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True Threat Assessment

Question: 

Was the terrorist attack on 11 September 2001 the first time the use of large aircraft was considered as the mode of attack?

Answer:  

No, nuclear power plants since the 1960s have had containment buildings required to withstand an intentional crash of a jetliner into the most sensitive area of the nuclear power plant.

THREATS AND RESPONSES: REACTOR VULNERABILITY;
Experts Say Nuclear Plants Can Survive Jetliner Crash; 

NY Times Article by MATTHEW L. WALD, dated SEPT. 20, 2002

Seeking to counter assertions that the nation's nuclear plants are vulnerable to attacks like the one on the World Trade Center, 19 prominent nuclear experts have concluded that a reactor containment building could easily withstand the force of a jetliner crash.

The 19 experts, many of them retired, work or worked at universities or companies that build or operate reactors. In an article on Friday in the journal Science, they dismiss fears voiced by opponents of nuclear power that the nation's reactors are vulnerable to a terrorist attack.

''We read that airplanes can fly through the reinforced, steel-lined 1.5-meter-thick concrete walls surrounding a nuclear reactor,'' the article says, ''and inevitably cause a meltdown resulting in 'tens of thousands of deaths' and 'make a huge area uninhabitable for centuries,' to quote some recent stories.'' But, they add, ''no airplane regardless of size, can fly through such a wall.”

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In addressing the threat situation such as Active Shooter in schools or businesses, one does not need to solely focus on the last known attack and its methodology. However, during the same threat assessment, one cannot account for all possible attack scenarios. If the top 6 to 10 scenarios were identified and reaction plans were developed for each scenario, some common Tactics, Techniques or Procedures (TTPs) would be found and are repeated in multiple scenarios. The smart plan would include as many of these TTPs as possible based upon cost and time to implement. Also, one must know that these TTPs and plan cannot address all possible events so one must at least consider the smartest plan that offers the greatest protection level.

During recent discussions with a state school board representative, two points were addressed as a confident solution to the Active Shooter event in schools. The first item was mentioned that the Sandy Hook report indicated ‘no Active Shooter had ever entered through a locked door’. There are multiple ways to defeat a locked door, especially with a semi-automatic rifle can easily defeat the door hinges, door frame and the door locks. Some classroom doorway systems have a window as part of the building code. The second item was simply stated that law enforcement would arrive within 3 to 5 minutes. It was mentioned that the “national average response time for law enforcement to these events” is about 11 minutes. The most recent Active Shooter event in that state took 12 minutes and 40 seconds for the first individual to arrive; a volunteer fire fighter, unarmed, that bravely ran onto the playground, tackled the shooter and waited for law enforcement. Primary problem was the first 2 calls were dropped before the 911 operator could get the name of the school.

Depending upon one solution that addresses the last known attack assumes the next attack will be the same without any changes. The best solution is the capability that provides full protection as quickly as possible against multiple scenarios and attack plans.


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