7News Investigates: Security at Seabrook Nuclear Plant

Seabrook Station Nuclear Power Plant is one of the 107 nuclear facilities in the country considered to be a potential terrorist target by Homeland Security. Now a long time Seabrook employee has come forward telling 7News he thinks the plant is vulnerable.

“We’re not checking who’s coming on and off the property,” the employee, who asked to not be identified, said.

It seemed like no one was checking on three different days this summer when 7News videotaped cars coming and going through an unmanned employee gate at Seabrook Station.

No one approached the crews and security patrols never passed the area, even with the cameras no one questioned the 7News photographers and reporters.

The employee said it has been nearly a year since there was a person manning the employee entry.

“You’d be able to see where upgrades have been placed in, where defensive positions are, where alarmed fences are at.”

On the fourth visit, an employee driving by our camera did contact security- officers responded in an SUV and questioned our photographer.

“It’s the luck of the draw. I could go on the property and 99 times out of 100 no one would know I was there,” the employee said.

A security expert took a look at the video collected at by 7News.      

 “Was it six jihadists in a Suburban nothing is stopping them from driving all the way through and going to wherever they plan to go,” Anthony Amore said.

Seabrook does man the main gate, and managers say it doesn’t need to post anyone at the employee gate.

“The fact that we may not have at any given time a physical person in a particular security position in no way means that this site is all of a sudden not secure,” Al Griffith said.

Past the checkpoint, in what’s called the protected area, there were metal detectors, check points, plenty of heavily armed guards, surveillance cameras, miles of razor wire surrounding concrete barriers and turret positions.

But in a spot where the public could easily access the property there only appeared to be cameras.

“It doesn’t take a security expert to know that a nuclear power plant is a place that would be an attractive target and would cause unimaginable mayhem and injury,” Amore said.

Officials from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which oversees all nuclear power plants, say Seabrook passed inspection in June, but it did have a “minor security violation” which was deemed classified and not released.

“The kinds of technological breakthroughs that we have in terms of surveillance techniques, in terms of changes that we’ve made to our security. The fact is the outermost access points, the entrance point to the plant, is no longer needed to have 24/7 physical presence,” Griffith said.

But for some the unmanned gate is a troubling signal to anyone who may want to do harm.

“At this point they’re taking away a deterrent,” the employee said.

An unmanned gate may not be the only concern: a recent study initiated by the defense department claims significant security gaps exist at the nation’s nuclear power plants.

The NRC says it disagrees with those findings.

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