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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tsunami Uncovers Nuclear Reactor’s Thirst and Highlights Need for Boat Barriers
Incident Reinforces the Fact that Water Intakes Require Additional Security Measures to Protect them from Small Boat Attack
SUMMIT, N.J. — March 25, 2011 — Establishing, demarcating and physically securing maritime security zones with boat barriers around the cooling water intakes and waste water discharges for America’s 104 nuclear power plants is a necessary nuclear security upgrade, particularly in light of the recent Tsunami induced nuclear disaster in Japan. The Tsunami that struck Japan on March 11, 2011 created a domino effect that resulted in the Fukushima Ai Ichi Nuclear Power Plant’s reactors overheating due to the failure of its water-cooling system. This incident put a global spotlight on a key vulnerability of the world’s nuclear reactors.
In light of the events of 9/11, security officials have been vocal about the need to improve critical infrastructure security. Boat barriers provide a visible physical deterrent for inadvertent recreational boat traffic from entering the security zone. Boat barriers also establish a physical layer of security to deter, deny and delay terrorists utilizing water-borne improvised explosive devices (WBIED) delivered via a small boat.
There have been a number of small boat terrorist attacks against critical infrastructure assets. In October 2002, a 15-foot suicide small boat attacked the M/V Limburg, a French-flagged VLCC supertanker, off the coast of Yemen, disabling it and causing substantial explosion and fire related damage. In October 2001, the Tamil Sea Tigers in Sri Lanka attacked the M/V Silk Pride, an oil tanker, with five small boats, also damaging and disabling this vessel. While refueling in the Port of Yemen in October 2000, the USS Cole was attacked by an explosives laden small boat, which put a gaping hole in the side of the vessel. The small boat threat is real and the need for boat barriers to protect high value and critical infrastructure is clear.
The US Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) strategy for the small boat threat is outlined in “The 2008 Small Vessel Security Strategy.” The document outlines four primary threat types posed by small boats, the WBIED specific threat is outlined below:
“Use of small vessels as Water Borne Improvised Explosive Device – small, explosive-laden vessels used as “boat bombs” against another vessel, maritime critical infrastructure, or key resources”
A WBIED small boat attack resulting in the starvation of a nuclear reactor’s cooling supply is the scenario that is most likely considered, further supporting the logic that nuclear cooling intakes need to be protected by boat barriers.
On April 29, 2003 The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issued a revision to its Design Based Threat (DBT) (which describes the approximate size and attributes of the threats against which licensees must defend their facilities). These included the implementation of security measures to guard against waterborne attacks. Waterborne attacks via small boat or otherwise are clearly on the NRC’s security roadmap. The exact details of the plans are classified, but in light of the nuclear incident in Japan it is prudent for the US Nuclear Industry to “harden” its security infrastructure and implement robust, survivable and industry tested boat barriers, such as the WhisprWave® line of floating security barriers.
For more information, visit http://whisprwave.com or call Jonathan B. Smith at (908) 233-7503.
About Wave Dispersion Technologies, Inc.:
Wave Dispersion Technologies, Inc. is the world’s leading manufacturer and marketer of floating security barriers and floating wave attenuators, with over 50 product installations , on four continents, of its patented WhisprWave® line of innovative maritime solutions for the following markets: government, military, commercial and consumer. The Company has been developing the technology for 15 years and holds eight Domestic and International Patents for design and utility, with another 20 patents pending.
By Scott Higham and Robert O’Harrow Jr.
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, May 24, 2007; A01
Excerpt from the story:
After the Cole bombing, the Navy decided it would deploy hundreds of 82-foot-long, 8-foot-wide, floating rubberized barriers to prevent terrorists from getting close to its ships while in port. The barriers would be held in place by a system of anchors, large foam buoys and chains. A network of underwater sensors would detect potential threats.
NCIS had preferred contractors it wanted to hire for the job, auditors would find, and it did not want to undertake an elaborate and time-consuming open competition for the work.
So NCIS turned to the GSA and a program at the time reserved for small businesses that permitted government agencies to hire companies without seeking traditional bids. The program allowed government officials to buy products and services directly from companies after their prices for labor and overhead had been approved by GSA contracting officials. GSA collects user fees from companies for helping to facilitate those kinds of transactions.
In the boat-barrier case, the GSA, at the request of NCIS, selected Northern NEF of Colorado Springs as the prime contractor for the project, documents show.
Northern was a small technology firm — small enough that did not have to compete under federal rules for government contracts unless they were worth more than $3 million. It had never worked on a boat-barrier project before, but it had worked for the Pentagon on other projects.
Northern was told by NCIS officials to hire P-Con Consulting of Alexandria. The company’s sole employee was Patrick Condon, who already worked as a security consultant to NCIS. Condon received a title for his role in the project: deputy program manager for Navy boat barriers.
“Northern NEF officials said they had been directed by the Navy to procure the barriers through the consulting firm instead of dealing directly with the manufacturer,” auditors wrote in a 2004 report. “We found documentary evidence that showed the consulting firm was the Navy’s ‘recommended’ contractor.”
P-Con, in turn, hired a company in England to manufacture the barriers and one in Northern Virginia to install them.
The former director of government programs for Northern, Dave Nelson, said in a recent interview that he did not know why NCIS selected his company or why his company was directed to hire P-Con.
“Northern played middleman,” Nelson said.
Northern stayed below the $3 million threshold when it sought payments for the work from the GSA, invoices show. Each individual payment was approved by NCIS and the GSA as though they were separate projects, even though the work was being done under one contract.
Federal contracting regulations prohibit splitting up payments to avoid competition limits.
“Almost all of the over $53 million in boat barrier harbor tasks we analyzed were split to avoid the competitive threshold,” GSA auditors wrote in their report.
Between September 2001 and February 2003, at least 30 invoices came in under the $3 million limit. Three examples:
· 55 boat barriers for $2.6 million on Sept. 28, 2001.
· 24 for $1.4 million on Oct. 1.
· 58 for $2.9 million on Oct. 12.
On May 9, 2002, three invoices came in for an identical amount — $2,956,762 each. On Feb. 14, 2003, six invoices came in for $2,678,813 apiece.
GSA officials later told auditors they “believed each order represented a discrete boat-barrier system installed at a discrete harbor, but this was clearly not the case.”
Nelson said Northern officials knew the project was being structured to stay beneath the $3 million cap. But he said company officials believed that it was being done properly by NCIS and GSA in the interests of speed and national security.
“It was pretty obvious what they were doing,” said Nelson, who is now at another company. “We figured somebody who was in authority knew what they were doing. We didn’t go out and try to win this work. It just came our way.”
At each step in the process, Northern and P-Con received a percentage of the proceeds from the project.
For example, the base cost for each boat barrier was supposed to be $45,250. Northern charged a 4.8 percent fee for “acting as GSA’s order administrator,” the auditors said. P-Con charged a 7.5 percent on all expenses as a “Consultant Markup.” The final cost to taxpayers for each boat barrier was $50,978.65, auditors estimated.
Even larger markups took place for the installation of the barriers and the buoys to hold them in place, documents show. The base cost for each buoy was supposed to be $31,000. The company responsible for installing the barriers added a 9.8 percent administrative fee and another unspecified 20 percent fee. Company officials told auditors the fees were the standard industry markup.
Northern charged another 5 percent fee. The final cost to taxpayers for each buoy was $42,825.68, documents show.
“Millions of dollars were wasted by compensating the contractors for doing little more than placing orders with other favored contractors to do the actual work,” the auditors said.