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By all accounts, Calvert Cliffs is prepared for terrorist attacks

[ Return To Senator Roy Dyson's Newsletter ]

Posted on September 27, 2001:

Senator Dyson At opening ceremonies of the St. Mary’s County Fair Sept. 20, we prayed and held a “moment of silence” for the dead, their loved ones and the rescue personnel still devoting incredibly long hours to the cleanup efforts at the World Trade Center in New York City and at the Pentagon.

Afterwards, I was approached by a surprisingly large number of people who were deeply concerned about our security in Southern Maryland in light of these horrific acts of unprecedented terrorism committed on our nation’s soil. Most were casting a bird’s eye view towards the direction of the Patuxent River into Calvert County and the Calvert Cliff’s Nuclear Power Plant.

These people wondered if one of the world’s tallest buildings could be completely destroyed and the world’s largest office building be severely wounded, why couldn’t Calvert Cliff’s be a target as well? As the crow flies, Calvert Cliffs is less than 50 miles from the Pentagon.

Make no mistake, terrorists know where every nuclear power plant is located in this country and throughout the world.

Had it not been for what appears to be one of the greatest, most unheralded act of heroism by a group of passengers who by all reports gave up their own lives to ground the fourth airplane setting out to attack a major U.S. installation in Pennsylvania, who knows where that flight’s destination was? The U.S. Capitol? The White House? Perhaps. These terrorists wanted to send a message and create massive destruction. They succeeded in doing both. Who knows if that doomed Pennsylvania flight didn’t have set its sights set on Calvert Cliffs. What would have the damage been like had they flown into that plant.

The answer, according to safety officials at Calvert Cliffs: Negligible.

Unlike the glass twin towers of the World Trade Center, Calvert Cliffs is well protected from the threat of such terrorist attacks. Each nuclear reactor is protected by a four foot thick steel reinforced containment building as well as numerous backup system, cooling pumps, cooling systems for reactors and several back-up operations.

I have been assured that Calvert Cliffs has also been in daily contact with local, state and federal agencies to make sure the plant is taking the appropriate actions to protect the facility and the people of Southern Maryland. These agencies include the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Maryland and Federal Emergency Management agencies and of course the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The NRC and Calvert Cliffs are in contact on a consistent basis throughout the day, day in and day out.

I plan to set up a meeting in the next few days with the nuclear safety experts at Calvert Cliffs to discuss the specifics of these meetings and conversations with the above-mentioned agencies regarding this situation.

Calvert Cliffs has been a wonderful neighbor to Southern Maryland. It has provided Calvert County enormous tax revenue that has helped build one of the finest school systems in the state. It has also contributed to numerous charitable and civic causes throughout Southern Maryland.

But there is no doubt that we have also harbored a bit of trepidation regarding this fine neighbor simply because of the product they produce there.

After talking with officials at Calvert Cliffs, I have been assured that the plant is indeed safe from the threat of a terrorist attack. Well before September 11, 2001, this facility has considered every possible scenario regarding terrorism -- including the fear of a jetliner crashing into its containment buildings.

We now know that we are not 100 percent safe anywhere we go. This country changed forever that Tuesday. Our fellow countrymen, including myself, are still in shock and mourning. But be rest assured, Calvert Cliffs is a top-flight operation whose security capabilities are constantly being monitored.

[ Return To Senator Roy Dyson's Newsletter ]

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