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All U.S. nuclear reactors vulnerable to terrorism, probe finds

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nuclear reactorAll 107 nuclear reactors in the United States are inadequately protected from terrorist attacks, according to a Defense Department-commissioned report released Thursday.

The report, by the Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Project at the University of Texas at Austin, warns that the current security required of civilian-operated reactors fails to safeguard against airplane attacks, rocket-propelled grenades and more than a small handful of attackers.

The research highlights the 11 most vulnerable reactors, including plants near Southport, N.C., Port St. Lucie, Fla., Columbia, Mo., and Gaithersburg, Md., less than 25 miles from the White House. It doesn’t mention the specific security plans for each plant because they aren’t publicly available and the report doesn’t contain classified material. Instead, it highlights the broader regulations that would apply to each type of plant.

“There are 104 nuclear power reactors and three research reactors, none of which are protected against a 9/11-style terrorist attack,” Alan J. Kuperman, an associate professor at the university who co-authored the report, said during a conference call Thursday.

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