very much since 9/10/2001:

Despite a recommendation from Congress, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) voted today not to upgrade security measures at the nation's nuclear power plants to protect against a 9/11-style attack from hijacked aircrafts.

The NRC ruled today that while the threat of an attack by air is real, it is not the NRC's responsibility to protect the plants. The commission said that military weapons would be required in order to protect the plants, and thus "the airborne threat is one that is beyond what a private security force can reasonably be expected to defend against."

If, as the reports have persuaded us to believe, the tragedy of 9/11 was a consequence, at least in part, of not-my-job denial of responsibility, then, in the words of Twin Peaks, "It is happening again." This time the question seems to be who is responsible for the security of our nuclear power plants, particularly as it involves protection from deliberately destructive measures. The NRC seems to be implying that this is the responsibility of the military, since protection can only be provided by military weapons. This premise if questionable, at best, since the prospect of military weapons being fired anywhere near a nuclear power plant is too chilling to contemplate. Rather, the NRC is trying to cover up with language the premise that, as far as they are concerned, the security of the facility does not fall under their rubric for "regulation." So, while Congress has tried to step up to the plate and see to the people's business in the matter of one of the scarier worst-case scenarios we can imagine, the NRC has decided that the best response is: "Go bother somebody else." Does this language sound familiar? Whatever Marx may have said for the sake of rhetoric, this time the second time around is going to be about as far away from farce as we can get!

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