Critics Worry Armed Security Makes Nuclear Plants More Dangerous

San Onofre plant (Mark Ralston / AFP / Getty)
Mark Ralston / AFP / Getty

Critics within and without various nuclear agencies and watchdog groups in the U.S. have expressed concern that the “high-powered weaponry” now employed to defend nuclear plants could actually result in harming said facilities.

The concern is that the weapons being used are so powerful that their ammunition could breach doors or walls that have been put in place as final safeguards.

According to the Orange County Register, security personnel assigned to nuclear facilities benefit from a Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) allowance to “possess high-powered weaponry that would otherwise be banned” by state or local laws. Following 9/11, the added firepower was considered a must, but critics now worry a mistake by security personnel could turn a benefit into a curse.

Of particular concern is the steel-piercing ability of some rounds and/or munitions. Nuclear engineers like Dave Lochbaum worry that the introduction of “bigger and badder weapons” at nuclear facilities is an example of overkill that could jeopardize safety instead of guarantee it.

Nuclear facility security managers like Marty Speer–who began managing San Onofre after 9/11–voice concern not over the weaponry itself, but the degree of training that security personnel receive regarding the weaponry. Like Lochbaum, Speer has written to regulatory boards and commissions seeking changes in security but has yet to receive a “meaningful” response, the Register reports.

No information is disclosed on the types of weapons used.

Coupled with questions over what a misplaced shot or accidental discharge could cause at a nuclear facility is fervent concern that the NRC may actually be behind the curve, when it comes to security.

The San Onofre nuclear plant has been decommissioned, but still requires security and management.

AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at


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