2005 July 19
To the Editor,
The Toronto Star:
The article "Is Toronto prepared for a terrorist attack"
(2005 July 16) overstates the public risk from a terrorist
attack at a nuclear power station.
Following the 911 attacks, numerous studies have suggested
the obvious: that nuclear stations are among the most
hardened facilities constructed, that even hitting a nuclear
plant with a plane is a monumental challenge given a typical
station's low profile and compact size, and that, should a
plane succeed in crashing into a power reactor facility,
numerous factors ensure that "the likelihood of such a scenario
damaging the reactor core and releasing radioactivity that
could affect public health and safety is low" (to quote the
US Nuclear Regulatory Commission's website, www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/fact-sheets/security-en hancements.html).
It is certainly plausible that a nuclear power plant could be disabled with significant on-site casualties, but the significant risk to the public remains that caused by the psychological stress that results from the dissemination of inaccurate articles like your own. References to "ready-made weapons of mass destruction" and "untold numbers of citizens" dying in the "explosion" are misleading and unfair to your readers.