Terrorism, from both domestic and international origins, threatens other mission critical facilities as well, including nuclear power plants and chemical plants.
In the United States, there are approximately 65 commercial nuclear power plants operating 103 reactors in 31 states. Generating about 20 percent of our nation’s electricity, these plants—more than half—are located near major metropolitan areas such as New York City, Philadelphia and Boston. Nuclear power plants have long been considered a high-risk target for attacks of terrorism, as a nuclear meltdown or accident is capable of affecting untold thousands of people in the plant’s immediate vicinity. Since September 11, 2001, the risk is perceived to be even greater. In President Bush’s 2002 State of the Union Address, he admitted that diagrams of U.S. nuclear power plants had been discovered in Al-Qaeda hideouts in Afghanistan. In April 2002, nuclear power plants were labeled as being among the “nation’s highest risk targets” by the White House’s homeland security division. Nuclear facilities generally are protected by fences, intrusion-detection devices and armed security personnel, but little more has been done to equip these sites with additional safety measures.
For chemical plants, heightened security measures since 9/11 have been virtually nonexistent. This is disheartening news given that chemical facilities also are considered to be one of the nation’s most vulnerable terrorist targets. With thousands of industrial facilities scattered throughout the United States, a breach—such as a single compromised chlorine tank—could lead to massive deaths, injuries and hospitalizations. Consider these sobering estimates issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) describing the human risk levels across the nation: the U.S. has 123 facilities that each put at least 1 million people at risk; 700 facilities that each put at least 100,000 people at risk; and 3,000 facilities that each put 10,000 people at risk. In 2002, the Washington Post reported that the Army Surgeon General found that “the threat of attacks against chemical plants [is] second only to the widespread use of biological weapons.”
In light of the situation faced by nuclear power plants and chemical facilities throughout the country, the challenge is to immediately begin heightening both internal and external security protocols at sites around the United States—helping prevent potential terrorists from sabotaging these mission critical environments, which could result in widespread death, injury and panic.
PureTech System’s automated wide-area surveillance solution, PureActiv, arms mission critical environments like these with a powerful ‘command and control’ system for detecting, identifying and tracking security breaches within and among these dangerous, volatile facilities. Integrating satellite imagery of the airport, internal and external cameras, fence detection systems and other security variables, the company’s PureActiv software allows airport security personnel to precisely monitor internal and external locations. Using PureActiv’s interactive interface, operators can select certain control parameters, such as speed, size and shape, and tag specific areas of concern, such as an unauthorized holding tank or an unused security door. If designated parameters are violated, PureActiv helps orchestrate and coordinate appropriate emergency responses; the system alarms and notifies security personnel while continuing to monitor, track and record the person or situation. The system’s cameras and security sensors are completely and accurately monitored by the PureActiv software, thereby reducing the cost and imprecision of a live operator having to monitor hundreds of camera monitors for suspicious activities.