- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 4, 2004


The government will no longer reveal security gaps discovered at nuclear-power plants, hoping to prevent terrorists from using the information, regulators said yesterday.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced the change in policy during its first public meeting on power-plant safety since the September 11, 2001, attacks.

Until now, the NRC has provided regular public updates on vulnerabilities its inspectors found at the country’s 103 nuclear-power reactors, such as broken fences or weaknesses in training programs.

“We need to blacken some of our processes so that our adversaries won’t have that information,” said Roy Zimmerman, director of the commission’s Office of Nuclear Security and Incident Response, which was created after the attacks.

NRC spokesman Scott Burnell said commissioners voted to take the step March 29, but kept it quiet as agency staff worked to implementit.

“We deliberated for many months on finding the balance between the NRC’s commitment to openness and the concern that sensitive information might be misused by those who wish us harm,” commission Chairman Nils Diaz said.

Michele Boyd, a lobbyist for the consumer group Public Citizen, said they failed to strike that balance.

“The public has zero confidence in NRC, and making this information completely out of the public, not available, does not bring any more confidence,” she told the commission. “The commission could have come up with more creative ways of making the information public.”

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