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Nuclear 9/11

By Duane Thresher, Ph.D.          September 11, 2021

Today is the 20th anniversary of 9/11. Two years ago I wrote 9/11 Was Due to IT Incompetence, by the U.S. Government, specifically the NSA and CIA, and predicted another mega national security disaster around 10 years after the last, the hacking of the NSA and CIA by Edward Snowden, which was about 10 years after mega national security disaster 9/11. The U.S. Government, and the companies who actually do the U.S. Government's jobs, are incompetent and generals always fight the last war, so their predicting the next possible mega national security disaster is impossible. However, the recent Colonial Pipeline cyberattack by Russia clearly indicates, to non-incompetents, that the next possible mega national security disaster will be via IT. There has been talk of hacking into airliner flight controls and crashing the planes into targets, but again, that is fighting the last war and is actually trivial compared to what can be done — hacking into and forcing the meltdown of nuclear power plants near major cities (all are), about which I have written in Ransomwared Nuclear Power Plants Upwind of Major U.S. Cities. 3000 died in 9/11, but a forced meltdown of a single nuclear power plant would multiply that by 10 or 100 or more, making it a giga national security disaster, and dying from radiation sickness is one of the most horrible ways to die. Speaking of anniversaries and catastrophic nuclear power plant meltdowns, this year is the 35th anniversary of Chernobyl (1986), which the Russians would love to prove is a disaster that can't only happen to them. Apscitu can fight to protect America from a nuclear 9/11.

Before I explain about the forced meltdown of nuclear power plants, note my credentials to do so. I took a course in strategic nuclear war, particularly mathematically modeling one, when I was at MIT getting my B.S. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. This required learning about radioactive fallout and the effects of radiation on humans; I also have experience with radiation measurement equipment like Geiger counters and dosimeters. Later I did climate modeling on supercomputers. This required doing graduate work in meteorology, which is what you need to know for fallout. Finally, I was living and working in Manhattan on September 11, 2001 and the first airliner came low over my apartment building and shook me out of bed before crashing into a World Trade Center tower, which I had been to the top of many times.

An inherently-safe foolproof nuclear power plant — i.e. even incompetents can run it — has yet to be designed, despite decades of engineers trying, which probably means it is impossible (see also artificial intelligence and fusion in Artificial Intelligence: Savior, Antichrist, or Hyperbole?).

A nuclear power plant has one or more nuclear reactors. Each reactor is a large cylindrical vessel filled with water under pressure via an external cooling system (part of the power turbine system). Inside the vessel there are hundreds or thousands of metal (zirconium) tubes filled with uranium dioxide. The uranium is a mixture of U-235, which when hit by neutrons will fission and emit heat and more neutrons, causing a self-sustaining chain reaction, and U-238, which does not do this. Natural uranium contains less than 0.7% U-235 and must be refined up to 3% U-235 to be used in a nuclear reactor. Bomb grade uranium must be more than 90% U-235, which is why a nuclear reactor can't explode like a nuclear bomb.

Also in the reactor vessel are boron control rods that when lowered among the uranium tubes absorb neutrons and stop the chain reaction.

Being part of the highly radioactive reactor, the cooling system and the control rods must be controlled remotely, via a network. If the control rods are kept up and the cooling system is shut down, the uranium can become hot enough to melt itself, i.e. a meltdown, going through the tubes, the reactor vessel, the iconic containment dome the vessel is in, and the ground underneath, metaphorically all the way to China, i.e. the China Syndrome. Along the way there will be a series of explosions that spread the radioactive uranium and its radioactive fission byproducts: the pressurized reactor vessel blowing apart, the surrounding containment dome blowing apart, and the white-hot uranium hitting groundwater or a nearby body of water, which there always is since they are necessary for the cooling system.

Once in the atmosphere, these radioactive particles will be carried by the wind before they fall out. Much fallout will be over major cities because nuclear power plants are built near those cities to provide electricity for them — power loss due to long transmission distance is a big problem (it's why room temperature superconductors would have been such an important discovery if they actually existed, which despite the media hype they don't).

Even if nearness to major cities were not the case, winds can quickly carry radioactive particles long distances. While there are prevailing winds — mostly to the east in the United States — even in a single day the winds over a nuclear power plant can blow in every direction. Radioactive particles from Chernobyl were quickly carried all over Europe. For example, a day or so after the accident started, a nuclear power plant near Stockholm Sweden, 700 miles away to the northwest, was evacuated because the fallout from Chernobyl made them believe they had had an accident.

During Chernobyl the Russian government seriously considered implementing a medically-advised evacuation radius of 150 miles, which would have included Kiev, a city of 2.5 million people at the time. The only reason they didn't evacuate to this radius was that logistical difficulty and appearances were more important to them than the safety of their own people (sound familiar?). As it was, they evacuated to 20 miles. Most nuclear power plants in the U.S., if they really plan at all, plan for an evacuation radius of 10 miles or less.

(Actually, Kiev was de facto evacuated after the Chernobyl meltdown. That is, in the communist Russia of 1986, residents were not allowed to travel without government permission, but as radiation levels rose in Kiev, many left without explicit government permission but with its tacit approval, and even help. Later, over 360,000 children under the age of thirteen, and tens of thousands of nursing and pregnant women, were officially evacuated from Kiev.)

Most nuclear power plants in the U.S. are in the East and most of these are in the densely populated East Coast, near — within 150 miles — major cities as described. These are thus perfect military targets, just like Colonial Pipeline was, since it provided fuel to the East Coast; see U.S. Surrenders in IT War, Starts Paying Tribute to Russia.

Radiation, with respect to its effect on humans, i.e. dosage, is measured in rem (= .01 sievert, the unit of the metric system, which is just the French, angry over not being a world power or language, converting useful units into awkward French-named units and trying to force them on the world). An average annual dose from background radiation is about 0.3 rem.

Radiation exposure from a nuclear power plant meltdown will be much higher in a much shorter period of time. A dose of around 100 rem or more — onset being quicker, but within hours, the higher the dose — will cause vomiting (and diarrhea), the classic radiation sickness symptom, and the chance of birth defects increases greatly. At around 150 rem, up to 10% of the population will be dead after 30 days, and more after that.

At around 250 rem or more, about a week later people will lose their hair, the other classic radiation sickness symptom. There will be permanent sterility and 10 – 35% of the population will be dead after 30 days, and more after that.

At around 350 rem or more, about a week later people will bleed from their skin, including eyes and mouth. 35 – 50% of the population will be dead after 30 days, and more after that.

At around 500 rem, 50 – 90% of the population will be dead after 30 days, and more after that.

At around 750 rem or more, people's bone marrow and intestines will be destroyed and nearly 100% of the population will be dead after 30 days, and more after that.

At around 1000 rem, 100% of the population will be dead after 30 days.

The preceding assumes no medical treatment, but as was made clear from Coronavirus, for the millions affected there would be no medical treatment.

Also note that fallout that is ingested (e.g. in drinking water) or inhaled is far deadlier than external exposure to it.

From these radiation dosage explanations, you can tell what "medically-advised" meant above in the evacuation radius explanation.

As mentioned in my explanation above about how a nuclear power plant works, being part of the highly radioactive reactor, the cooling system and the control rods must be controlled remotely, via a network. If this network can be hacked into then the control rods can be kept up and the cooling system can be shut down, forcing a meltdown and horribly killing thousands or more.

The Russians have proven they can successfully cyberattack the U.S. and we will do nothing to stop them; see U.S. Surrenders in IT War, Starts Paying Tribute to Russia. And the Russians would love to attack the U.S. in a way that would prove that a catastrophic nuclear power plant meltdown like Chernobyl can't only happen to them.

All hackings (data breaches) are caused by the target's IT incompetence. Period. See Why Stop IT Incompetence? Data Breaches in Principles of IT Incompetence.

So who is responsible for the IT security, i.e. cybersecurity, of nuclear power plants in the U.S.?

Nuclear power plants are owned and operated by companies. The company executives responsible for the cybersecurity of these are variously called Chief Information Officer (CIO), Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), Cybersecurity Executive Vice President, Chief Technology Officer (CTO), etc.; see "musical titles" in Booz Hacks Fed IT, Makes It Incompetent, Insecure, Bankrupt.

Given Americans' rightful uneasiness with nuclear power plants, since the Three Mile Island near-meltdown in Pennsylvania in 1979 and Chernobyl in Russia in 1986, not many new nuclear power plants are being built and most in the U.S. are old, including the IT in them. Southern Nuclear is a company building the first new nuclear reactors in 30 years, adding two to the existing two at its Vogtle nuclear power plant near — as defined above — Augusta GA, as well as Savannah GA, Columbia SC, and Charleston SC.

I learned more about Southern Nuclear when I was writing about the Colonial Pipeline cyberattack in U.S. Surrenders in IT War, Starts Paying Tribute to Russia. Marie Mouchet is (2016 – present) the Colonial Pipeline CIO responsible for allowing that hacking. Mouchet is IT incompetent. An IT education is the most important IT credential and she only has degrees for teaching high school, from Georgia State University, in Atlanta, where Colonial Pipeline is based. Marie Mouchet was added to the Business IT Incompetents Hall Of Shame after the mentioned article.

Even more frightening, Marie Mouchet was Southern Nuclear CIO from 2003 – 2016, which includes the start of construction in 2009 of the mentioned two new nuclear reactors being added to the Vogtle nuclear power plant. I thus wrote more about her in Ransomwared Nuclear Power Plants Upwind of Major U.S. Cities.

Mouchet was replaced as Southern Nuclear CIO in 2016 by Martin Davis , who also has no IT education so is IT incompetent; he only has a bachelor's degree in business administration. Further, from 2003 – 2009 Davis was responsible for "all aspects of [information] technology for Wachovia Corporation worldwide" and in 2007 there was a data breach in which $142 million was stolen from Wachovia bank account holders. Finally, Davis is far more interested in his million dollar real estate business than in protecting you and yours from radiation sickness. Martin Davis was also added to the Business IT Incompetents Hall Of Shame after U.S. Surrenders in IT War, Starts Paying Tribute to Russia and I wrote more about him in Ransomwared Nuclear Power Plants Upwind of Major U.S. Cities.

Other nuclear power plant company cybersecurity executives are almost certainly also IT incompetent and I will be investigating and writing about them in the future.

Nuclear power plant companies are overseen directly by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), an independent agency of the U.S. Government that is already notorious for its incompetence and corruption. The NRC Chief Information Officer (CIO) would naturally be responsible for the cybersecurity oversight. David Nelson is (2016 – present) NRC CIO and also has no IT education so is IT incompetent; he only has a bachelor's degree in business management from the University of Phoenix, which itself is a notorious for-profit college providing fake educations. The NRC may have been hacked while Nelson was CIO in The Doomsday Microsoft Government Email Data Breach, and before that Nelson did cybersecurity for, during which time it was hacked; see Hacked. I wrote about David Nelson in Ransomwared Nuclear Power Plants Upwind of Major U.S. Cities, and then added him to the Government IT Incompetents Hall Of Shame.

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is the U.S. Government agency, nominally overseen by the Department of Homeland Security, responsible for the cybersecurity of infrastructure like power plants, including nuclear power plants. I first wrote about CISA, back when it was the National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD), in Handing Over America's Electrical Grid to the Russians. More recently, CISA may have been hacked in The Doomsday Microsoft Government Email Data Breach and is implicated in the possible hacking of the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election, the security of which CISA was also responsible for.

Jen Easterly is (Jul 2021 – present) the Director of CISA, nominated by President Joe Biden . Easterly is IT incompetent. An IT education is the most important IT credential and Jen Easterly only has a bachelor's degree in a subject she won't reveal — so almost certainly not in IT — and a Master of Arts in "politics, philosophy, and economics" from a foreign university. Before CISA, Easterly was Head of Cybersecurity for investment bank Morgan Stanley from Feb 2017 – Jul 2021, during which time Morgan Stanley had a data breach for which they were fined $60 million.

The buck stops with President Joe Biden for national cybersecurity, but he has already surrendered to Russian President Vladimir Putin ; see U.S. Surrenders in IT War, Starts Paying Tribute to Russia. ("The Buck Stops Here", meaning final responsibility, is from a sign on the Oval Office desk of President Harry Truman, a Democrat like Biden, who dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan during World War II. Using these saved many lives on both sides, but is from which the world learned, including myself at MIT, the horrors of radiation sickness.)

As I explained in Dangerous Fraud Kelly Bissell, IT Incompetent Accenture Head CISO:
One of the basic responsibilities of the federal government in the U.S. Constitution is to provide for the common defense, which obviously means a competent one. It is thus a right and I am considering a lawsuit against the federal government for violating my right to a competent national defense by having IT incompetent national cybersecurity.
More immediately and directly in the fight to protect America, Apscitu, with me, the IT expert, doing the actual technical work, can do thorough on-site multi-week cybersecurity inspections of each nuclear power plant, with regular follow-ups.

Among other ancestors who also fought to protect America, my father, deceased, was a U.S. Air Force officer in time of war: an Atlas ICBM silo officer during the Cuban Missile Crisis of the Cold War and an aircraft officer in Saigon right before the Tet Offensive in the Vietnam War.